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Computer Science outside of school? (Leaving Cert)

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,557 ✭✭✭tscul32


    One of the other mams found the course and did all the communication so I'll check it out with her, thanks for the tip. I know the dept clamped down last year but this place were adamant that it's all above board and appoved as long as the lads attend all the revision courses.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,397 ✭✭✭am_zarathustra


    Maybe they are but the word we have from in-service is that it all needs to be signed off as work done in front of the teacher, to even be wary about letting them work on it for homework and certainly not large chunks, like ok to edit a section but should be appearing with large tracks of code without us seeing the progress. I knew of a a couple of situations last year where the dept refused to allow the signoff, the school still facilitated the rest but just best to be sure given it's worth 30%



  • Registered Users Posts: 496 ✭✭derb12


    I have to agree this sounds extremely dodgy. The “only H1s” comment is ridiculous frankly and would make me very suspicious of this guy. I’m teaching the subject in school and agree fully with the previous poster. You are investing a huge effort here and the upset it would cause if it doesn’t work out would not be worth the risk. Your school might think they can facilitate the exam and sign off on projects, but if they haven’t been involved with the subject trainings (there was even a special in-service for principals of schools offering computer science) - they won’t know. They might not realise that they are misleading you. My school has accommodated students taking lots of other subjects outside the curriculum but comp sci is different.

    I hope it works out for your son but as the previous poster said, confirm everything in writing.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,397 ✭✭✭am_zarathustra


    I had a scan at the website, it wouldn't fill me with confidence....the bit about the complicated way it's uploaded sounds like nonsense, it's a portal only registered teacher have access to run by the SEC. Worth having a look at the academy of code site too, they pulled out of offering after this year and have a fairly adament warning to check the principal will sign off on the project......and in that position, given I have no guarantee it's the students work, I wouldn't.


    If I were you I'd go looking for guarantees, in writing, from kilmartin, the principal, and the SEC. Like if a student rocked up with a bunch of beautiful oil paintings and a project to sit the art history exam I wouldn't sign off on it if I've never seen the kid paint. I'd really struggle to see that the spirit of the course could be taught this way either, it's very interactive and being able to code is one component but one of many



  • Registered Users Posts: 15,382 ✭✭✭✭rainbowtrout


    I don't doubt that's what they told you but it's in their financial interests to have students attend revision courses on a 'compulsory' basis. Unless they are doing the project on those days, then the project has been unsupervised.


    I'm aware of another subject with a coursework component where a grinds school is offering online classes (similar set up to this I would imagine) and I can't honestly see how the teacher could sign off on the coursework component when they've never met the students in person, let alone not oversee the project work.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,397 ✭✭✭am_zarathustra


    If the work is coming from outside I think it's the principal who has to sign off, how on earth could they? I. Some schools they'd have never spoken to the child, nevermind knowing what their level of ability is in a subject they are more than likely not familiar with.


    Personally I'd be very against this. It would open a door to paying a programmer to do it or a college students ect. There would be no way to ensure its a level playing field and would undermine work being done very honestly in schools.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,557 ✭✭✭tscul32


    Not sure I'd fully agree with you. I'd imagine there is more risk but surely you could check if a student knows what each line of code does. Pick out some random bits and if they've no clue what they do then it's clearly not their work.

    In college we did all our programming project work on our own and were quizzed on it every now and then and had to know and understand it all when presenting it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 15,382 ✭✭✭✭rainbowtrout


    To put it bluntly, there are also teachers out there who will not check if it is the students work and do not care. So if it is not checked then it creates an advantage to the students who had help v. the students (and teachers) who did everything by the book.



  • Registered Users Posts: 496 ✭✭derb12


    The problem is that if the school doesn’t have anyone to teach the subject in the first place, they won’t have anyone to go through the coursework project and confirm that it is the student’s work.



  • Registered Users Posts: 15,382 ✭✭✭✭rainbowtrout


    It won't be accepted by the SEC if there is no teacher to sign off on it.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 496 ✭✭derb12




  • Registered Users Posts: 4,601 ✭✭✭Treppen




  • Registered Users Posts: 2,557 ✭✭✭tscul32


    I believe it needs both qualified comp sci teacher and principal. If the principal knows nothing about comp sci they wouldn't be able to tell if a student knew what they were talking about.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,601 ✭✭✭Treppen


    I'm not so sure, there are plenty of unqualified teachers in other subjects signing off on projects.

    My point being, it may say that the project must be signed off by a 'qualified teacher'.... But then again, needs of the school, extenuating circumstances might override this.

    Going by the example above anyway, there is a principal signing off!



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,557 ✭✭✭tscul32


    Our VP checked with the SEC and this is what they came back with.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,601 ✭✭✭Treppen


    Of course they'd say that.

    Just like our minister says that all teachers teaching maths should be qualified. Or every child has access to an SNA.


    But of course if your VP is going to tow the line then that's that I suppose.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,397 ✭✭✭am_zarathustra


    In fairness, I haven't seen this in any school I've been in. Subject teacher and principal is the absolute norm for any project work. All those crazy contact paper fax type paper things knocking around in filing cabinets.

    I don't know of any school principal that has signed off on a comsci project not done through the school but I know of students who were refused sign-off, in most cases very late in the game. On that alone I'd be urging caution.



