ChiliPLoP 2012

"Birth of a Discipline" Hot Topic

Hot Topic—Birth of a Discipline

Before application developers were ‘software engineers’ they were ‘artists’ practicing a ‘craft,’ and expertise was recognized as analogous to ‘wizardry.’ Economics, antipathy toward human beings, and a desire to be ‘just like physics’ pushed those metaphors aside. A great schism, separating practice from academic theory, emerged. Theorists were firmly convinced that “all the world is a machine,” that computer science was the source of all necessary fundamental knowledge, and that a formally defined process of applying that knowledge—software engineering—would solve all problems.

Practitioners knew better. The world is not a machine, it is a complex adaptive system and the problems it poses are not amenable to solution with computational thinking alone. A vast quantity of ‘practical knowledge’—often tacitly conveyed—has come into existence along with heuristics, techniques, and alternative ways of thinking about problems and their solutions. The Practice, as it’s called, has established a small presence in higher education but is still hampered by the need to approximate computer science and software engineering model curricula, leaving most of their knowledge and craft outside academe.

It is time to determine if a new discipline is required, how it might reshape and reinvent education, especially at the college and university level, and to limn both the content and effective approaches to learning. It is time to make it

Call for Participation

A general definition of a pattern is “the solution to a problem in context.” At Chili, we will discover and articulate patterns for solving the myriad problems that arise in the context of creating a new discipline and domain of enquiry in the context of higher education and professionalism.

We will spend our days exploring the problem space, enumerating issues and problems, and seeking. Like Edward Bellamy, we will first need to envisage a future where such a discipline is established and ‘look backward’ to see what patterned solutions would have been useful and necessary for that vision to become a reality.

We will hear three “Scouting Reports” from individuals that have been actively engaged in creating a new discipline and radically redefining the educational system so that it can support the vision.

Unlike other PLoPs, Chili is an exploratory workshop. All you need to be an active and effective participant is an interest, (hopefully a passion), for the topic, ideas of what a discipline of software development—Reality Construction—might look like, and experiences or awareness of alternative approaches to education and learning.

Participants will also have the opportunity to become involved in implementing the ideas of the conference – in a working degree program with centers around the globe.