History of the department
The Department of Computer Science and Educational Technology was originally established in August 1988 as a section of computer science and educational technology of the Department of Mathematics and Physics at the Faculty of Education in Pilsen. The first appointed section head was Ing. Václav Vrbík, CSc. The head of department at that time was doc. PhDr. Ing. Zdenek Hronek, CSc. who deserves credit for establishing the section, which provided courses in programming, mainly for students of teacher education in mathematics, and also in computer science fundamentals as a part of general compulsory courses for all the students of the Faculty of Education. In September 1989 the importance of the ‘alternative’ section at that time was further emphasized by appointing its section head also as the deputy head of the Department of Mathematics and Physics, who was responsible for introducing electronic devices and for educational technology. Furthermore, the faculty admitted the first students in the study programme Upper-secondary Teacher Education in Computer Science and Educational Technology (field of study combinations: mathematics-educational technology, physics – educational technology). In September 1990 the Department of Mathematics and Physics was divided into two independent departments (Department of Mathematics and Department of General Physics). Subsequently, the section of computer science and educational technology was transferred to the Department of Technical Education (head of department - doc. Dr. Ing. Lubor Šabacký, CSc.). Thus the fast developing section faced the threat of dissolution for organizational reasons shortly after being established. This situation changed in 1991 when the section head Ing. Václav Vrbík, CSc. was appointed vicedean’s counsellor in the field of introducing electronic devices. The vice-dean at that time was doc. RNDr. Jaroslav Drábek, CSc. Moreover, the development of computer science at the faculty and its integration into teacher education programmes was strongly supported by the dean doc. Ing. Jiří Pyšek, CSc. The independent Department of Computer Science and Educational Technology was established in September 1991. The first appointed head of department was doc. RNDr. Jan Sedlák, CSc., the secretary of department was Ing. Václav Vrbík, CSc. Since May 1993 doc. Ing. Václav Vrbík, CSc. has been the head of department and Ing. Petr Michalík, Ph.D. has been his secretary.
Since the academic year 1997-1998 the department has provided a teacher education programme for future teachers of computer science courses at lower-secondary schools. From 1994 to 2004 the department also operated a section of audiovisual educational technology headed by Mgr. Jan Mašek, Ph.D. Moreover, besides teaching courses the section provided services for other parts of the faculty. In 1995 the Centre of Computer Network Administration was established at the department. Its main task is to create and administer computer networks at the faculty (PefNet). The heads of the centre were successively Ing. Radovan Osoba (1995–1997), Ing. Václav Vrbík, CSc. (1997–1998, being the head of department at the same time) and from 1998 when the centre became independent, it was headed by Dr. Ing. Jiří Toman. Although the number of staff members was limited, they managed to create a modern computer network at the faculty and to provide high quality network administration. Users appreciated especially the smooth-running network and the elaborate user interface. It is important to point out that the early development of the computer network was strongly supported by the dean of the faculty doc. RNDr. Jaroslav Drábek, CSc., and especially by his secretary Ing. Adolf Daneš. The centre staff members also participated in teaching courses related to their work content. From 2006 the PefNet network interface was gradually replaced by the uniform Orion university interface and the head of centre Dr. Ing. Jiří Toman returned to the department as a teacher at the end of 2006.
In 1998 the department lost accreditation of the study programme upper-secondary teacher education in computer science due to insufficient number of department staff members. However, it was also owing to the fact that the Faculty of Applied Sciences has provided an equal study programme. The accreditation was granted again in 2004. The six-year interruption of the programme reflected significantly in the lack of upper-secondary teachers of computer science and educational technology in the region. From 1996 to 2006 the department guaranteed and organized the National Competition in Programming for Uppersecondary Students. Ing. Petr Michalík, Ph.D. and Mgr. Zdeněk Roub were in charge of its flawless organization. From 1999 to 2003 the department organized a large number of trainings for regional teachers in cooperation with the Educational Centre in Pilsen (in the course of one academic year there were always approximately 30 events organized at the department). Furthermore, the department held other important events, e.g. the Summer School of Computer Science for Teachers (from 1997 to 2003) which was organized in cooperation with the Educational Centre in Pilsen, as well. As a result, the department became an informal computer science training centre for teachers from all the local regions. Based on the agreement between the administration of the Faculty of Education and the Educational Centre, the department provided its premises free of charge and the centre was in charge of organization and providing salaries for lecturers. However, such a way of organizing gradually ceased to be accepted by the economic management of the University of West Bohemia and due to rising costs of provided premises which resulted in an extreme increase in fees for participants-teachers these events were more frequently held in non-faculty premises and eventually came to an end. Thus the department lost part of its great influence (through no fault of its own) on the development of computer science at schools.
