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February 2007 Current Situation of the Information Curriculum Model

At the Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics, students who are scheduled to complete their courses in March are now doing their best to complete the final project.The outcomes of these projects reflect the effectiveness of the educational efforts of our school over the three years since our inception, which is bolstered by our curriculum.The development of the learning curriculum is the foundation of the educational effort in any field. And in this column I will like to introduce the concept of the model curriculum.

IT curriculum is difficult to develop for two reasons.First, the speed of technological innovation in this field is so fast that we need to check its contents fairly frequently and revise it frequently if necessary.Secondly, the field of information science is harder to define than other traditional fields of study.Therefore, many related academic societies are making great efforts to develop and popularize various model curriculums in this field.The model Curriculum clarifies the state of development in the field of study and provides a detailed model of how to develop young experts, taking into account the needs of society.

The American academic societies ACM (Computer Society of Japan), IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), and AIS (Information Systems Society) have jointly developed a model curriculum that is well known in information systems community.The ACM published the famous "Curriculum 68" in 1968, which was the first model curriculum in the computer science field to be published in the world.The curriculum has been revised every 10 years, but recently this movement has been changed significantly.

First, the initial 10 year revision cycle is no longer sufficient to keep up with the rapid progress of academics and technology in this field, so efforts have been made to shorten the cycle time. Second, the development of new fields within the field of information has been remarkable, and the content of information has become so diverse that it has become impossible to cover it in a single curriculum.Therefore, we have come to view information science and technology as a comprehensive field consisting of multiple subcategories, Curriculums have also been created separately for each subcategory.The title of the report on the curriculum is now called "Computing Curricula" (Curricula is a plural form of Curriculum).I think the word “Computing” corresponds to “Informatics” in Japanese.

In the ACM model, the Computing category has five subcategories.In 2001, there were 4 areas. It is uncertain and open-ended how these areas will develop in the future.These five areas are as follows: (1) Computer Science, (2) Computer Engineering, (3) Information Systems, (4) Information Technology, IT , (5) Software Engineering.For undergraduate education, each of these five disciplines can be thought of as an individual department.In the US, it seems that the university curriculum has been in the process of reorganization, based on these disciplines.

The "Computing Curricula" mentioned above is aimed mainly at undergraduate education, with the exception of "Information System" in which a model curriculum is designed at the master's level of graduate school.This is because the content of education in this field is considered suitable for graduate level education at Professional Schools.Actually, the educational content of “Web Business Technology Major” at the Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics is closely related to this field of “Information System”.Just recently, the latest version of the "Master of Science in Information Systems 2006 (MSIS 2006)" has been announced.

This model curriculum suggests the need for several important changes in the curriculum of the "information system" education in master's courses to address the advances in information and communications technology and the emergence of the latest business methods in recent years.Since the first edition of the curriculum at the Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics was formulated three years ago, the details have been fine-tuned as needed, but the general direction is almost the same as the contents of MSIS 2006. We can confirm that our educational efforts are in line with world standards.

Yoichi Terashita