computers

BTEC Extended Diploma in Information Technology

Qualification: 
BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma
Duration: 
2 years
Level: 
3
Curriculum Manager: 
Ian Martin

What is the BTEC Extended Diploma in Information Technology?

A BTEC Extended Diploma is a practical, work-related course. You learn by completing projects and assignments that are based on realistic workplace situations, activities and demands.

Information Technology (IT) is changing at an extremely rapid rate. There is a need to develop the IT practitioners of tomorrow, who will be able to fill the interesting, demanding and highly-paid specialist posts that will be available within a broad spectrum of organisations.

The BTEC Extended Diploma for IT Practitioners provides the knowledge, understanding and skills for students wishing to enter a career as an IT practitioner or technician in the area of business systems, user support, networking and software development and may provide progression to higher education vocational qualifications such as BTEC Higher National Diploma in Computing or a full-time degree in Computing, Networking or IT Systems.

This qualification programme provides access to some highly specialist units and topics which will help you develop the skills you need to start or progress to a career in IT.

The BTEC Extended Diploma is equivalent to three A Levels which means when you have finished the course you can choose whether to follow a career straight away or to apply for higher education first.

Is the BTEC Extended Diploma in Information Technology suitable for me?

IT is a very exciting and fast-moving subject, offering a variety of career opportunities. This course will teach you many new skills, as well as enhancing those you currently possess, whilst offering you the opportunity to acquire specific skills in line with your chosen career path as an IT Practitioner or Technician.

Students enjoy the wide variety of units offered on this course, including Networking, Applications Software Development, Website Development and Programming, as well as gaining knowledge of the underpinning theory in such units as Computer Systems. This is an ideal course if you prefer completing coursework rather than taking examinations. Assessment is continuous rather than by exams at the end of the course.

How will I learn?

The majority of lessons will take place in our specialist IT Centre. All classrooms are equipped with high-specification computers, flat screen monitors together with interactive smart boards. All computers have internet access and students will have individual email accounts and 24/7 access to the College intranet which hosts a variety of learning and teaching resources required for the course.

A selection of assignments and homework will be set to cover the units, with deadline dates for completion of work staggered over the duration of the course. Deadlines set for all homework and assignments must be strictly adhered to so good time management skills are essential.

During the first year of the course you will also spend two weeks on work experience in an IT-related field.

How will I be assessed?

You will study a total of 18 units during the two years of the course. All of the units are assessed by coursework – and this may include the production of portfolios, presentations, practical projects, and staff observations. None of the units require you to sit a formal examination.
 
For each unit you complete you will be awarded a Pass (P), Merit (M), or Distinction (D) grade. As this qualification is equivalent to 3 A Levels, you will also be awarded an overall grade consisting of three grades – such as PPP, MMP, or D*DD.
 
Students must complete and pass the first year to be awarded a 90 credit diploma and progress to the second year and full Extended Diploma.
 
We are aware that Edexcel is currently evaluating the assessment process and there may be the introduction of an examined unit. Further information is unavailable at the current time.

Progression

This course is good preparation for anyone wishing to continue into employment, or to higher education in the Computing and ICT fields. Local companies sometimes contact the College to help them recruit staff, and o occasion the work experience placement results in the offer of full-time employment at the end of the course. Many students have found that the BTEC Extended Diploma in IT has been a very successful course and can lead to university, either at HND or degree level. A number of students who were not considering university at the beginning of the course have decided to pursue the subject at a higher level. Our previous students have progressed onto a variety of courses and jobs. Here are some examples:

Isaac was at Alton College for two years. He successfully completed the BTEC Extended Diploma in IT and accepted an apprenticeship at his work placement, a local software company. He is now studying for an advanced apprenticeship in IT, which will result in a B.Sc. in Computer Science after four years, through the University of Surrey.

Natalie was at Alton College for three years. She successfully completed the BTEC intermediate IT course, progressed onto the BTEC advanced course and is now studying Digital Media at Winchester University.

Seamus successfully completed the BTEC Extended Diploma in IT and is now studying B.Sc. Computer Science at the University of Surrey.

Entry requirements

Students should normally have achieved an A*- C grade profile at GCSE. For GCSE English and Maths where a new grading system has been introduced a Grade 4 is equivalent to a Grade C. Alternatively if you have studied at level 2 you should have achieved a merit or above. Vocational courses are an ideal qualification for students who prefer coursework. To study this course you should have an interest in technical subjects.

Course costs

All students will be expected to provide their own textbooks, stationery, computer disks and calculators (where applicable).

Essential: £50 for textbooks

Optional: £40 for textbooks over two years (most resources will be available on Moodle, with some copies of textbooks available in the library).

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.

BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in Information Technology

Qualification: 
BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma
Duration: 
2 years
Level: 
3
Curriculum Manager: 
Ian Martin

What is BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in Information Technology?

A BTEC Subsidiary Diploma is a 2-year  vocational course that would normally be studied alongside a range of traditional A level programmes or BTEC Subsidiary Diplomas. The full Subsidiary Diploma is equivalent to one A Level, and carries a maximum of 56 UCAS points. The BTEC Certificate, awarded after successful completion of one year, carries a maximum of 28 UCAS points. 

