F10-C2-3 - From Knowledge-based to Competency-based Computing Education: Future Directions

1. Innovative Practice Full Paper
Alison Clear1 , Tony Clear2, John Impagliazzo3, Pearl Wang4
1 Eastern Institute of Technology
2 Auckland University of Technology
3 Hofstra University
4 George Mason University

Abstract—Competency is often associated with proficiency, expertise, capability and performance. Professional schools such as those in dentistry and medicine generally require practice of skills and knowledge within human environments for someone to become a competent professional in their respective fields. In computing, competency is a relatively new concept. For decades, computing curricula focused on knowledge. However, competency is much more than knowledge. The ACM/IEEE Computing Curricula 2020 (CC2020) project identifies competency as a combination of knowledge, skills, and human dispositions, in context or task. That is, knowledge alone is not enough to produce a competent graduate from a computing program. Industry expects graduates to perform competently from the first day of employment. While computing educators have been sharing computing knowledge for decades, can they do it better under the rubric of competency? The authors leverage on the current activities of the CC2020 project, their personal experiences, and outcomes from current research on computing competency and related topics. Future directions and strategies for transforming the current paradigm of knowledge-based learning toward a broad acceptance of competency-based learning are an important part of this work. The authors recommend several steps needed to achieve such transformation over time. While universities are not training grounds for industry needs, it would be a mistake to ignore such influence within the rubric of competency-based learning. This work will be of interest to all computing and engineering educators.