national unit specification: general information

national unit specification: general information
Higher National Unit Specification
General information for centres
Unit title:
Audio Applications Programming
Unit code: DR2Y 36
Unit purpose:
The purpose of this Unit is to provide candidates with the skills required to create
bespoke audio software. The Unit is intended for those who wish to be able to design their own
software or who are considering developing this skill at Higher Education level.
On completion of the Unit the candidate should be able to:
1
2
3
4
5
Evaluate a piece of commonly used audio software using a user-centred model.
Create a Design Specification for an audio application.
Design a user interface from a Design Specification document.
Develop program code to provide functionality for an interface.
Create and apply an application testing model.
Credit points and level: 2 HN Credits at SCQF level 9: (16 SCQF credit points at SCQF level
9*).
*SCQF credit points are used to allocate credit to qualifications in the Scottish Credit and Qualifications
Framework (SCQF). Each qualification in the Framework is allocated a number of SCQF credit points at an
SCQF level. There are 12 SCQF levels, ranging from Access 1 to Doctorates.
Recommended prior knowledge and skills: Access to this Unit is at the discretion of
the centre. Although not essential, it would be preferable for candidates to have had some previous
experience in computer programming.
Core Skills: There may be opportunities to gather evidence towards Core Skills in this Unit,
although there is no automatic certification of Core Skills or Core Skills components.
Context for delivery: If this Unit is delivered as part of a Group Award, it is recommended that
it should be taught and assessed within the subject area of the Group Award to which it contributes.
Assessment: This Unit could be assessed as a mini project. There is a strong link between
Outcomes 2 to 5 inclusive, and it is recommended that centres emphasis the relationship that exists
between the skills and issues in these Outcomes. For these Outcomes, candidates should work
towards the creation of a functioning piece of bespoke audio software which has a clear value to
potential users in the sound production industry.
However, it is unlikely that there will be a method of integrating the assessment for Outcome 1 with
any other.
HN Unit (DR2Y 36): Audio Applications Programming
1
General information for centres (cont)
Unit title:
Audio Applications Programming
Outcome 1 will be assessed by carrying out an evaluation on a piece of commonly used, existing
audio software. This is a two-part assessment, involving both the development and application of an
evaluation model or strategy. The application of the evaluation model will be carried out in closedbook, controlled conditions.
For Outcome 2, a professional standard Design Specification must be produced. This will result
either from candidates proposing a viable software project, or from an outline brief issued by the
assessor.
Outcome 3 is closely related to Outcome 2 in that the documentation and interface produced must
clearly stem for the Design Specification. This is a two part assessment, requiring the generation of
interface design documents, and the production of an actual user interface using an Interactive Design
Environment.
Outcome 4 develops the activities of Outcomes 2 and 3, whereby candidates are required to create the
program code necessary for the designed interface. The assessment evidence will be a submitted as a
functioning program.
Outcome 5 requires candidates to both create a testing strategy and apply that strategy. The testing
strategy will be submitted in the form of the necessary documentation, but the application of the
strategy will require candidates to perform this operation in controlled conditions.
HN Unit (DR2Y 36): Audio Applications Programming
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Higher National Unit specification: statement of standards
Unit title: Audio Applications Programming
Unit code: DR2Y 36
The sections of the Unit stating the Outcomes, knowledge and/or skills, and evidence requirements
are mandatory.
Where evidence for Outcomes is assessed on a sample basis, the whole of the content listed in the
knowledge and/or skills section must be taught and available for assessment. Candidates should not
know in advance the items on which they will be assessed and different items should be sampled on
each assessment occasion.
Outcome 1
Evaluate a piece of commonly used audio software using a user-centred model
Knowledge and/or skills
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Human factors in interface design
Direct manipulation concepts in interface design
Conceptual models
Software functionality
User types and user support
Feedback mechanisms
Evidence Requirements
Candidates will need to provide evidence to demonstrate their knowledge and/or skills by showing
that they can:
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♦
♦
♦
♦
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evaluate how human factors have been taken into account in interface design
evaluate the effectiveness of the direct manipulation controls in accessing the functionality
evaluate the effectiveness of conceptual models in the interface presentation
evaluate the functionality in relation to expected system outputs
define user types that could be involved and so evaluate the effectiveness of system user
support
evaluate the effectiveness of system feedback to support various user groups
Candidates will be expected to meet all the evidence requirements with reference to an existing piece
of audio software in common use. The software, which will be the subject of the assessment, can be
selected by the candidate or issued by the assessor.
The assessment will be in two parts. The first part will involve the candidate developing an
evaluation model. There are no assessment conditions for this element of the assessment. The second
part will involve candidates producing the actual evaluation where they are expected to submit a full
written/graphical account of their findings, this should be carried out in closed-book, controlled
conditions and completed within a one hour working period.
