18 July 2018 Minutes

Meeting minutes from the ad-hoc Summer Informatics Board of Studies meeting held at 2.30pm on Wednesday, 18th July 2018 in Informatics Forum, Room 1.15

Present - Toby Bailley (DoT Mathematics), Vicky Mactaggart, Stuart Anderson, Stephen Gilmore, Pavlos Andreadis, Helen New, Alexandra Welsh.


Apologies - Chair welcomed members and gave apologies from Jane Hillston, Sharon Goldwater, and Iain Murray who have all submitted comments.


Minutes of Previous Meeting - These minutes were taken as read and a true account of the meeting.


Matters Arising – There were no matters arising.


Item 1) New Proposed Programme - BSc Data Science (Graduate-Level Apprenticeship) - Tony Venus, Helen New & Stuart Anderson

Stuart Anderson advised that Iain Murray, Jane Hillston, Sharon Goldwater have all read and are in support of the proposals being presented today, with all three submitting comments for consideration by the board as the meeting was called at short notice. 

The University Of Edinburgh School Of Informatics and the School of Mathematics have been looking at creating a joint Computer Science and Maths degree. This would be a Graduate Level Apprenticeship delivered in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The introduction of this programme has been planned as part of the City Deal agreement with the Scottish Government. Both the University and the Scottish Government are keen to get something on the books for 2018/19 and aim to commence recruits in September 2018. Initially students will be recruited onto the joint Computer Science and Mathematics (BSc Hons) and transferred after one year. It is expected that the programme will be finalised over the next year, with subsequent years all having established courses in the DPT. The normal programme would be taking admissions in 2020.

Stuart clarified that the proposal is comprised of two different course parts, here after referred to as Part A and Part B, with the Part B proposal including comments from PwC. In Part A, there are 2x Professional Practice Courses, 10 weeks long conducted over the summer of Years 1 & 2. In Part B of the programme, students undertake an eight month Professional Practice period in Year 3 over semester 2 and the summer with additional work activities set by the employer (PwC). Tony Venus has been consulting with the employer and has been developing the work place programme.

It was noted that the cost part of the Stage 1 proposal has been left empty in parts as the programme is experimental.

Stuart Anderson referred to a new document he presented to the group, here after referred to as Part C, which identifies the structure of the Degree Programme Table. This copy will be sent out electronically by Stuart Anderson. The Board was asked to refer to the Programme Structure and Features overview on page 5 of the New Data Science Degree Programmes Stage 2 - B (V3 TV) document, which shows the programme structure and highlights the only new courses that need to be developed (Professional Practice A and Professional Practice B). Both are Data Science Work Based Learning courses that will be undertaken in the workplace.


Item 2) New Proposed Course - Work-based Professional Practice A in Data Analytics - Tony Venus

Item 3) New Proposed Course - Work-based Professional Practice B in Data Science - Tony Venus

Stephen Gilmore queried if the 2x Professional Practice A titles that appear in both Years 1 and 2 were the same, however Stuart and Tony clarified that they are about the same 10 week work based course, delivered in summer of Years 1 & 2, which is then submitted for assessment at the beginning of 3rd year. The students would also need to keep a professional diary and have student lead invigilation. A PwC portfolio constructed over the summer would count towards credits.

The programme also offers students an exit if they don't like it, providing they are pre-honours (Years1 & 2). In 3rd year, students undertake an 8 month work based course and be trained in the way the employer (PwC in this case) does business. The University of Edinburgh try to work with external companies, however don't want to be tied to a single one. It was discussed that PwC apprentices would be charged out from 3rd year. Students would learn about understanding concepts in Year 1 and then move to client facing work in Year 2. There would be a reflective report collated over the summer (Professional Practice A).

Helen New advised that these are SLICC based courses and have to align with SLICC Graduate Attributes. SLICC courses are assessed via three key components; a self-reflective report, an agreed portfolio of outputs and a formative self-assessment. PwC are looking at similar reflections in the company system. It was queried whether the reports would be company specific, however Helen clarified that there wouldn’t be a big divergence from SLICC, and that reports could be broadened after PwC experience. In was confirmed that there would be formal criteria for reports, portfolios, etc. and that the PCDR structure would be followed. Once the work or task has been completed a record would need to be kept in the student’s portfolio as evidence to demonstrate experience and how they applied it in practice.

It was discussed that students would also have professional mentors as well as personal tutors. The School of Informatics has also hired a University Teacher to help co-ordinate this programme.

Stuart advised that the University expects 6-8 students to be on the programme this year as there are 21 applicants across both St. Andrews and the University of Edinburgh. Pavlos questioned what the criteria for selection was. Helen advised that there was an assessment Centre which reviewed applicants. It was discussed that part of the criteria was whether or not the applicant could be client facing in 2 years, however it is also about the process, with the academic aspect dealt with by the University of Edinburgh. Helen reassured the Board members that students who were not selected by the employer (PwC) would still hold a University of Edinburgh offer.

There was a discussion regarding the differences between the student’s conduct when they are on the University of Edinburgh campus and the code of the employer (PwC) when they are with them. Stuart clarified that legal has been included in the discussions and that an agreement had been met regarding suspected academic misconduct and how it is reported.

