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A Computing Perspective on the Bologna Process

Ursula Fuller, Arnold Pears, June Amillo, Chris Avram, Linda Mannila, A Computing Perspective on the Bologna Process. ACM Inroads 38(4), 115–131, 2006.


The Bologna process is intended to culminate in the formation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) by 2010. Its aim is to facilitate the mobility of people, the transparency and recognition of qualifications, quality and development of a European dimension to higher education, and the attractiveness of European institutions for third country students.This paper provides an overview of progress towards implementation in EHEA member states using official documents and interview data from faculty teaching computing in countries represented at the ITiCSE 2006 meeting. The key areas where the structures established by the Bologna process are problematic for computing education arise from the rapidly changing nature of the curriculum. It seems that the maturity and capability criteria, as well as the manner in which learning outcomes are specified, being developed within the Bologna process are too general. This endangers the properties of transparency and mobility that the process intends to promote.Progression and prerequisite knowledge in computing degrees can be very specific. For instance, generic learning outcomes for an introductory programming course quite rightly will not specify the programming language, or languages, used to implement algorithms. However, suppose a student intends to study an advanced algorithms and data structures course in which Java is the language of implementation which has an introductory course in programming as a prerequisite. If the introductory course language was Standard ML it is not clear that the prerequisite course actually provides the student with a suitable background. These types of complexities are typical of computing, where early subject curricula are not standardised nationally or internationally, and create significant hurdles for realising the Bologna objectives.

BibTeX entry:

  title = {A Computing Perspective on the Bologna Process},
  author = {Fuller, Ursula and Pears, Arnold and Amillo, June and Avram, Chris and Mannila, Linda},
  journal = {ACM Inroads},
  volume = {38},
  number = {4},
  pages = {115–131},
  year = {2006},
  ISSN = {2153-2192},

Belongs to TUCS Research Unit(s): Learning and Reasoning Lab

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