HN Unit (DR2Y 36): Audio Applications Programming
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Higher National Unit specification: statement of standards
Unit title: Audio Applications Programming
Assessment guidelines
This Outcome is a foundation for the remainder of the Unit and, as such, should be carried out before
the other Outcomes. It is unlikely that this assessment will be integrated with any other from this
Unit.
Should there be ambiguity regarding a candidate’s response, oral questioning may be used to
eliminate any doubt as to the candidate’s understanding. The lecturer should note questions and
responses.
Outcome 2
Create a Design Specification for an audio application
Knowledge and/or skills
♦
♦
♦
♦
♦
Task analysis
User-environment analysis
Specifying requirements
Specifying functionality for identified requirements
Document creation
Evidence Requirements
Candidates will need to provide evidence to demonstrate their knowledge and/or skills by showing
that they can:
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♦
♦
♦
♦
carry out task analysis
carry out user-environment analysis
specify the requirements of an audio application
relate the specified requirements to system functionality
compile a design specification document using appropriate terminology and style
Evidence will be generated by the creation of a Design Specification document. Candidates should
either select or be given an outline brief for a piece of audio software for the purposes of this Outcome
and the remaining Outcomes. Alternatively, candidates should be allowed to propose their own
project, so long as the proposal is viable. From this brief/project, candidates will be expected to
create a clear, complete and unambiguous Design Specification document.
Assessment guidelines
There is a clear link between this Outcome and Outcomes 3, 4 and 5 of this Unit. Consequently, it
affords opportunity for assessment integration.
Should there be ambiguity regarding a candidate’s response, oral questioning may be used to
eliminate any doubt as to the candidate’s understanding. The lecturer should note questions and
responses.
HN Unit (DR2Y 36): Audio Applications Programming
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Higher National Unit specification: statement of standards (cont)
Unit title: Audio Applications Programming
Outcome 3
Design a user interface from a Design Specification document
Knowledge and/or skills
♦
♦
♦
♦
♦
♦
♦
Sketching techniques
Conceptual model design
Navigation design
Mapping functionality to interface design features
Feedback and user support
Using interactive development environments
Early prototype testing
Evidence Requirements
Candidates will need to provide evidence to demonstrate their knowledge and/or skills by designing a
user interface, showing that they can:
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♦
♦
♦
♦
♦
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use sketching techniques to propose possible interface presentations
imbed a conceptual model in the interface design
graphically model the navigation requirements of the interface
derive necessary interface features from identified functionality
design feedback and user support systems
use an interactive development environment to create an actual user interface
propose an early prototype testing strategy, identifying the value of user-centred evaluation
Candidates will need both written evidence and artefact evidence and will be expected to address the
evidence requirements with reference to the Design Specification document created in Outcome 2 of
this Unit.
The evidence will be presented in two parts. All necessary documentation should be submitted with
details of:
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♦
♦
♦
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interface sketches
conceptual model proposals
navigation design
mappings of functionality to interface features
prototype testing strategy and user-centred evaluation
As well as the documentation, candidates will be required to submit an actual interface deigned using
an interactive development environment. It should be clear that the submitted interface has been
derived from the submitted documentation.
Assessment guidelines
There is a clear link between this Outcome and Outcomes 2, 4 and 5 of this Unit. Consequently, it
affords opportunity for assessment integration.
HN Unit (DR2Y 36): Audio Applications Programming
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Higher National Unit specification: statement of standards (cont)
Unit title: Audio Applications Programming
Should there be ambiguity regarding a candidate’s response, oral questioning may be used to
eliminate any doubt as to the candidate’s understanding. The lecturer should note questions and
responses.
Outcome 4
Develop program code to provide functionality for an interface
Knowledge and/or skills
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♦
♦
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Programming constructs
Saving to, and loading from, storage media
Handling input and output functions
Initialisation and termination requirements
Evidence Requirements
Candidates will need to provide evidence in the form of a functioning application to demonstrate their
knowledge and/or skills. The application code will demonstrate that the candidate can:
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declare variables and their types
use the assignment operation
account for component and value dependencies
use conditional operations
program calculations
provide data input and output facilities
provide proper initialisation and termination procedures
Assessment guidelines
There is a clear link between this Outcome and Outcomes 2, 3 and 5 of this Unit. Consequently, it
affords opportunity for assessment integration.
Should there be ambiguity regarding a candidate’s response, oral questioning may be used to
eliminate any doubt as to the candidate’s understanding. The lecturer should note questions and
responses.
