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Paper w78_2007_47:
Learning about IT and learning using IT - a review of current practice on higher education AEC programmes in Ireland

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Ken Thomas, Brian Graham, John Wall

Learning about IT and learning using IT - a review of current practice on higher education AEC programmes in Ireland

Abstract: There is a debate concerning the appropriate extent, content and delivery of IT education for AEC pro-grammes. The aim of the research work described in this paper was to generate information to assist the debate, spe-cifically in Ireland, but the results and conclusions may also be of relevance to other countries. A survey of the relevant Heads of Academic Departments in the Universities and Institutes of Technology was carried out in June 2006 with a response rate of 89%. The context to this survey has been the relatively unique development of Ireland over the past ten years (population, economy, IT, construction industry, and higher education) in comparison to other European coun-tries. The recent implementation of the Irish National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) and its relationship with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) for lifelong learning is also an important contextual issue for this research. The survey results include the range of specific software training on the AEC programmes, as well as the extent of in-clusion of basic IT training, understanding how computers work, understanding and writing computer programmes, consideration of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and the use of Learning Management Systems (LMS). A further interesting feature of the survey has been the identification of the record number of students on higher education AEC programmes in Ireland.

Keywords: IT, AEC, higher education, qualifications framework, Ireland, survey

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