Professor Peter Millican

Peter Millican is Gilbert Ryle Fellow and Professor of Philosophy at Hertford College, Oxford University, and a keen advocate of computing and ICT education. Recently he conceived a new degree programme in Computer Science and Philosophy (the first new philosophy programme at Oxford since 1973), which starts this year. Until 2005, Peter was Senior Lecturer in Computing and Philosophy at Leeds University, where his teaching focused on attracting non-specialists – especially from the humanities – into computing. He built up the largest and most varied programme of university ICT modules in the UK, with 1500 registrations per year and 25 taught components ranging from office software, programming, web design, graphics, research skills and the use of electronic texts, through to language software, textual analysis, and a range of broader issues (legal, moral, philosophical, and political). Several of these were based on software systems designed to introduce fundamental computing concepts through fun and self-taught discovery, which he believes provides a promising way of addressing some of the challenges potentially arising from Michael Gove’s ICT curriculum consultation. Encouraged to experiment within a limited but fruitful domain, students can gain from self-directed learning, while teachers can guide them without having to be computer science experts.