Outcome 5
Create and apply an application testing model
Knowledge and/or skills
♦
♦
♦
♦
♦
Iterative testing
User participation testing
Usability testing
Creating test documents
Collecting and applying test data
♦
The role of re-design
HN Unit (DR2Y 36): Audio Applications Programming
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Higher National Unit specification: statement of standards (cont)
Unit title: Audio Applications Programming
Evidence Requirements
Candidates will need to provide both written/graphical evidence and performance evidence to
demonstrate their knowledge and/or skills. The written/graphical evidence should demonstrate that the
candidate can:
♦
♦
♦
♦
♦
explain the concept of iterative testing
fully justify the inclusion of user groups in applications testing
translate the fundamentals of usability testing into testing activities
create professional standard test documents
show how test results inform any necessary re-design effort
Candidates will be expected to produce a documentation report that shows the clear relationship that
exists between the Test Strategy and the Design Specification documents.
There are no particular restrictions on the conditions for the written part of this assessment exercise.
As well as the written graphical evidence, candidates will be expected to execute systematically and
efficiently the created test strategy. Assessors must use appropriate checklists to record candidate
performance. This part of the assessment should be carried out in controlled conditions.
Assessment guidelines
There is a clear link between this Outcome and Outcomes 2, 3 and 4 of this Unit. Consequently, it
affords opportunity for assessment integration.
Should there be ambiguity regarding a candidate’s response, oral questioning may be used to
eliminate any doubt as to the candidate’s understanding. The lecturer should note questions and
responses.
HN Unit (DR2Y 36): Audio Applications Programming
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Administrative Information
Unit code:
DR2Y 36
Unit title:
Audio Applications Programming
Superclass category:
CB
Date of publication:
August 2005
Version:
01
Source:
SQA
© Scottish Qualifications Authority 2005
This publication may be reproduced in whole or in part for educational purposes provided that no
profit is derived from reproduction and that, if reproduced in part, the source is acknowledged.
SQA acknowledges the valuable contribution that Scotland’s colleges have made to the development
of Higher National qualifications.
Additional copies of this Unit specification can be purchased from the Scottish Qualifications
Authority. Please contact the Customer Contact Centre for further details, telephone 0845 279 1000.
HN Unit (DR2Y 36): Audio Applications Programming
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Higher National Unit specification: support notes
Unit title: Audio Applications Programming
This part of the Unit specification is offered as guidance. The support notes are not mandatory.
While the exact time allocated to this Unit is at the discretion of the centre, the notional design length
is 80 hours.
Guidance on the content and context for this Unit
This Unit provides an opportunity for candidates to develop a specialist skill in the sound production
field. It introduces the approach of designing bespoke software for a range of sound and music
applications.
It features a wide range of high level tasks such as analysis, evaluation and design. Consequently,
although programme design is the main focus, candidates will develop, through this Unit, other
transferable skills eg problem solving, task management and communication.
Although there are separate Outcomes, there exists clear potential and preference for assessment
integration. With the exception of Outcome 1, candidates should consider a design project that can be
used for Outcomes 2-5 inclusive. Projects that involve audio or MIDI should be used. Individual
projects will allow candidates to be involved in all necessary areas of the Unit, but there may be
opportunities for group exercises, for example creating test communities or document design
communities and so on.
Outcome 1 introduces a model to equip candidates to evaluate the effectiveness of existing software
types that are to be found in the sound technology industry. This will involve very definite measures
like functionality, but will also introduce the human element, so that software performance can be
evaluated in relation to human needs and limitations. This Outcome will also provide candidates with
an insight into common software design practices and hence inspire design procedures later in the
Unit.
Outcome 2 introduces the necessary rigours of creating a Design Specification document. Analytical
techniques are introduced like Task Analysis, so that the document is the product of full and proper
consideration. The role of this document in the other stages of a software design project should be
highlighted to candidates. Candidates should also be made aware of the need to adopt and continually
adhere to a document house style.
Outcome 3 considers critical factors in user interface design. It is important that candidates are made
aware of the many advantages that can be enjoyed by making the code support the interface rather
than the other way round. Again, human factors will figure largely in this Outcome, as issues such as
concentration constraints, sociology, cognition, preferences and experience are considered. This will
constrain candidates to design interfaces that suit people, and yet functionality will also be a key
consideration.
The importance of support functions with no added functionality should also be considered like
feedback and on-line help pages. Different approaches to design should be considered from simple
sketching to prototype designs using design software.
HN Unit (DR2Y 36): Audio Applications Programming
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Higher National Unit specification: support notes (cont)
Unit title: Audio Applications Programming
Outcome 4 introduces the coding aspects of the software design sequence. Where candidates will
have had little or no experience, it is advisable that a significant portion of the time available for the
Unit is apportioned to this Outcome. For this Outcome, it is recommended that a software builder type
design tool is used like Visual Basic, Delphi, C++ Builder or Java Builder. The code developed will
allow for the key aspects of the software functionality, data input, data processing and data output. As
well as these, necessary functionality like default start-ups, saving preferences, data storage and data
retrieval should be considered. The link between the designed interface and the necessary navigation
and functionality code should be established.
