18th August 2021 Minutes

Minutes Informatics Board of Studies Meeting 14:00hrs-16:00hrs, Wednesday 18th August 2021, ONLINE BLACKBOARD COLLABORATE

Recorded via Blackboard Collaborate - Collaborate virtual classroom | MyEd Student and Staff Portal)

Present - Björn Franke (Convenor), Sharon Goldwater (Chair), Gregor Hall (Administrative Secretary), Pavlos Andreadis, Michele Ciampi, Stephen Gilmore, Paolo Guagliardo, Michael Herrmann, Michio Honda, David Laurenson, Oisin Mac Aodha, Fiona McNeill, Milos Nikolic, Björn Ross, Amir Shaikhha, David Sterratt, Hao Tang, Steve Tonneau, Alexandra Welsh, Chris Williams.

Apologies received:  Iain Murray, Raul Garcia-Patron Sanchez, Arno Onken, James Kirby (PPLS), Heather Yorston.


Actions from previous meeting(s):

17022021_BoS Item 4.1: "Decolonising the curriculum" Forms for BoS approval (Vijay Nagarajan)

ACTION: Vijay (VN) to produce and share with the Committee in due course a summary report on activities and outcomes of the Working Group.

OUTCOME: Complete, Vijay produced the following report

ACTION: Sharon (SG) to update the BoS Course Proposal form as suggested in the proposal.

OUTCOME: Complete

NEW ACTION: Sharon to double-check link from webpages.


20012021_BoS Item 7:  For Information:  Approval of UNISTATS Learning, Teaching & Assessment Data, and Programme Accreditation Data (Vicky M/Sharon G)

ACTION: Vicky (VM) to discuss the process with Sharon (SG) upon receipt of the update

OUTCOME: Ongoing - still awaiting update from Student Analytics Team.


20012021_BoS Item 5:  New EPCC DL Course Proposals and DPT Edit (Ben Morse)

ACTION: BM to arrange for the necessary adjustments to DPTs.

OUTCOME: Complete - these courses have been set up in EUCLID/DRPS.


17022021_BoS Item 1: Closure of MSc Informatics (Vicky MacTaggart)

ACTION: approved by BoS and College - ISS to close the program.

OUTCOME: Complete.


17022021_BoS Item 6: Updates to MSc Cybersecurity and Privacy DPT (Ben Morse, Myrto Arapinis)

ACTION 1:  Ben (BM) to share details of the waiting list with Myrto (MA) and Bjoern (BF).

OUTCOME: No conclusion on waiting list issue.

NEW ACTION: Bjorn to take forward.

ACTION 2: Myrto (MA) to share her suggestions with Bjoern (BF) on which specific courses the mutual access agreement could be sought.

OUTCOME: Complete - Surveillance and Security (LAWS11231), Cybercrime and Cyber Security (LAWS11396), and International Security (PGSP11162)

ACTION 3: Myrto (MA) to confirm with COs and ISS which courses can be moved to S1 to better balance the timetable.

OUTCOME: Current balance agreed in March – to be reviewed for 2022-23.


24032021_BoS Item 5: A preliminary proposal for restructuring the Minf (Sharon Goldwater)

ACTION:  Sharon (SG) to provide Committee with a full/updated proposal in future BoS meeting.

OUTCOME: ongoing.


Minutes of Previous Meeting 

Draft minutes of virtual Board of Studies - discussions on changes to course assessment changes were held online.


Matters Arising

Agenda for today

Item 1) Proposal for re-organisation of Hons/MSc Introductory Machine Learning curriculum (IAML splitting into two new courses) - Oisin Mac Aodha (Item 1), Chris Williams (Item 1a)

Oisin (OM) and Chris (CW) introduced the rationale - with over 500 students last year, it was decided that splitting the course into undergraduate and Masters courses would allow the courses to be redesigned to cater more specifically for the students, and make it more pleasant by reducing the class size. The UG version could take account of the Maths course experience of undergrad students, whilst the PG version caters for the more diverse backgrounds of Masters students. The Convenor (BF) asked about whether the different levels (UG Level 10, PG Level 11) would cause confusion to outsiders; OM replied that the courses would have overlapping content but different focus. CW mentioned that the Level 11 course would have additional material, with work being more open ended. Michael Herrmann (MH) asked about the quandary of students choosing between IAML, AML and MLPR, to which CW replied that this would be a prohibited combination for UG students (and IAML would be defunct). OM and CW agreed that suitable guidance would have to be provided to Masters students (who will get the choice), for instance in the opening lectures, and such guidance should be made available to Personal Tutors in good time. It was pointed out that deep learning is currently a popular topic so the relevance this course has to deep learning should be made very clear to avoid any confusion. Stephen Gilmore (SG) inquired about the required pre-requisite courses in MLG, where the proposal states “Similar maths courses can be substituted” as he was concerned about CS & Physics students being able to take the course. The Convenor asked if PATH should be hard coded to deal with such students choices automatically – Sharon agreed to look at this. The Chair also posed the question – do we want to permit students who are not primarily SOI to take this course, as it is likely to be a large class anyway? The chair and proposer also agreed to look into potential pitfalls of allowing Joint Degree students to take the course.

ACTION: investigate setup of this course in PATH with regard to prerequisites. (Sharon Goldwater)

ACTION: check suitability of Joint Degree students. (Chris Williams / Sharon Goldwater)

ACTION: Item 1 approved, Item 1a approved conditional on sorting out prerequisites.

ACTION: ISS to create the courses once fully approved (but not until Feb 2022, to avoid confusion by students registering for courses in 21/22).


Item 2) Approval of updated Degree Programme Specifications for single honours Informatics degrees - Sharon Goldwater & Björn Franke

A DPS summarises the relevant details of a programme and the skills and abilities a graduate can expect to develop, and is available on DRPS. The chair described the update of DPS’s which occurred through work on BCS accreditation for the BEng in Computer Science Programme; the existing DPS’s had not been updated in several years. Most of the DPS are similar, with generic outcomes, technical and transferrable skills; they ultimately describe what students get out of a degree.

Pavlos Andreadis (PA) asked whether any learning outcomes were conditional on course selection. Sharon explained that a DPS is intentionally written to not depend on course selection within the programme; for example a student should possess an in-depth knowledge of a subject, but not an in-depth knowledge of a particular subject. The Convenor stated that this update tried to avoid specifics to allow us to retain the flexibility that students value. PA brought up the usefulness of the DPS in summarising what graduates of a degree can bring to potential employers, and asked if this could be augmented at some point (or automated); Sharon replied that the learning outcomes in course descriptors should really do this, and course organisers should be encouraged to look at their course descriptors carefully. Bjorn mentioned that over-detailing a course descriptor can be detrimental (for example in specifically mentioning Hadoop) as languages/tools change over time. ITEM APPROVED.

ACTION: ISS to update DRPS.


AOCB (Any Other Current Business)  

No other current business.