Why credit is not due

May 23, 1997

AM I alone in having reservations about the ever increasing movement towards a credit-based modular system of higher education?

My problems, from the point of view of a technological subject, are twofold. First, subjects such as engineering are cumulative and interlocking, requiring a build up of prerequisite studies plus co-requisites in parallel with a particular unit. Second, and maybe more crucially, technology is extremely dynamic. If students are allowed too long to build up the credits then there will be no relation between the content of introductory-level units and the final modules studied some years later.

In my undergraduate course (1982-86) computer packages were esoteric mainframe entities. They are now common desktop tools transforming the kinds of problems which may be tackled by undergraduates. How can a unified framework possibly hope to deal with the vast range of learning styles and subjects on offer?

Mark Leeson

Department of electrical and electronic engineering, Manchester Metropolitan University

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