This glossary is informed by the official documents of the Bologna Process listed below. The concept definitions show meanings relevant to the context of informatics higher education and the purpose of the Euro-Inf Project. Terms that are normally used in more generic contexts (e.g. the EHEA Framework for Qualifications) have been – where applicable – made more specific to this context.
European Higher Education Area
First and Second Cycle Degree
Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area
Programme (or: degree programme)
(Programme) Educational Objectives
Programme (Learning) Outcomes
Qualifications (higher education)
Specific Learning Outcomes
Quality Assurance System
Accreditation of an informatics degree programme is the primary result of a process used to ensure the suitability of that programme as the entry route to the informatics profession. Accreditation involves a periodic assessment against accepted standards of informatics education. It is essentially based on a peer review process, undertaken by appropriately trained and independent teams comprising peers from both academia and informatics practice. The process normally involves both scrutiny of data and a structured visit to the Higher Education Institution (HEI) running the programme. The Euro-Inf accreditation label is intended to assist decisions if a programme, accredited or not, is of sufficient quality and relevance as the education base for registration or qualification for professional practice in that country, or if further education, training or industrial experience are necessary, and particularly those that involve trans-national recognition.
An accreditation agency in the context of Euro-Inf is an independent, national and legally recognized body that develops educational standards, criteria and procedures and conducts expert visits and peer reviews to assess whether or not those criteria are met. It is selfevaluated and externally reviewed according to the European Standards and Guidelines.
Accreditation criteria in the context of the Euro-Inf Framework Standards denote the criteria for assessment and accreditation of informatics study programmes.
An auditing visit is understood as an on-site visit within the scope of an accreditation or assessment process to verify the content of a submitted self-assessment report.
Assessment is the process of systematic gathering, quantifying and using information to judge the effectiveness and adequacy of something against as published standard. It implies evaluation of core activities. It is a necessary basis for a formal accreditation decision.
Competence is the proven ability to use knowledge, skills and personal, social and / or methodological abilities, in work or study situations and in professional and / or personal development.
Synonym for Informatics
Synonym for Programme (or: degree programme)
A quantified means of expressing the volume of learning based on the achievement of learning outcomes and their associated workload.
A curriculum is a programme of courses to be taken in pursuit of a degree. It provides information on educational processes of a study programme. It spells out which goals and objectives should be achieved, which topics should be covered and which methods are to be used for learning, teaching and evaluation.
Cycles are the three sequential levels identified by the Bologna Process (first cycle, second cycle and third cycle) within which all European higher education qualifications are located.
Educational objectives that are defined by the HEI in terms of Learning outcomes (knowledge, skills, and competences) to be achieved by the students in the course of a study programme. The particular modules of the study programme are conceived that way that they enable students to achieve the overarching programme educational objectives. The focus of assessment of the study programme lies on
- whether the study programme enables the achievement of the programme educational objectives, respectively, if the educational objectives correspond to the Programme (Learning) Outcomes
- whether the modules enable the achievement of their Specific Learning Outcomes
A discipline is a field of study or knowledge, such as physics, geology, biology and – in the context of this document – Informatics.
Europe/European refers to those countries that are signatories to the Bologna Process, whilst ‘national’ is used to describe the contexts within each of those countries or education systems.
The construction by 2010 of a European Higher Education Area (EHEA) where students and staff may move freely and have their qualifications recognised is goal of the Bologna Process. The Bergen Communiqué states that the EHEA is structured around three cycles, where each level has the function of preparing the student for the labour market, for further competence building and for active citizenship. The overarching framework for qualifications, the agreed set of European standards and guidelines for quality assurance and the recognition of degrees and periods of study are also key characteristics of the structure of the EHEA. Furthermore, the social dimension of the Bologna Process is a constituent part of the EHEA.
In accordance with the EHEA framework, the accreditation process will distinguish between programmes of the First and Second Study Cycles, defined in accord with the “Dublin Qualification Descriptors“, developed by the Joint Quality Initiative and the Report “A Framework for Qualification of the European Higher Education Area”, both documents endorsed by the Bergen Ministerial meeting of May 2005. The terms “First Cycle Degree” and “Second Cycle Degree” (and their acronyms FCD and SCD), are used to avoid any possible misinterpretation associated with the use of specific terms such as Bachelor, Master, etc., that are used with different meanings in different countries of the EHEA. In this context, the term “Cycle” is used to describe a study programme leading to an academic degree while the term “Degree” describes a qualification awarded to an individual by a recognised HEI after successful completion of a study programme. In a credit accumulation system the programme is completed through the accumulation of a specified number of credits awarded for the achievement of a specific set of Learning outcomes.
An overarching framework that makes transparent the relationship between European national higher education frameworks of qualifications and the Qualifications (higher education) they contain. It is a mechanism of interlinking national frameworks.