Within the framework of lifelong education of pedagogical staff, the department has guaranteed the programme Supplementary Education in Educational Technology for lowersecondary or upper-secondary schools since 1991. These study programmes aim at providing teachers with educational qualification for teaching educational technology.
Since the academic year 2005-2006 the department has participated in providing courses in the bachelor study programme Natural Science Studies in which it guarantees the field of study Computer Science for Education Purposes (full-time study). Moreover, the department has guaranteed the follow-up master study programme for lower-secondary and uppersecondary teachers of computer science since the same academic year (full-time or part-time study). It is worth mentioning that in the academic year 2007-2008 the department provided courses for more than 3,000 full-time students. In the academic year 2007-2008 the department was granted accreditation to hold PhDr. state examinations and confer the PhDr. academic degree (advanced master’s degree) on students of study programmes Lowersecondary Teacher Education and Upper-secondary Teacher Education (field of study – computer science).
Since the academic year 2007-2008 students may enrol in a doctoral study programme Specialization in Education, field of study Information and Communication Technologies for Education Purposes (full-time or part-time study). This doctoral study programme is provided in a joint form in cooperation with the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, the University of Hradec Králové and the University of Ostrava. Several members of the department (doc. Ing. Václav Vrbík, CSc., Ing. Pavel Kocur, CSc. and Ing. Petr Michalík, Ph.D.) deserve a special mention for active participation at national level in receiving accreditation, organizing the joint form and elaborating accreditation documents to this prestigious study programme.
Department graduates work successfully at the majority of lower-secondary and uppersecondary schools in the region, e.g. Gymnázium Plzeň Mikulášské náměstí )grammar school)), SPŠE a VOŠ Plzeň (college and upper-secondary vocational school of industry and economics), Gymnázium Cheb (grammar school), Gymnázium Rokycany (grammar school), SPŠS Plzeň (upper-secondary vocational school of building industry), Masarykovo gymnázium Plzeň (grammar school), Gymnázium Luďka Pika Plzeň (grammar school).
In the academic year 2007-2008 the Department of Computer Science and Educational Technology will close down the ‘classical’ four-year education programme for computer science teachers at lower-secondary schools. From now on teacher education will be structured. After completing the full-time bachelor study programme Natural Science Studies, field of study Computer Science for Education Purposes, students may continue their studies in a follow-up study programme of teacher education for lower-secondary or upper-secondary schools. Both follow-up programmes last for two years and enable students of computer science education to take up another field of study. Applicants for the study programme lower-secondary teacher education are free to choose their second field of study from mathematics, physics, technical education, biology, chemistry, physical education and geography. Applicants for the study programme upper-secondary teacher education are free to choose their second field of study from physics, chemistry, physical education and geography. Both full-time and part-time forms of study are available.
The department also provides courses in the certificate programme Information Education at Lower-secondary and Upper-secondary Schools. These studies are aimed especially at students interested in computer science who study at the Faculty of Education, e.g. teacher education programmes for primary schools, lower-secondary schools or even upper-secondary schools in any field of study except computer science. Graduates of the programme will receive a certificate after passing their final examination.
Within the framework of lifelong education of pedagogical staff, the Department of Computer Science and Educational Technology guarantees the Supplementary Education in Educational Technology for Lower-secondary or Upper-secondary Schools. These programmes aim at providing teachers of lower-secondary schools or upper-secondary schools with relevant qualification for teaching educational technology. They last for 6 semesters and are organized in a part-time form of study. To conclude their studies subscribers have to submit a final paper and pass a final examination in educational technology.
