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Specialist Task Force 515:
Specialist Task Force on Design and Development of Teaching Materials for Education on ICT Standardisation

Who we are:

 

Team leader: Nizar Abdelkafi  Fraunhofer Centre for International Management and Knowledge Economy  nizar.abdelkafi@moez.fraunhofer.de 
Team Members: Sergiy Makhotin
Raffaele Bolla
Michelle Wetterwald
Cees J.M. Lanting
Alejandro Rodriguez-Ascaso
Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy
CNIT
ConsultEurope
CSEM
Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)
sergiy.makhotin@moez.fraunhofer.de
raffaele.bolla@unige.it
michelle.wetterwald@gmail.com
cees.lanting@datsaconsulting.com
arascaso@dia.uned.es
 

What we do

 

This action aims to facilitate education on ICT standardisation and to raise the knowledge level of ICT standardisation-related topics among lecturers and students, in particular in engineering, business administration and law. Consequently, the position of ICT standardisation in educational programs, trainings and academic curricula can be significantly improved. The overall goal is to improve the employability of future graduates. From the main objective, four sub-objectives within three research phases (pre-study, tools development and impact generation) can be derived. The three research phases are reflected in the work packages of the action.

Pre-Study:

1)  Identify best practises in standardisation education of ICT, validate current subject areas for education about standardisation, and capture relevant (current and future) topics to evolve existing teaching material to the next level beyond basic knowledge about key concepts in ICT standardisation.

Tools development:

2)  To develop main teaching materials such as an electronic textbook and a set of slides, by taking into account current educational requirements and research topics in ICT standardisation.

3)  To design supplementary materials, such as visual aids, quizzes, practical exercises and case studies that enhance the learning performance and employability of students.

Impact generation:

4)  To test teaching materials in a real context (e.g. guest lectures at universities, workshops with students) and to initiate a widespread dissemination of the developed teaching materials.

All teaching materials resulting from this action will be made available for free upon demand from the ETSI web site.

For more details, see our Terms of Reference

Why we do it

 

Standardisation in ICT is a complex topic that comes along with many benefits and challenges. To achieve the benefits of ICT standardisation, adequate education is needed. The need for standardisation education in ICT has been widely acknowledged among different stakeholder groups such as researchers, policy makers and standards setting organisations. This need becomes even more apparent, when taking into account that ICT has become a subject that is highly pervasive. There is hardly one economic area that is not affected by ICT standardisation efforts. Nevertheless, “learning-by-doing” still appears to be the most frequent approach to ICT standardisation. Despite various attempts to scale up standardisation education in ICT, a sufficient integration into teaching curricula has yet to be achieved.

To advance ICT standardisation, it is necessary to increase its attractiveness level to lecturers and students. Comprehensive and up-to-date teaching materials constitute a major way to convey the value and raise awareness of standardisation. From the perspective of lecturers, effective teaching materials enable the mitigation of barriers and ease the access to standardisation knowledge. They also support non-experts because good teaching materials can provide “soft” entries for lecturers and researchers that are not necessarily standardisation experts, but envisage the integration of an introduction to standardisation topics in their lectures. Furthermore, teaching materials can help foster ICT standardisation as a scientific discipline within business economics, next to traditional topics such as innovation management, finance, marketing, and law.

From the students’ perspective, be they from the academic field or industrial practitioners, attractive and practical teaching materials contain required knowledge about ICT standardisation to acquire a certain level of competencies and to enable them to see additional opportunities for their careers. ICT standardisation is not the mere development of technical documents and compliance with certain requirements. Therefore, an education program on ICT standardisation may benefit from the intersection with other disciplines and knowledge areas. The work in standardisation committees requires a broad set of skills. For example, besides the technical knowledge, standardisation experts are required to exhibit good negotiation skills in order to protect the interests of their companies in standardisation committees. ICT standardisation experts should also get the required knowledge, such as the ability to understand implications of standards’ essential patents. In addition, the application of ICT standards can be challenging: complex ICT products and systems may contain hundreds of interoperability standards. ICT standardisation education can provide students with the knowledge on how to manage this complexity and how to successfully navigate the “standards thicket”.

To provide high value for teachers and students, materials for standardisation education should be tailored to the requirements and challenges of the ICT sector (e.g. network effects, high switching costs and lock-in, system effects, high pace of product and service development, fierce competition, market fragmentation, service orientation, and interoperability and compatibility requirements). Currently, there are no educational materials such as textbooks with corresponding slides that cover ICT standardisation for academic and higher professional education. There is no widely accepted canonical body of knowledge as a foundation of education about standardisation in ICT as an academic discipline. Nevertheless, some elements for the development of such materials have been provided within the scope of previous actions targeted at promoting and integrating standardisation education in academic curricula. In addition, the rich body of standardisation research delivers theoretical insights and practical examples that can be adapted to serve educational purposes. Furthermore, ETSI possesses diverse training materials though specific to ETSI. All existing educational material will be thoroughly reviewed and serve as a basis for the next evolutionary step towards didactically professional teaching modules providing modern, up-to-date material that will be easy to access and be understandable by students and non-experts in general.