Being conscious about the ongoing and yet unresolved struggle to define the term informatics, Euro-Inf abstains from the attempt to define this multifaceted discipline for its purposes. This is primarily to ensure the inclusiveness of the Euro-Inf framework standards. However, not all European countries might be familiar with the term informatics. In the United Kingdom, for instance, the term Computing is used instead. Hence, whenever the term “informatics” is used in the Euro-Inf documents, it also refers to its British equivalent “computing”.
Someone who successfully completes an accredited programme in informatics (but is not necessarily a practitioner yet).
In the context of the Euro-Inf programme outcomes, the term informatics specialisation refers to the subject of study within a programme as part of the broader discipline of informatics.
Knowledge is the outcome of the collection and assimilation of information through learning.
Statements of what a learner is expected to know, understand and/or be able to do at the end of a period of learning. In the context of Euro-Inf, the term “learning outcomes” refers to capabilities achieved through specific Modules, seminars, lectures or other sub-periods of learning within a study programme. Competences, skills and knowledge gained by the successful completion of an informatics study programme are referred to as Programme (Learning) Outcomes.
A module forms a package of achievements with coordinated content, which is assessed jointly within the examination framework during the course. The creation of modules is oriented towards the (Programme) Educational Objectives. Each module results in a set of achievements (Specific Learning Outcomes) that are assessed jointly within an examination during the study programme. A module is thus the smallest unit for which ECTS credits are awarded.
Integrated course of study leading to an academic degree. In the context of Euro-Inf, the term is used to describe a programme leading to a First or Second Cycle Degree as referred to in the Bologna Declaration. “Course” is often used interchangeably with Programme.
(Statements on) the specific Competences, Skills and Knowledge gained by the successful completion of an informatics study programme. Programme Outcomes are developed on the basis of the qualifications required from graduates of these programmes to enter a career in the informatics profession. An important assessment requirement is that the programme outcomes are consistent with the (Programme) Educational Objectives. The programme outcomes defined in the present Euro-Inf Framework Standards are designed to be compatible with the general framework outlined in the “Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area” prepared by the Bologna Follow-up Group on the basis of the „Dublin Qualification Descriptors“. However, the descriptors for programme outcomes in the Euro-Inf Framework Standards are more specific with respect to the competences required for the informatics profession.
Generic statements of the outcomes of study. They provide clear points of reference that describe the main outcomes of a qualification often with reference to national levels. In the context of the Euro-Inf Framework Standards, the term programme (learning) outcomes is used equivalently to Qualification Descriptors.
Any degree, diploma or other certificate issued by a competent authority attesting that particular learning outcomes have been achieved, normally following the successful completion of a recognised higher education programme of study.
Non-prescriptive indicators that support the articulation of qualifications, learning outcomes and/or other related concepts. The Euro-Inf Framework Standards are intended to provide a reference point for those developing or reviewing national accreditation systems for informatics education. It does not aim at competing with or replacing national guidelines for informatics courses.
Skills are the ability to apply Knowledge and use know-how to complete tasks and solve problems.
In the context of the Euro-Inf Programme (Learning) Outcomes, the term specialisation refers to the subject of a study programme as part of the broader discipline of informatics.
Statements of what the student knows, respectively what he is expected to know, understand and/or be able to do after having completed a unit or period of learning, such as, in the context of Euro-Inf, a Module. The specific learning outcomes are outlined in the module descriptions and contribute to the achievement of the overall Educational Objectives.
A course outline that delineates course requirements, grading criteria, course content, faculty expectations, deadlines, examination dates, grading policies, and other relevant course information.
A quantitative measure of the learning activities that may feasibly be required for the achievement of the learning outcomes (e.g. lectures and seminars, practical work, private study, information retrieval, research, examinations).
A Quality Assurance System is an ongoing process of assessing, guaranteeing, maintaining and improving the quality of a higher education institution or a programme. It is assumed that all programmes to be Euro-Inf-accredited fulfil the criteria set out in the ENQA ‘Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area’. These Standards are concerned with ensuring the quality of the educational process, whereas Euro-Inf Framework Standards regard the content and standard of informatics education for professional qualification. Thus, the two overlap and have some common concerns but they are not the same. It has been checked that there is no inconsistency between the Euro-Inf Framework Standards, the ENQA Standards, or any other relevant document.
- EUR-ACE Framework Standards for the Accreditation of Engineering Programmes – Final 05/11/2008.
- The Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area, published by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Copenhagen, February 2005.
- Bologna Declaration: The European Higher Education Area. The Bologna Declaration of 19 June 1999. Joint declaration of the European Ministers of Education.
- Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area, The European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), Helsinki, 2005.
- Glossary for the Bologna Process, Norwegian Secretariat of the Bologna Follow-up Group, 2005
- European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning proposed by the European Commission for a Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council, COM(2006) 479 final.