arrowrightarrowleftNDPCAL Projects

NDPCAL funded a wide range of different projects - of different types, covering a range of subjects and age ranges sectors. Some of these such as Chelsea College's Computers in the Undergraduate Science Curriculum developed into the Computers in the Curriculum Project and Hertfordshire's Computer Managed Mathematics helped the Advisory Unit for Computer Based Education (AUCBE) at Hatfield develop.

Wide Range of types and sectors

NDPCAL funded projects on computer aided learning (CAL) and computer managed learning (CML). Further and Higher Education, for Schools, for the Armed Services and for Industrial Training. It classified projects into different stages (Hooper, 1975, p.26):

Full list of Projects and feasibility studies

The following list (Hooper, 1977,p174) illustrates the surprising number of areas of the curriculum where computers were beginning to make an impact at all stages of education, apart perhaps from primary education. Details of a few of these are provided further below.

Further and Higher Education Projects

About half the project funds were spent on projects in universities and polytechnics


About one-sixth of the project funds was spent on schools based projects:

Armed Services

About £160K was spent on schools based projects:

Industrial training


Some specific projects

DP1/01 Applied Statistics for Social Science Students

Funded for 2 years from 1.10.73 at a cost of £99,818

Director: J.R. Hartley - Computer Based Learning Project, Leeds University
A computer-based statistics service course involving 500 students from 10 different disciplines in 3 institutions (University of Leeds, Leeds Polytechnic and the University of Bradford). The Leeds Modular One computer with 44 teletypes terminals was used as a statistical laboratory, providing real illustrations of statistical concepts, testing students' comprehension and giving some remedial teaching.

DP 1/02 Computer Assisted Learning in Engineering Sciences

Funded for 2 years from 1.10.73 at a cost of £49,672

Director: Dr. P.R. Smith Faculty of Engineering, Computer Assisted Teaching Unit, Queen Mary
The project involved nuclear, mechanical and electrical engineering at QMC, mechanical engineering at Imperial College, and electrical engineering at University College London, using QMC's PDP ll/40 with 6 Tektronix 4010 and 6 teletype terminals, Imperial CoIlege's CDC 6400 (in batch mode), and UCL's IBM 360/65 with a Computek 300 terminal. The project focussed on the development of simulation packages, the determination of cost, and the transferability of packages.

DP 1/03 Computational Physics Teaching Laboratory.

Funded for 2 years from 1.10.73 at a cost of £21,425

Director: Prof. D. Jackson Dept. of Physics, University of Surrey, Guildford.

A Data General Nova 800 computer was used in a time-shared service to 11 terminals to provide a computational physics teaching laboratory for use as an integral part of the honours degree physics course at Surrey. Some physics tutorials took place within the laboratory, using packages developed by staff members. Students investigated a range of physics problems and experiments, using numerical approaches.

DP 1/04 Clinical Decision-Making

Funded for 14 months from 1.4.74 at a cost of £11,363.

Director: Dr. T.R. Taylor, The University of Glasgow, Dept. of Medicine.

The long-term objective of this work was to produce integrated courses in clinical diagnosis for fourth and fifth year clinical medicine and dental students, involving bedside teaching, computer assisted tutorials in small groups and individual learning at terminals. The computer simulated certain disease conditions, encourages the clinical student to think about his own decision-making process.

DP l/06 Computer Assisted Learning in Chemistry

Funded for 2 years from 1.4.74 at a cost of £64,750

Director: Dr. P.B. Ayscough Dept. of Physical Chemistry, The University of Leeds.

A co-operative of 8 institutions in higher education developed computer assisted learning materials for use in theoretical and experimental chemistry courses involving about 600 students. Two production teams of chemists and programmers were based at Leeds University and Sheffield Polytechnic respectively. They enabled students- on an individual basis- to study in a systematic manner the factors involved in the design of laboratory experiments and toevaluate the results of such experiments.

FS 1/01 Further Education Service Mathematics.

Funded for 16 months from 1.12.73 at a cost of £l2,515.

Director: D. Leach, Dean, Faculty of Science, Napier College of Commerce & Technology.

A suite of programs developed on the University of Edinburgh Regional Computing Centre's ICL 4-75 computer, to provide students with a mathematical and statistical laboratory. Pilot materials in FORTRAN IV for a variety of mathematical, statistical and numerical techniques for solving problems presented by the student.

FS 1/04 Computers in the Undergraduate Science Curriculum.

Director: Dr. I. McKenzie, University College London

Funded for 2 years from 1.1.74 at a cost of £67,861.

The main aim of this study was to investigate and develop methods and materials for using computers in undergraduate science education, in computation, simulation and to enrich teaching and learning. Physicists, biologists, chemists and educational technologists from 12 academic departments at University College, Chelsea College and Surrey University.

DP 2/02 Hertfordshire Computer Managed Mathematics.

Funded for 2 years from 1.10.73 at a cost of £50,368.

Director: Dr. W.Tagg, Advisory Unit for Computer Based Education

This was the development of a computer managed system for teaching mixed ability mathematics in the first two years of comprehensive schooling beginning with 650 pupils at 4 schools in Hertfordshire.

hertfordshire maths

Schematic Diagram of Batch Processing in Hertfordshire Maths

As Tagg (1977, p.236) points out, at this time mixed ability teaching was both the fashion of the time and the cause of many problems particularly for Mathematics with its hierarchical structure. Finding ways of providing a mixed ability group of students with individualised material was attractive. A new mathematics course was developed with the emphasis on individualised worksheets in addition to live teaching and the use of videotaped materials. The computer marked tests and prescribed which worksheets the child should undertake next.

The diagram here shows the significant logistics required to make this system work using the Hatfield Polytechnic Computer for remotely based schools. (Tagg, 1977, p.238)

By 1976-77 the project had grown to 12 secondary schools, 3000 students and 80 teachers in Hertfordshire together with two schools in London and one in Bolton.


Hooper R., 1975, Two years On, National Development Programme in Computer Aided Learning, Report of the Director, London: CET

Hooper R., 1977, An Introduction to the National Development Programme in Computer Assisted Learning, British Journal of Educational Technology, 8-3 p165-175.

Tagg, B, 1977, Computer Managed Learning in Herfordshire, British Journal of Educational Technology, 8-3 p235-241.