Outcome 5 introduces the role of multi-faceted testing. From the outset, the role of the Design
Specification in the test phase should be emphasised. Candidates should be encouraged to consider
what exactly they want to test and how to create a test procedure that will allow that testing to take
place. Although functionality is a key consideration, candidates should be made aware of the
importance of the various usability tests that can be used like learnability, flexibility and so on. The
need for a considered test procedure and associated documentation must be introduced, but this will
also extend to the actual practical exercise of conducting the tests. Candidates should also be made
aware of what happens with the data collected from the various tests, and how this data will inform
any necessary remedial design work.
Guidance on the delivery and assessment of this Unit
This has been developed as an optional Unit in the HND Sound Production Group Award but is also a
stand-alone specialised Unit. It introduces the approach of designing bespoke software for a range of
sound and music applications. It is primarily designed to develop the specialist skill in the sound
production field.
The Unit can be assessed using separate assessments for each Outcome or combining the assessments
for Outcomes 2 - 5. The assessment for Outcome 1 should be stand-alone.
Open learning
It may be possible for this Unit to be completed on an open learning basis, although centres will need
to devise and approve methods for ensuring the validity of submitted work that contributes to
assessment evidence.
For further information and advice please refer to Assessment and Quality Assurance for Open and
Distance Learning (SQA,— publication code A1030).
Candidates with additional support needs
This Unit specification is intended to ensure that there are no artificial barriers to learning or
assessment. The additional support needs of individual candidates should be taken into account when
planning learning experiences, selecting assessment instruments or considering alternative Outcomes
for Units. For information on these, please refer to the SQA document Guidance on Assessment
Arrangements for Candidates with Disabilities and/or Additional Support Needs, which is available
on the SQA website www.sqa.org.uk.
HN Unit (DR2Y 36): Audio Applications Programming
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General information for candidates
Unit title: Audio Applications Programming
This Unit is designed to introduce you to the skill of designing your own software tools. It introduces
you to a way of making a formal and useful assessment of the effectiveness of existing software tools
with respect to functionality, ie the range of tasks that can be carried out, but also issues to do with
user support are taken into account. It is intended that, by considering how software design houses
create professional programmes, you will pick up on established good and acceptable practice.
It is likely that, after the first Outcome, you will be issued with, or asked to select a design project.
This will form the focus for the remaining Outcomes of the Unit.
You will then be introduced to the key considerations in creating a design document known as the
Design Specification document. The necessary content and approaches to creating the content will be
emphasised to you as this document is used as the reference document throughout the design
sequence.
The Unit goes beyond just technical considerations and deals with the human element. Because
software is designed to be used by humans, it should consider how humans differ and the constraints
and limitations we have like memory capacity, concentration span, and even sociological issues like
experience, belief and preferences.
Having created the Design Specification as the project reference, you will begin the design effort by
considering the user interface. Although simple techniques like sketching and storyboarding will be
used initially, you will progress onto a ‘drag-and-drop’ design tool for interface and coding design.
This will obviously introduce a learning curve into the process, and it is likely that you will have to
set aside extra time to practise and familiarise yourself with this design tool.
Once the interface has been designed and tested, functionality will be created by using program code.
If you have never worked with program code before, then it is likely that this element will consume
most of your time on this Unit. The code will be included to control processes like input and output
of audio and/or MIDI information, and will also include a level of processing of this data. However,
important, basic requirements will also be addressed like data storage and retrieval, preference saving
and start-up defaults. This part will also require you to manipulate code which carries out
calculations, so will be expected to be familiar with some basic arithmetical and mathematical
computations.
Once the software is designed and functions along with the interface, the test phase is introduced. It is
at this stage you will again see the important role that the Design Specification document continues to
play. You will be expected to consider the information you wish to gather at this phase, what
procedures will have to be followed to obtain that information, design appropriate record documents
and finally implement the tests and record the information. You will then be required to use the
information gathered in an effective manner for any re-design work that may be required.
Key topics: The following list will form the knowledge attained at the end of the Unit.
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♦
♦
♦
Direct manipulation interface components that facilitate interactive operation.
Electronic circuits eg the difference between balanced/unbalanced and the difference between
'signal', 'line', 'speaker' and 'mains.'
Software functionality.
Human factors.
HN Unit (DR2Y 36): Audio Applications Programming
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General information for candidates (cont)
Unit title: Audio Applications Programming
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User groups.
Evaluations models and their application.
Requirements and task analysis.
Design Specification document creation.
Interface design with respect to human factors.
Navigation and user support.
Program coding constructs.
Data dependencies and functionality to interface relationships.
Testing approaches and documentation.
Testing procedures and record completion.
HN Unit (DR2Y 36): Audio Applications Programming
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