This action tackles the design and development of teaching materials for education on ICT standardisation. Education is an important instrument to raise awareness and support for standardisation. As a European Standardisation Organisation, ETSI is empowered and entrusted with linking standardisation practice, research and education. This action has been developed taking the Rolling Plan for ICT Standardisation (2015) into consideration. Standards developing organisations should play a major role in developing and promoting standardisation education in ICT. The successful integration of ICT standardisation into existing curricula depends on the interplay of academia, industry, standards setting organisations, other educational institutions and government. Due to its central role in the ICT standardisation system, ETSI can provide knowledge for these stakeholders. ETSI fosters standardisation research in ICT and maintains a wide network of academic institutions and companies.

How we do it

 

Organisation

The execution of the work is carried out by an ETSI Specialist Task Force (STF) and a selected subcontractor. ETSI supports and monitors the work of the STF and the selected subcontractor.

ETSI monitors the progress of the action, provides coordination support and participates in the STF meetings. By using diverse channels such as mailing lists, web page, and press releases, ETSI supports external communication. ETSI makes suggestions for the selection of interviewees and support the events that are organised in the course of the action. ETSI actively engages in the development of the teaching materials and their embedding in the ETSI web site.

The STF conducts all content-related tasks of this action. The STF reviews subject areas, select and prepare research topics together with ETSI that will be presented in the teaching materials. The STF provides input for the work of the subcontractor, coordinates and supports the design and application of the teaching materials. The development of teaching materials for education on ICT standardisation is a challenging and complex task. It will be supported by the combination of several methods and tools, such as interviews, workshops, conferences, visualisation and testing. To assess the needs for education on ICT standardisation and to identify “hot” ICT-standardisation-related topics, STF conducts an interview-based exploratory research to generate new insights that go beyond what can be derived from the literature. Together with ETSI, the STF selects knowledgeable experts for participation in the interview-based research.

The selected subcontractor will be responsible for the design and production of the teaching materials. The subcontractor will be selected via an open call and following the terms of the FPA.

Initiatives for stakeholders consultation

Stakeholder engagement is essential to the design, development, testing, and use of teaching materials. The stakeholders who will be involved in this process include:

·      Organisations: universities, other educational institutions, ETSI and other SSOs, industrial companies, research and regulatory institutions.

·      Individuals: teachers (professors, lecturers), students, standardisation experts, practitioners, researchers and regulators.

During the phases of design and development, the educational needs and current research topics in ICT should be taken into consideration. To assess educational needs, experienced lecturers, standardisation experts, researchers and practitioners with a background in ICT will be invited to interviews in order to identify their own experiences with standardisation education. These stakeholders will also be involved in the evaluation of the preliminary results, e.g. within the scope of an evaluation workshop.

To test the quality of teaching materials, two main target groups are involved: university students and professionals who pursue vocational training. During the test phase, the teaching materials will be used within a real context. Students’ feedback, for instance, will be used to further improve the developed teaching materials.

The use phase relies on the engagement of different stakeholders. A conference related to the topic will be organised. The output of the action will also include recommendations for standards developing organisations as to how to support and diffuse standardisation education. Executive summaries and guidelines will be created for this regard.

Dissemination of results

To ensure a long-lasting impact of the action various dissemination activities will be launched. During the action, many experts will be involved by participation in interviews or by commenting on the developed teaching materials. The experts from academia will be asked if they are interested in the application of the new teaching materials during lectures. In case of interest, they will be encouraged to submit a letter of intent.

The STF will contact membership-based organisations that might be interested in obtaining new teaching materials on ICT standardisation (e.g. national and international chambers of commerce, standardisation consortia). Several national and international chambers of commerce already provide information, workshops and trainings on standardisation to their members on a regular basis. The STF will consult these organisations on how to develop and provide additional education services, e.g. creating new booklets on ICT standardisation or organising an ICT standardisation workshop. Members of standardisation consortia are, among others, companies that offer apprenticeship or trainee programmes. Adding ICT standardisation to the topics of their apprenticeship or trainee programmes might help preparing nascent professionals for the participation in standardisation work. The interested companies will be consulted on how to create a teaching module and how to adapt the teaching materials to meet the needs of apprentices and trainees.

