Elements of Programming Languages (EPL)

Response to 2015/16 survey feedback.


We have taken note of the feedback from students in this course survey, and have the following comments in response.

  • As some responses already mention, 2015-2016 was the first time this course was taught. It is great to see that many students enjoyed the course, and it was a real (and unexpected) honor that the course was nominated for Best Course in the EUSA teaching awards in its first year. However, not everything went smoothly, which is probably inevitable for a new course. In addition, the unavailability of feedback from previous runs of the course meant that some students' expectations for the course were not met.
  • The numerical feedback scores suggest that learning objectives and marking criteria could have been more clearly defined and we will take this into account in future iterations.
  • As noted by several responses, there were a number of (mostly minor) problems with the assignments, resulting in several updates, sometimes only a few days before the deadline. On the other hand, the assignments were also cited by the award nomination as one of the high points of the course. We expect that the assignments will be more stable in future editions but note that the credit-bearing ones cannot be reused year after year and it is not always possible to anticipate all problems.
  • Some responses also expressed concern about the relative weighting of the assignments (or of different parts of the same assignment). We will take this experience from 2015-6 into account. In 2016-7 there is only one for-credit assignment.

James Cheney, September 2016