News in Brief

June 12, 2008

Computing undergraduates

Fall in numbers threatens UK

The decline in the number of undergraduates studying computing is threatening the UK's position in the world economy, according to a report from the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing. Applications to computing courses have dropped by 50 per cent at a time when the IT job market is predicted to grow by 15 per cent over eight years. "The situation in the UK with respect to the number of students taking degree qualifications in computing is now dire," the CPHC said. "In terms of the needs of the British knowledge economy and the global competitiveness of the UK IT industry this represents a potentially disastrous situation."

Scrutiny of appointments

MPs to screen candidates

Appointments of the chairs of the research councils, the chair of the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the director of the Office for Fair Access will be subject to more scrutiny by Parliament. The posts are among 60 that the Government has said will be subject to "pre-appointment hearings" by select committees. The Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Select Committee will now take evidence in public from the Government's candidates for the key positions before they are appointed, with the reports fully published.

Student networking

Online knowledge sharing grows

Students are starting to mix online social networking with their academic studies, according to new research. Seventy-three per cent of students are using social networking sites to discuss coursework with others, with per cent on at least a weekly basis, says the study for the Joint Information Systems Committee by Ipsos Mori. Attitudes towards whether tutors should use the sites for teaching were mixed.

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