Students constitute an important stakeholder group. To raise their awareness of ICT standardisation, the STF will announce a student research contest. Students will receive several challenging but exciting tasks that reflect current problems in ICT standardisation. They will be required to submit an outline, which describes a solution to one of the tasks. Most creative and compelling ideas will be awarded with a small prize and an opportunity to pitch the idea at the conference.

To further raise awareness among academics, the printed textbooks will be sent out to selected university libraries across Europe. It will improve the accessibility of the teaching materials and draw further attention to the online documents.

Toward the end of the action, a two-day conference will be organised at the premises of ETSI. Representatives from relevant stakeholder groups will be invited as well as guest speakers from academia and industry. Conference proceedings with the presentations and supplementary remarks will be delivered.

 

Deliverables

 

The STF and the subcontractor will produce the main (textbook) and supplementary teaching materials (slides, case studies etc.). The deliverables to the EC/EFTA will be included into the interim report and the final report. The interim report, delivered 14 months after the kick-off meeting, describes the activities and results achieved in the first period of the proposed action. In also gives an overview of the events organised in this time period, an evaluation of the work progress by identifying eventual deviations from the original work plan, and a financial report as well as a summary of the activities to be carried out in the next period.

The subcontractor and the STF will provide full reporting in compliance with the DG Enterprise Cost Control Strategy. The Final Report will be submitted 30 months after the signature of the action grant with the final results, details of the achievements from the evaluation workshop and conference, a full financial report and report on the performance indicators. An external audit certificate will also be provided.

Time plan

 

The action ist structured in five work packages (WP). WP0 deals with project management, which consists of activities related to project organisation, coordination and reporting. In WP1, an exploratory study is conducted to identify the educational requirements in ICT standardisation. The results of this study are used for the tools development in WP2, WP3 and WP4. In WP2 the main teaching materials are developed. The main teaching materials consist of a large set of slides that explain in a pedagogical way the essence of ICT standardisation and an easy-to-read textbook. The final formatting of the main teaching materials will be carried out by the subcontractor (WP4). WP3 encompasses the development of supplementary teaching materials (quizzes and case studies), which are to be integrated in the set of slides and in the textbook. Modern methods such as visualisation techniques will be applied to make the teaching materials more appealing and easier to digest. For example, hand-made visualisations (e.g. comics) will be produced and included into the teaching materials. The selection of the subcontractor and the publishing process of the textbook and slides take place in WP4. WP5 constitutes the impact generation phase of the action. WP5 is the final work package, in which the developed teaching materials are tested in a real class context and dissemination activities are carried out. For example, ETSI will host the conference in cooperation with the STF. The conference is an instrument to diffuse the results, to increase the awareness level of the topic and to collect valuable feedback.

Table 1: Work packages and underlying tasks

WP No.

WP Title

WP0

Project management

WP0.T1

Selection and recruitment of the STF

WP0.T2

Project organisation and coordination of STF meetings

WP0.T3

Reporting to the EC

WP1

Exploratory study of educational requirements in ICT

WP1.T1

Development of a guide for semi-structured interviews and pre-test

WP1.T2

Identification and acquisition of participants

WP1.T3

Data collection (interviews)

WP1.T4

Data analysis

WP2

Development of main teaching materials

WP2.T1

Development of slides

WP2.T2

Development of the textbook

WP3

Development of supplementary materials

WP3.T1

Designing visualisations

WP3.T2

Development of quizzes

WP3.T3

Development of practical examples based on case studies

WP4

Design and publishing of the textbook and slides

WP4.T1

Selection and recruitment of a suitable subcontractor

WP4.T2

Design and publishing of the textbook and slides

WP5

Validation and impact generation

WP5.T1

Development of a concept for a teaching module

WP5.T2

Integration and test of the teaching module within existing curricula

WP5.T3

Dissemination of teaching materials

WP5.T4

Planning, organisation and execution of the conference

 

The overall duration of the action is 30 months.

 

Project Management

Pre-Study

Teaching Materials Development

Impact Generation

 

Figure 1: Work plan

Caption

STF/ETSI work package

Subcontractor work package

STF meetings 1-5

Evaluation Workshop

Intermediate Report

First version of the textbook & slides

Second version of the textbook & slides

Final version of the textbook & slides

Dissemination Conference

Final Report

 

Milestones 1-5 represent the STF meetings. Milestone 1 marks the kick-off meeting. Two reports will be delivered during the action (interim and final report) as deliverables to the EC/EFTA.

How to contact us

For further details, or if you wish to be involved in the work of the STF, please contact the STF Leader: Nizar Abdelkafi at nizar.abdelkafi@moez.fraunhofer.de

This information is based upon STF working assumptions.

The views expressed do not necessarily represent the position of ETSI in this context.