Stuart commented that Graduate Apprenticeships have previously been undertaken by other universities some time ago, but failed as they either didn’t get industry sponsors or the right student intake. This programme would need a cohort of 100 students to evidence staff resourcing. It was noted that St. Andrew's University have their 3rd year run for a year which might not work very well. It is envisaged that the students would do the coursework in groups together in the same way Machine Learning Practical groups are formed in the 1st year and then students diverge in the 2nd.

Stuart advised that part of the objective of the Scottish Government’s City Deal, across Scotland, is to train 10,000 students per year, over the next 10 years (100,000), so this needs to be done in partnership with external firms. It was noted that Aviva is becoming involved with the University around Data Science and wants to access this, so the University is looking at Prime companies to interact with in order to fit into the work streams of the City Deal (which runs from Dundee to the Borders). It is anticipated that growth will come as the University makes new deals with companies, however they would not be tied to just one. Tony advised that they are not short of numbers - 600 students in 1st year Maths course. It was agreed that this programme would need to limit numbers.

It was discussed that the University is trying to future proof itself with Informatics and Mathematics as these two schools where the number of students is not an issue. If the programme is successful, PwC may wish to expand. Concerns were raised regarding resourcing and ITO admin as experience shows that that more would be required.

Stephen Gilmore raised his concerns regarding Informatics 1 - Data and Analysis (INFR08015) as he doesn’t feel it would be a good idea for the course to be dropped half way through. Stuart reassured that the title of the course might change but that the topics would remain.

PwC want a fixed programme with suggestions of what courses might be done in Semester1. It was agreed that students would be afforded some course options. Stephen Gilmore was concerned regarding the course levels being proposed as you cannot do level 9 courses in year 1; courses should be level 7 or 8. Stephen also voiced his concerns regarding the construction of Professional Practice course. It was discussed that students will gain experience when they are not at the University of Edinburgh with a credit assessed reflective project in 3rd year.

Stuart advised that the CL&T Committee didn’t have an issue with the programme or courses being proposed. Students will end up with level 9 courses in Year 3. Both Toby and Stephen reported that they were not happy with the level 11, year 4 courses that appear in both schools.

There was a discussion around whether students would be aware of the requirements and the expectations of the programme. Students would be aware as they sign a contract with PwC.

The board members were asked to consider the DPT for Chemical Engineering with Management (MEng Hons) (UTCHEMM) – Year 5 and whether the Professional Practice course could be worded similarly as it is hard to satisfy both the employer as well as academic standards.

It was agreed that the assessment should be changed to ask students to submit a draft at the start of semester 1 of Year 3 and submit the level 9 reflective report in semester 2. PPA submission date moved to the end of January and draft engaged during semester 1. This means students are not asked to do level 9 work prior to year 3.

Stephen Gilmore suggested to remove Informatics 2D - Reasoning and Agents (INFR08010) as an option in year 2, Semester 2 as he would much prefer students all did Fundamentals of Pure Mathematics (MATH08064). Toby was also happy to remove choices to make the programme more prescriptive in years 1 & 2, but would prefer to keep Informatics 2D - Reasoning and Agents (INFR08010) and remove Fundamentals of Pure Mathematics (MATH08064).

Stuart advised that he has reviewed the DPT for the Computer Science and Mathematics (BSc Hons) degree and concluded that the programme being proposed needs to have the exact same rates for this DPT in case they want to transfer. Stephen advised that if students take Informatics 2D - Reasoning and Agents (INFR08010) they won’t be able to transfer, but if they took Fundamentals of Pure Mathematics (MATH08064) they could. Toby questioned if the transfer issue might be resolved using course concessions? Toby advised that Maths may combine Semester 1 Probability (MATH08066) with Semester 2 Statistics (Year 2) (MATH08051) in future.

There was a discussion around the various pre-requisites for future courses but all agreed that Fundamentals of Pure Mathematics (MATH08064) course was not actually needed, so could be deleted from the course options/ DPT and make Informatics 2D - Reasoning and Agents (INFR08010) compulsory.

The board also agreed to delete Facets of Mathematics (MATH08068) in semester 1 and make Informatics 2C - Introduction to Software Engineering (INFR08019) compulsory.

OUTCOME – Proposed programme and courses approved – pending amendments by Stuart Anderson.

ACTION: Stuart Anderson to circulate Part C; Structure of the Degree Programme Table for BSc Data Science (Graduate-Level Apprenticeship).

ACTION – Stuart Anderson to tidy up DPT and course proposals and send to Alexandra Welsh, after the amended versions have been run by Toby Bailley Stephen Gilmore, Pavlos Andreadis and Helen New via email.

ACTION – Toby Bailley needs to ensure the students have enough statistics to cope with year 4 and stats in a Data Analysis degree.

ACTION –Vicky Mactaggart to come up with DPT suggestions tonight and inform Stuart Anderson.

Stephen suggested to add Maths course; Fundamentals of Algebra and Calculus (MATH07003) to Stuart Anderson’s proposed DPT document point 1.2.1, which as agreed by all the board members present.

ACTION – Stuart Anderson will send updated documents either tonight (18/07/2018) or tomorrow (19/07/2018).

ACTION – Vicky Mactaggart to create courses and send College programme form.

UPDATE: VM sent programme code request form to College 21/09/18.

UPDATE: x2 courses and DPT structure still to be agreed and set up on EUCLID as of 25/10/18.


AOCB (Any Other Current Business) 

There was no other current business.