Including IT service management in the Computing curriculum: a caricature approach.

Bowers, David and Morse, David (2018). Including IT service management in the Computing curriculum: a caricature approach. In: Computing Education Practice, 11-12 Jan 2018, University of Durham.



IT service management (itSM) is as important to the IT profession as is project management, which has long been recognised as an enabling skill for computing graduates. Both contribute to meeting accreditation criteria, and play into the employability agenda. itSM is prominent both in the SFIA framework and in the BCS Breadth of Knowledge test for CITP. Yet, unlike project management, itSM is integrated into only a handful of undergraduate computing degree programmes.

The principal challenge arises from the pedagogies and expectations of certification schemes and training courses being fundamentally different from those of higher education. itSM training courses seek to help participants engage with and enhance an existing service oriented working environment. For HE, the objective is to develop a deep understanding of the value and fundamental importance of itSM within the broad context of computing, and on understanding the reasons and justifications for effective itSM. The pedagogy needs also to encourage students to understand the risks of ignoring itSM – as with the risks of ignoring project management or the principles of software engineering. We present some challenges and questions encountered during the Open University’s development of itSM distance learning material for undergraduate Computing students. In a distance learning environment, the distinctions in objectives and pedagogy between certification and higher education are exacerbated by the limited opportunities for face-to-face discussions. Furthermore, the student body is disparate: some work in the sector, some are school-leavers with no work experience, and others work in completely different sectors.

We present our solution to these challenges: a "caricature”" pedagogy that emphasises the intended outcomes and benefits of IT service management, rather than its nomenclature, based on the classic ITIL service lifecycle. Our experience, including student reaction, suggests that this approach could enable the wider adoption of itSM teaching in university computing courses.

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