In this course, you will study six units over two years covering a range of topics. Core subjects are compulsorary)These will be:

Year 1:
• Communication and Employability Skills for IT (Core)
• Computer Systems (Core)
• Spreadsheet Modelling

Year 2:                       
• Systems Security
• Information Systems
• Graphics 

Is the BTEC Subsidiary Diploma in Information Technology suitable for me?

The Subsidiary Diploma is suitable for anyone wishing to take a course without exams which is practical - not only for people who wish to follow a career in IT. You will learn a range of valuable skills which will be useful in whatever career you pursue.

How will I learn?

The majority of lessons will take place in our specialist IT Centre. All classrooms are equipped with high specification computers with flat screen monitors, together with interactive Smartboards. All computers have internet access and students will have individual e-mail accounts and 24/7 access to the College intranet, which hosts a variety of learning and teaching resources required for the course. A selection of assignments and homework will be set to cover the units, with deadline dates for completion of work staggered over the duration of the course. Deadlines set for all homework and assignments much be strictly adhered to so good time management skills are essential. During the first year of the course you will also spend two weeks on work experience. 

How will I be assessed?

The BTEC Subsidiary Diploma is 100% coursework assessed and may include portfolio work - there are no exams. Projects are submitted for marking on a regular basis throughout the course. They are assessed internally by your teachers and then moderated by the board. Work is graded and written feedback provided enabling students to gauge how well they are doing on the course. Feedback will help you to see the strengths of your work, as well as allowing you to reflect on areas which can be developed further.

Your work will be graded pass, merit or distinction. The BTEC Subsidiary Diploma is equivalent to one A Level and carries a maximum of 56 UCAS points. The BTEC Certificate, awarded after successful completion of one year, carries a maximum of 28 UCAS points.

Students must complete and pass the first year to be awarded a BTEC Certificate and the full 2 years of the course to receive the full BTEC Subsidiary Diploma.

We are aware that Edexcel is currently evaluating the assessment process and there may be the introduction of an examined unit. Further information is unavailable at the current time.

Progression

Students who have followed this course have progressed onto a wide range of courses and careers. These include, digital media, information systems, network support, business, accountancy, teaching, advertising, TV and film production.

Entry requirements

Students should normally have achieved an A*- C grade profile at GCSE. For GCSE English and Maths where a new grading system has been introduced a Grade 4 is equivalent to a Grade C. Alternatively if you have studied at level 2 you should have achieved a merit or above. Vocational courses are an ideal qualification for students who prefer coursework. 

Computer Science

Qualification: 
A Level
Duration: 
2 years
Level: 
3
Curriculum Manager: 
Ian Martin

What is Computer Science?

You may have used computers at school and have used a word processor, a spreadsheet or a database package. In A Level Computer Science you will learn how to write good quality computer programs and then demonstrate this knowledge by solving a series of programming challenges. You will also develop a detailed understanding of how all of the different components of a computer function, work with each other and interact with software.

Examples of questions that you may be asked are:

  • How do computers help police to combat crime?
  • How does a computer perform arithmetic?
  • How does a touch sensitive screen work?
  • Does a computer have intelligence?

Is Computer Science suitable for me?

Current students have indicated that they find the subject lecturers very knowledgeable and always helpful when required. Students have also stated that they particularly enjoy the procedural and event-driven programming parts of the course as this gives them the opportunity to produce customised solutions to real software problems.

One of the main challenges, common to many subjects, is being organised and developing a logical approach to the subject, in order to keep up to date with the workload.

How will I learn?

Computer Science covers a wide range of topics including both the theory of computing and practical programming. You will have lectures and presentations each week, within which you may be asked to present a logical argument or solve and explain the solutions to a programming problem.

Practical programming work is an essential part of the course and in these lessons you will concentrate on learning programming languages.

You will need to be organised in your approach to work and committed to four to five hours of homework each week for this subject. You must be prepared to complete a written homework and a practical homework each week. The practical programming work tends to be time consuming and you should be prepared to spend many hours debugging code and solving problems.

How will I be assessed?

Coursework: 20% of A Level

A level Computer Science comprises the following three sections:

Paper 1: Problem Solving, Programming, Data Structures, Algorithms and Computation
On-screen Exam: 2½ hours, 40% of A level.

Paper 2: Data Representation, Computer Systems, Big Data, Databases, Communications and Networking.
Exam: 2½ hours, 40% of A level.

Non-Exam Assessment: The Practical Project
Coursework: 20% of total A level – Designed to assess a student's ability to use the knowledge and skills gained through the course to solve a practical problem.

Progression

Students can use computing as the basis for a future career, or to support other Higher Education goals.

Jo obtained an A grade in Computer Science. She then went on to Durham University to read Computer Science.

Mark also achieved an A grade. He now reads Mathematics and Computing at Lincoln College, Oxford.

Sarah chose Computer Science A level as it combined well with her other A levels – Maths, Further Maths and Physics.

Entry requirements

Students should normally have achieved an A*- C grade profile at GCSE. For GCSE English and Maths where a new grading system has been introduced, a Grade 4 is equivalent to a Grade C.

You will need a logical mind to write your own computer programs successfully and for this reason it is recommended that you have at least a Grade 5 in Mathematics.

Course costs

All students will be expected to provide their own textbooks, stationery, computer disks and calculators (where applicable). Any further costs are outlined below:

Essential: £30 for textbooks.

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.

Course Code

AQA 7517

 

 

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