Since the academic year 2007-2008 the department has enabled graduates in lowersecondary or upper-secondary teacher education programmes (field of study – computer science education) to pass PhDr. state examinations and obtain the PhDr. academic degree.
Since the academic year 2007-2008 students may enrol in a doctoral study programme Specialization in Education, field of study Information and Communication Technologies for Education Purposes (full-time or part-time study). Graduates of this programme will gain scientific qualification as well as the academic-scientific degree PhD. The doctoral studies focus on independent scientific work and research or development in the field of computer science education theory. Moreover, the doctoral study programme trains experts able to solve complex theoretical and practical problems related to the computer science education. Graduates of the doctoral study programme may work especially as teachers and computer science methodologists at lower-secondary and upper-secondary schools, as computer science methodologists at faculties which educate teachers of computer science, authors of varied teaching materials for various types of studies, research or development workers in the field of computer science (especially methodology), employees of public education administration or scientific workers in the area of education related information technologies.
The current head of the Department of Computer Science and Educational Technology is doc. Ing. Václav Vrbík, CSc, his secretary is Ing. Petr Michalík, Ph.D., the personal assistant of the department is Jitka Štychová. At the department there are currently 9 staff members (5 external teachers) and 3 students of the doctoral study programme.
Department staff members participate in many different projects. Moreover, the department provides courses in computer science fundamentals for students of the Faculty of Education as well as other courses required by the other departments of the University of West Bohemia. The main areas the department focuses on are programming, computer theory, analogue and digital elements and systems, computer technology, controlling and simulations, processing of text and graphic data, digital methods, computer science methodology and multimedia systems.
List of heads of the department
Doc. RNDr. Jan Sedlák, CSc. (1991–1993)
Doc. Ing. Václav Vrbík, CSc. (1993–2017)
PhDr. Tomáš Jakeš, Ph.D. (2017–present)
Significant achievements of the department
The CICE project (Children’s Identity and Citizenship in Europe) has been operated within the framework of the SOCRATES programme by the London Metropolitan University since 1998. The project follows the development of cooperation between European colleges and universities focused on research into youth identity development in the European context. The aim of the project is to create a stable all-European network of higher education institutions which specialize in education and research of children’s understanding of notions from the areas of civics, social sciences, social issues and economics and which also deal with the influence of modern media and the Internet. Moreover, this project involves analysing and outlining new higher education courses and creating a master study programme focused on these matters on the all-European scale.
The following department staff members have participated in the project since the beginning: Mgr. Jan Mašek, Ph.D., Ing. Jaroslava Šmídová and doc. Ing. Václav Vrbík, CSc. Mgr. J. Mašek (currently working at the Department of Art Culture) is the coordinator of the project in the entire Czech Republic and regularly attends annual all-European conferences.
Czech Science Foundation 2003–2006 ‘Basis, Resources and Technical Background of ELearning’. University in Ostrava, Charles University, University of West Bohemia. (Mgr. J. Mašek, Ph.D., Ing. J. Šmídová, doc. Ing. V. Vrbík, CSc.)
Czech Science Foundation 2002–2003 ‘Open Source Technologies in the Educational Process’ (Mgr. J. Mašek, Ph.D., Ing. P. Michalík, Ph.D., doc. Ing. V. Vrbík, CSc.), the outcome of the project was the monograph: Mašek, J., Michalík. P., Vrbík, V. Open Source Technologies in Education. 1st edition. Pilsen: University of West Bohemia in Pislen, 2004. 125 p. ISBN 80-7043-254-3.
Vrbík, V. Communicative Approach to Teaching Programming. In The New Educational Review. 2004, Vol. 2, No. 1 (2), p.131-143, ISSN 1732-6729.
Vrbík, V. Communicative Approach to Teaching Programming, Int. J. Cont. Engineering Education and Lifelong Learning. 2005. Vol. 15, Nos. 3–6, pp.148–161. ISSN 0957-4344.
Efmertová, M.; Kučera, T.; Mikeš, J.; Nápravník, V.; Soukup, V.; Vrbík, V. Editorial changes. Člověk a příroda. Informace a komunikace (‘Human and Nature. Information and Communication’) Pilsen: Fraus, 2005. 64 p. ISBN 80-7238-342-6.