20 January 2016 Minutes

Minutes from the Informatics Board of Studies meeting, 2.00pm Wednesday 20 January 2015, 1.B10, Foresthill.


Present: B Franke (Convenor), A Smaill (Academic Secretary), J Bradfield, C Dubach, J Fleuriot, N Goddard, S Goldwater, C Heunen, F Keller, A Lascarides, N Nardelli (Student Rep), P Patras, M Rovastos, A Storkey, J Thompson (Engineering), B Webb.

1. Apologies: P Anderson, J Moore, A Rajan, S Renals, D Sanella, P Stevens, P Wadler.

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


2. Minutes of the previous meeting

  The minutes of the previous meeting were accepted as a true record. All completed actions are recorded in the minutes, relevant updates have been recorded. 


3. Matter Arising

  Nothing further reported.


4. Course Proposal: Categories and Quantum Informatics – C. Heunen (Proposal).

 C. Heunen proposed the new Level 11 (Year 4) course, which is designed to fill a hole in the current curriculum. There will be approximately 5 – 10 students, and there should be no additional resources required as a small class could be taught by the Lecturer only.

Staff commented that it would need to be run in Semester 2 for MSc students to complete the pre-requisites in Semester 1.


Outcome: Approved.

Action: Submit full course proposal to next BoS (C. Heunen).


5. Course Proposal: Automated Reasoning (full proposal) – J. Fleuriot (Proposal).

  J. Fleuriot gave a summary of the course, which was provisionally approved at the last BoS.  This course will include formative feedback through tutorials, and one piece of assessed work for the course mark. There will be a cap of 50 students. The course will be Level 9, Year 3.


Outcome: Approved.

Action: Submit to EUCLID (I.T.O.).


6. For Discussion: Restructuring of 3rd Year – B. Franke (Proposal).

 B. Franke explained that a Working Group has been looking at student satisfaction and feedback: a number of issues came from the N.S.S. and meetings with Student Reps, which coincide with changes that College is planning. Students currently choose from a range of 10 credits in Informatics (excluding some 20 credit projects) and take all their exams at the end of the academic year, compared to the majority of Schools in the College who mostly run 20 credit courses and hold exams at the end of the Semester the course was taught in.

Arguments against these changes will be considered by College, but B. Franke advised that the change to 20 credit courses, and exams, has been approved by College and is strongly supported at higher levels of the University.


M. Rovastos introduced the working group’s two options for changing 3rd Year:

1. Convert all standard Year 3 courses to 20 credits.

2. Run 20 credit Foundation courses in Semester 1, and specialised 10 credit courses in Semester 2.

Both options would reduce the number of courses students take – resulting in less individual course work submissions and more time to study for each course, but a narrower range of subject areas being covered.


Some staff expressed concern that the content of courses would not be sufficient for 20 credits, and less breadth of subjects within degrees would hinder students’ further study or career opportunities. Changing courses to 20 credits would restrict the choices available to MSc students, and some courses must stay in Semester 1 as they are pre-requisites for Semester 2 courses.

Other members of BoS highlighted the benefit to Large Practicals, increasing the credits for these courses would encourage students to work hard on meaningful projects, drawing in the knowledge they have accumulated so far.

B. Franke highlighted the option of bringing 10 credit courses together, and that the School offers the MInf degree with an extra years study.


Outcome: The meeting expressed a preference for Option 2, further documents to be submitted at next BoS.

Action: Provide data on student course choices and changes for previous years at next BoS (J. Bradfield)

Approach lecturers for courses paired in the proposal document, and any other possible matches (B. Franke).

Call for other suggested course pairings (B. Franke).


7. For Approval: 15/16 KIS LT&A Data and Programme Accreditation Data - K. Hardman (Document 1-3).

BoS approved the updated information.


Outcome: Approved.

Action: N/A


8. For Information: Proposed Changes to Computer Science/Electronics Programmes – J. Thompson (Proposal).

There are currently four different degree programmes run between Engineering (owns three) and Informatics (owns one). This has led to problems with accreditation with I.E.T for Engineering and B.C.S. for Informatics.

Engineering proposes to offer a single degree – Electronics Computer Science (BEng/MEng) which would be run from that School. Students would be able to select from the same set of courses on offer in the current degrees, but would have accreditation from I.E.T with the possibility of gaining B.C.S. in the future.

This proposal has been passed by the Engineering BoS.


Outcome: Agreed.

Action: No further intakes for Informatics programme Computer Science and Electronics (BEng) after 2016/17 admissions