  • Registered Users Posts: 15,382 ✭✭✭✭rainbowtrout


    If there isn't a teacher supervising the project (qualified or not), then it's open season for any student to rock up to school with any project and ask the principal to sign off on it. Students are supposed to be doing this project under teacher supervision. It would be unfair on the students who are sitting in classes under the supervision of a teacher if another student can just circumvent that rule and get a sign off without any supervision.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,939 ✭✭✭wingnut


    There are 34 qualified teachers of computer science and 114 schools offering so as treppen states clearly the teacher does not have to be teaching council qualified. They may require the teacher to be teaching the subject or have some demonstrable expertise.

    This issue won't be resolved any time soon as teachers teaching this may have done an undergraduate in a teachable subject, gone on to do a computer science related dip or masters. The way the teaching council registration works unless you have done an undergrad in the subject it is next to impossible to build enough credits to add it regardless of having a masters/phd or industry experience.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,397 ✭✭✭am_zarathustra


    Unqualified and unregistered are two different things. There is no recourse if an unregistered teacher is not following the guidelines or has lied ....there is for a registered teacher. The guidelines are a registered teacher not a qualified one strictly, essentially their teacher signs the P2 form.

    The outside groups are also working for profit making it all the more appealing to sign off on anything. The main issue with signing off on the comsci is the coursework brief and instructions are very clear......it must be done in school in front of the teacher, the structure of the projects make this very sensible. I could knock one out for someone in a few hours and get full marks, but so could anyone with a decent working knowledge.

    But yeah, we have more unqualified maths teachers than qualified in the country, mostly teaching JC and the majority will be science/business teachers with maths in their degree. Most of the people doing the Com Sci professional development had been teaching coding in the school anyway, either JC or TY, and would have had some exposure in college. I don't know any schools offering it where the teachers are not engaged with the PDST and aren't attending several traing days a term. It'll be hard to ever get enough comsci teachers any other way unfortunately.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,939 ✭✭✭wingnut


    UL will be starting to graduate their Maths and Comp Sci Education students next year so at least a few will be coming there.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,397 ✭✭✭am_zarathustra


    It's so hard to get those teacher to Leinster where you have the real shortages. I'll be interested to see if it'll go the way of the Home Ec course in Angelas, with a significant proportion going to private industry. Maths and programming are very in demand skillsets, a smart IT heavy company might come poaching.

    Hopefully not though. It's a brilliant course, a dream to teach and very well thought out and resourced. Students really enjoy it too, even the ones who won't use it later get their teeth into parts of the course. Great example of scrapping the old plan and introducing a well thought out course with projectwork, group work and practical exams along with a written one.......and then delivering excellent cpd



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,557 ✭✭✭tscul32


    I'm applying for the PME later this year to do comp sci and maths as a second subject. Currently doing a higher diploma in Science of Computing for Educators with the ATU to solve my 'no record of modules completed' issues. I already have 70 credits in Comp Sci and Software Engineering and by the end of the year will have another 60. I'm the only non teacher, plenty of teachers on the course doing it to qualify as comp sci teachers. So I'd expect a steady rise in numbers over the next few years. Most are STEM teachers and many already teaching JC short courses, LCA, TY in IT in their schools. For maths I'll be 10 credits short but more than likely have the same issue as with Comp Sci as in I have no record of my modules (). And while I'm enjoying the Computing course, I'm not doing the maths again😵‍💫. So I won't be a 'qualified' maths teacher, but hopefully that won't hold me back too much.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,397 ✭✭✭am_zarathustra


    They'll have you straight in a maths class, I wouldn't worry about that!

    The teaching council are a distaster, lots of people with a substantial amount of maths or computer science like engineers would be more than capable of teaching the com sci course, and be great teachers but the hoops and time make it difficult. Fair play for sticking with it!



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,557 ✭✭✭tscul32


    Just an update on my lad's computer science. So far he has had a 1.5hr online class weekly in 5th year. He also went on site for a full day class at Halloween, Christmas, and Feb mid term. He is currently doing a 10 week, 2hr weekly online class over the summer and will resume the weekly grind and full day holiday sessions for 6th year. When the project is released he will need to attend in person in Limerick for a few hours, one day a week (sat or sun) for the duration of the project, 8 weeks or so. He will only work on the project in those classes with the teacher present. He will have a login to his account as will the SEC and his own school.

    So it's all looking positive.



  • Registered Users Posts: 15,382 ✭✭✭✭rainbowtrout



    Glad its working out for you, but why would the SEC have access to the account? That is absolute nonsense. That grinds school are going to tell you whatever you want to hear so you won't question anything. The SEC have nothing to do with student accounts. When the project is finished the class teacher uploads them to an SEC portal for when they are going to be marked. The teacher signs off to say they have supervised the work.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,557 ✭✭✭tscul32


    Well I may have misunderstood but I thought that's what the teacher told me. Perhaps they want to check on it to see there are no logins outside of the classes, maybe that was the only way they'd accept the subject. Can't see any reason the teacher would lie about that, it was all volunteered info, I hadn't asked anything about the account. Not really the point of the update either way.



  • Registered Users Posts: 15,382 ✭✭✭✭rainbowtrout


    I'm not trying to pick a row with you, it's just not how the SEC operate. There would be questions to answer if someone in the SEC had access to your child's account. What account, something like office 365? What if they went in to have a nose, and deleted work by accident. Do remember, grind schools are a business, their aim is to get bums on seats and charge you for the service. No more than the 'I only get H1s comment', they will tell you whatever you need to hear to get you in the door.

    There is prep work to be done before the exam, setting up files on USB keys etc for the students. Correct software installed on computers, computer science teacher on hand if a computer crashes etc. There is paperwork to be signed off. Will the teacher travel to Dublin to sign that off for your child. There are solid reasons for having the teacher in the school.



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