16 January 2019 Minutes

Meeting minutes of the fourth Board of Studies meeting for 2018/19 held at 2pm on Wednesday, 16th January 2019 in Informatics Forum, Rooms - 5.42.


Present - Stuart Anderson (Convenor),  Alexandra Welsh (Administrative Secretary), Vicky Mactaggart, Paul Anderson, Paul Jackson, Gill Bel, Alan Smaill (Academic Secretary), Heng Guo (UGAO), He Sun.

Convenor gave apologies from: Sharon Goldwater, Jane Hillston, Michael Herrmann, Don Sannella,  Alex Lascarides, Qais Patankar – UG3, Martin Grigonis – UG4.

Minutes of Previous Meeting  - 05 December 2018

Matters Arising

It was noted that the minutes from 05 December 2018 were still outstanding due to time constraints. The Board of Studies Convenor went through some outstanding items from the Board of Studies meetings that took place on -


03 October 2018

Item 1) has been done.

Item 4) Funding is to be found.

Item 10) has been submitted. To be put on EUCLID by Admin.

Item 11) MSc DPT is ongoing. It was noted that this is needed ASAP.

Item 12) has been done.

Item 13) has been done.


11 November 2018.

Item 1) was noted as outstanding with Boris and Sharon.

Item2) Paperwork is awaiting College approval before recruitment can commence. This item is sitting with Treasury. There has been a delay with the AI stream, however Robotics and ScaLe have been approved. It was noted that there are a further 3x outstanding for approval; Nat.Language, Data Science and Bio-AI and if those three were approved, it could cause headaches regarding resources. It was confirmed that programmes can only be advertised once there is an agreement in place for funding. A compressed timescale would look like this; Stage 1 Proposal (with approved funding), then Advertise, then Stage 2 Proposal, then added to EUCLID and students can be recruited against the programme code.

Item 3) this is a working project. Sharon is to give Alex some notes.

AOCB Item 1) there is no Stage 2 for CDT in CS as they failed to get funding.

AOCB Item 2) working item.

AOCB Item 3) Sharon Goldwater has met with the EPCC.



1) New Programme Proposal MSc Business Informatics - Tiejun Ma & Stuart Anderson

This item is to be rescheduled for the next Board of Studies meeting, at the Convenor’s request, as it was not ready to be presented today.

ACTION: Come back to next Board of Studies meeting.


2) New Programme Proposal CDT_PhD with Integrated Study in Lightweight Verification _Phil Wadler

Paul Jackson presented this item on the proposer’s behalf as Phil Wadler is travelling. It was noted that this item is similar to the last proposal, however the proposer was asked to reconsider the issue of escape routes at the last meeting. Paul is unsure what Kevin and Phil talked about in order to rectify this. The programme has no requirement for a thesis in the 1st year. Stuart Anderson advised that the regulations need to be looked at as a dissertation worth 60 credits needs to be done. Paul asked if all students =need to do a dissertation by default or if the set up could be 1+3 as an integrated programme?

Stuart advised that at the last meeting, the Robotics programme was approved with escape routes and that Phil should consider something similar. There is a need to eliminate the vagueness from the proposal. The proposal states that by doing the programme the students would get an MSc, but how? The stage 1 proposal needs a final DPT with and clear plan. It was discussed that if the dissertation is used as a fail route then accessing 2/3 of the course might be an issue - the exit might happen quite late. It was discussed that it would not be fair to the students to have them do a year of work with no credits, especially if they want to exit without having failed. It was discussed that the students were more likely to leave than fail. A PhD candidate should be quite capable, if they are recruited.

Paul talked about the programme being pass/fail integrated study in the first year, however Stuart cautioned that there is strong prejudice against pass/fail in the regulations – there would need to be a strong case for pass/fail courses. It was suggested that the programme could look at grade boundaries on courses. Gill suggested Regulation 50 – MSc by Research with thesis only. Stuart mentioned Regulation 48 - Examination Requirements; over 60 credits is more arduous.

Stuart stressed the need for the exit route to be looked at as it is needed for the College approval board coming up. Funding has already been approved for this programme and they have started recruiting to this programme already. The embargo date is 04 February 2019.

It was suggested that the proposer study the RAS programme that has been approved and sharpen the description text. If the issues with this proposal are fixed, Stuart could approve it using the Convenor’s action and take the proposal to the College Approval Board.

It was noted that a rival institution, Imperial College, has a similar programme already on their books.

OUTCOME: Approved, pending acceptable exit route (see RAS programme proposal) and changes to description text.

ACTION: Stuart Anderson will investigate if a separate MScR is required and feed back to proposer.

ACTION: Proposal to be approved by Convenor’s action and presented at CCAB.


3) New Course Proposal - An introduction to practical programming with objects (IPPO) - Paul Anderson

This course would be a new version of IJP. Paul explained that the title of the IJP course is a little misleading. Paul also wants t change the level of the course to better reflect what it being taught on the course. Paul explained that his vision is to effectively clone IJP with the exception of the course name and level. This course would be good for students to consolidate skills. This course would be assessed by course work only.

It was noted that the IJP course would move from level 9 to level 11 to highlight it being an MSc course. There would be realistic aspirations of projects and practical problems. It was noted that as the course would be changing from a level 9 to a level 11 course that the learning outcomes would need to change to reflect that change.

This course also has 18 Distance Learning Students.

OUTCOME: Approved, pending changes.

ACTION: Paul to review Learning Outcomes and reword to fit new level. Also look at Course Description and any missing fields from the IJP course that need completed for the new course.

ACTION: Admin to create on EUCLID once new proposal has been submitted with changes.


4) Course Changes - Differentiating Titles of On-Campus versions of Distance Learning Courses - Sharon Goldwater (Presented by Paul Anderson)

 Paul advised that this item came about as there has been a lot of confusion around the on campus versions of course with the same titles as the Distance Learning ones as there is no clear way of defining which is which, unless you open each DRPS course page.

The Distance Learning courses used to have the ‘Distance Learning’ in parentheses in the title, however the University stated that there could be no difference in the course titles. Stuart Anderson feels that Sharon has correctly identified the problem, however he is not sure that the proposed solution is the correct course of action.  

Different solutions were discussed such as generating a new kind of code for the Distance Learning courses or new collection that is only for Distance Learning courses. It was discussed that a new course collection would not stop the Distance Learning courses accidentally being chosen from the course schedules. It was agreed that the committee needs to investigate.

ACTION: Stuart Anderson, Sharon Goldwater, Vicky Mactaggart and Gill Bell need to meet to discuss solutions, then potentially bring back to the Board of Studies.


AOCB (Any Other Current Business)  

AOCB1) Proposed Course Change - Close VV1 instances on courses – Gill Bell

Gill advised courses that have a VV1 instances are quite resource intensive.  VV1 instances cater for part year visiting students with an exam for them set in December (S1), whilst the rest of the cohort is examined in April/May (S2). Getting rid of the V1 instance and closing the course to full year visiting students would affect 7x courses.

Gill has discussed this proposal with Neil Heatley and Edinburgh Global and they are all in agreement. College Admissions will tell partner bodies as February visiting students come to explore. It was discussed that the VUG students are very good and that there is a need to diversify and have a resilient intake. It was clarified that this item was not reflective of the calibre of students, but about managing resources.

OUTCOME: Approved.

ACTION: Gill to send Alex a copy of the proposal for the minutes.

ACTION: Admin to remove all VV1 instances for 2019/20 courses and not roll over any existing VV1 instances in 2019/20.