F10-C2-1 - Unpacking Dispositions as a Critical Component of Competency

1. Innovative Practice Full Paper
Stephen Frezza1 , Alison Clear2, Tony Clear3
1 Gannon University
3 Auckland University of Technology

Dispositions can be defined as patterns of behaviours that are exhibited intentionally in the absence of coercion, representing a habit of mind. However, identifying desirable dispositions in computing education, or more particularly developing curricula with a goal to develop, reinforce or assess such dispositions is not common in engineering and computing education with a goal to develop, reinforce or assess such dispositions as useful, appropriate ways of expressing competency goals for graduates.

Curriculum models have been historically framed from a cognitive perspective.  Typically the focus has been on bodies of knowledge and increasingly the notion of supporting skills and abilities.  More recent curriculum documents such as the IT2017 curriculum have moved towards a professional competency approach and have included the notion of dispositions. 

While these dispositions are seen as complementing and supporting the traditional elements of knowledge and skills, exactly how they are conceptualised and operationalised is still uncommon. The ACM/IEEE-CS Computing Curriculum 2020 Overview Project (CC2020) has been working towards this goal, in part driven by the very practical purpose of enabling visualisation of the multiple components of the existing and differing curriculum reports, incorporating the notion of dispositions and enabling them to be mapped to clusters of knowledge and skills embodied in selected curriculum statements.

This paper reports on progress to date towards conceptualising and operationalising the notion of dispositions to support the identification and modelling of well-structured and assessable competency statements. This paper reviews the research challenges faced, the models adopted and the findings.