2 November 2016 Minutes

Meeting minutes from the Informatics Board of Studies meeting held at 2.00pm, Wednesday 2nd November 2016, 4.31/33, Informatics Forum

Present: B Franke (Convenor), A Smaill (Academic Secretary), I. Murray, J. Kirby, J. Bradfield, M. Rovatsos, F. Keller, B. Fisher, P. Petras, S. Vijayakumar, B. Webb, T. Hospedales, Z. Li, S. Tomlinson, F. Papadogeorgopoulos (Class Rep), G .Bell, V. Swann (secretary).


1. Apologies: H. Thompson,  S. Renals, J. Cheney, P. Stevens, M. Cryan, D. K. Arvind, P. Anderson, I. Stark

B. Franke opened the Board of Studies, welcoming all Board Members.


2. Minutes of the previous meeting

Item 22: Action: Confirm progress on the Security and Privacy working group (D. Aspinall)

AOCB A: Action: Marking Guidelines for IRP must be tabled at next Board of Studies (M. Van Rossum)

AOCB B: Action: Confirm progress on the BSc Computer Science and Economics Degree (K. Etessami)

All completed actions are recorded in the minutes, relevant updates have been recorded. 


3.  Matter Arising

Nothing further reported.


4.  Update to our 'with Management' DPTs - I. Murray

An optional Management course currently listed on all our 'with Management' degrees is no longer running.  It was proposed that this be replaced by a Business School course which has a similar mission.  The course organiser has been consulted and is happy with this suggestion.

Outcome: Approved.

Action: Update the relevant DPTs for 2017/18 (ITO)


5. Adjustment of Honours hurdle for BSc Computer Science and Mathematics - J. Bradfield

Maths has now removed the elevated hurdle from their single Honours Maths degree with effect from 2015/16.  It was proposed that the Maths hurdle should therefore be removed from the joint degree with immediate effect.  It was suggested that students on the Computer Science and Maths degree should require a higher hurdle in at least one Maths course to roughly match what is asked of our students on other Informatics Degrees.  However it was felt that asking joint students to meet a higher Maths hurdle than Maths-only students was not appropriate and would add complexity. 

Furthermore, it was highlighted that hurdles might be difficult to apply in Euclid once we move to the automatic progression tool.

Outcome: Approved

Action: Remove information about hurdle from the relevant DPTs (ITO)


6. Minimum Credits for the SE UG4 collection in the Software Engineering DPT - B. Franke

There are now a larger number of Software Engineering courses available to fourth year students, and as a result it was proposed that the minimum credits in the SE collection be increased in line with similar collections for Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence degrees.  It was argued that perhaps the minimum subject requirement should be removed from all degrees, however the majority felt that retaining the minimum credits for each subject area maintained differentiation between degree programmes.  It was noted that students can request a concession to break this DPT requirement. 

An increase to minimum 20 credits was agreed.

Outcome: Approved.

Action: Update the relevant collection for 2017/18 (ITO)


7. KIS Data Approval - B. Franke

Key Information Set Learning, Teaching and Assessment Course Information and the Degree Programme Accreditation Information needs to be approved annually by Boards of Studies and the approval recorded in the minutes.

It was suggested that it might be beneficial for someone to undertake a comparison to key competitors.  However, it was felt that this is a marketing rather than data quality consideration and would be more appropriate for Recruitment Committee.

Outcome: Approved


8. Course Proposal:  The Internet of Things - P. Patras

A new course entitled 'The Internet of Things' was proposed to replace the current Embedded Systems course (see attached proposal).  However, a response was received to argue that the material proposed is already covered in the System Level Integration Practical (see attached response).

In light of this response, the proposer has decided to withdraw the proposal and seek further feedback before deciding whether to proceed. 

However, it was argued that the current overlap identified also relates to the existing Embedded Systems coures which has not caused an issue up to now.  In additon, SLIP is limited to a handful of students and it was felt the topic would be of interest to a wider cohort of students.  It was suggested that the proposed workload pattern might be too demanding for one course so there may be room for two courses with a slightly different but complementary focus. 

Outcome: Proposal on hold subject to further consultation.

Action: Consultation with relevant staff members (P. Patras)


9. Course Proposal: Introduction to Java Programming: Distance Learning - B. Fisher

A distance learning version of the current IJP course was proposed.  This course is assessed by coursework-only and includes only two introductory lectures at the start of the course.  Most interaction is via supervised tutorials and there is a busy student forum on Piazza.  If approved, this course will form part of the PG certificate in Informatics for Distance Learning, though it could also be taken as stand alone.

There was concern over the potential for misconduct as it would be more difficult to ensure the students were submitting their own work without an exam component.  It was argued that this is also the case for the current IJP course and that turnitin or equivalent suitable for Java is used.  In addition, all students recieve an individual interview by the lecturer/marker to demonstrate the code in operation and answer relevant questions.  It was highlighted that the added potential for impersonation, which is less likely for home students, should be taken into consideration.  Perhaps an identity check, similar to that used in distance exams, could be part of the interview. 

Outcome: The issue of plagiarism should be discussed further before the full proposal is brought back to the Board of Studies. (Action: B. Fisher)


10. Course Proposal: Agent Based Systems: Distance Learning - B. Fisher

A distance learning version of ABS has been proposed and is expected to form part of the PGCert in Informatics by Distance Learning degree.  The details of the proposal are set out in the attached document.

It was highlighted that the lecturer may be required to set multiple exams if they need to be sat in vastly different timezones.  A concern was raised over the additional resource implication including time invested by the lecturer.  However, it was argued that the lecturer intends to develop the course for residential students in any case rather than specifically to account for distance learning students.  The issue of a future lecturer being constrained by the inverted classroom format should also be taken into account, as is the current situation with Introduction to Vision and Robotics.  It would be valuable to seek feedback from students about their experience of a flipped classroom. 

The additional impact on the ITO and the Exam Boards should also be considered and that if a specific MSc programme was developed then admin resources could be specifically allocated and funded to support this. 

Outcome: Approved. 

Action: Submit changes on Euclid (ITO) Action: Invite further discussion offline to review the resource implications (M. Rovatsos)


11. AOCB

a) IPAB teaching draft propsal

A draft proposal for changes to the teaching of IPAB did not meet the deadline for items.  B. Webb wishes to circulate the proposal to gather feedback before a full propsal is submitted at the next Board of Studies.


b) Robot Learning Science and Systems Feedback was sought on the possibility for expanding RLSC from a 10 credit to a 20 credit course to investigate existing topics in more depth and to include newer Maching Learning techniques.


c) Workload model to be applied to UG4 courses Last session all UG3 courses were considered in relation to the workload model and as a result some courses moved to 20 credits while others remained 10 credits but reduced the coursework requirement.  It was proposed that two working groups would be set up to look at this workload model in relation to UG4 and MSc courses.  It was highlighted that students should be included in the working group.

Action: Set up a working group to evaluate UG4/MSc courses (B. Franke)