TC Agenda 11th September 2019

Teaching Committee Agenda


19.67: Apologies for absence: Paul Patras, Jane Hillston, Helen Pain, Heather Yorston, Alex Burford, Steve Tonneau, Philip Wadler, Michael Mistry, Christophe Dubach, Ram Ramamoorthy, Ian Simpson, Paul Anderson, John Lee, Aurora Constantin, Myrto Arapinis, Alex Lascarides, Michael Fourman, Kami Vaniea


19.68: Minutes of Previous Meetings


19.69: Matters Arising


19.27: Exam Marking Policy

Minutes from 10 April 2019:

“The proposal is to set a policy that governs who can mark exam scripts, and where they can be marked. The DOLT’s initial take on the subject was:

  • If the academic who set the paper is going to mark it then they can take it out of the building provided they take full responsibility for any loss.
  • Otherwise the academic who set the paper is responsible for the security of the papers and to assist with this we require all marking to take place in the Forum or AT.

One member of staff asked whether staff should be allowed to take papers out of Edinburgh, as papers have been lost in the past during travel.

Another pointed out the need to define exactly who markers are in the policy, considering that PhDs mark papers”

OUTSTANDING ACTION: Revise policy – In Progress – Stuart Anderson


19.56 Alteration of all Exam Rubrics

The Teaching Committee discussed that there is no standardised rubric for open book exams.  Those whom have written open book exams in the past have had differing options of what students are able to bring to the exam – examples: 1xA4 page with own notes; certain academic books; USBs; etc.

Options of new rubrics were put to the Teaching Committee:

1. The rubric states:

A. Whether the exam is open or closed book

B. States what items can be brought to the exam


2. Have a standardised rubric that incorporates the same open book items across every open       book exam

The Teaching Committee highlighted that it is hard to be consistent with the first option as students could write anything down to take into the exam.  It was also highlighted that some exams have been set as closed book but with a ‘helper’ relevant to each exam as the last page of the exam in the past.  It was decided that a proposal with a standardised rubric (option 2) would be brought forward – see Action 1.

ACTION 1: Bring proposal of standardised rubric to next Teaching Committee meeting – Stuart Anderson – Proposal to take in 1xA4 page of own notes. - OUTSTANDING

ACTION 2: Reinstate role of writing template (Latex person) – Stuart Anderson – OUTSTANDING


18.63: Teaching Programme Review

This is not a high priority item – the enhancement led institutional review might be holding back on being able to bring TPR to Teaching Committee.

ACTION: Bring to the next Teaching Committee meeting – Stuart Anderson IN PROGRESS


19.04: Establishing a Welfare and Support Sub-Committee of Teaching Committee

“The DoLT introduced the proposal by reflecting upon the sad cases of suicide within Informatics over the last year. He drew attention to the issue that decisions made by the School did not automatically take into account the effect on the welfare of the student body. In effect the proposed Sub-Committee would act like an independent watchdog in welfare and support matters. The proposal was approved.”

ACTION: This should happen at some point, however a sub-committee needs to be recruited – DoLT and Senior PT – IN PROGRESS


19.36: Recruitment Report - Recuritment Officer

Convenor to locate a staff member to provide MSc Cognitive Science information.

ACTION: Henry Thompson and Alan Smaill to discuss over the next few weeks. OUTSTANDING ACTION


19.60-02: Peer Observation of Teaching

ACTION 2: Email to teaching staff later this month – Gillian Bell – Completed


19.60-03: Course Enhancement Questionnaire to be included in PDR

ACTION: To be circulated to teaching staff – Gillian Bell – Completed


19.62 - NSS

A formal meeting on the NSS results will take place by Jane Hillston at a later date, however a couple of points were raised and brought to Teaching Committee for discussion.

Results showed that the School was down from last year and that there were two areas to bring to the meeting:

                1. There was a 10% drop in the student’s view on assessment and feedback

                2. There was also about a 10% drop with regard to Personal Tutors

Although there were more positive than negative comments, the negative were long.

Students fed back that there was a lack of clarity of assessments and how they are graded, the feedback on assessments is also inadequate and not in a timely fashion.

There is possibility that students perhaps do not understand the criteria that needs to be met.

The School does not have an overall outlook of the courses and how this is looking – perhaps the Year Organisers can collate this information?!

To get markers to tutor on some larger courses.

Get a larger marking team to increase getting marking out ASAP.

Discussion was opened to Teaching Committee and comments included:

There is no consistency of what feedback markers should be providing – how much should be provided and what should it look like?!

Possible pay problem, as well as time issue with regard to getting tutors and markers to take on more work – scale and resources issues.

Perhaps staff could make it clearer to students what the assessment criteria consists of and what they need to meet in each assessment; there may be literacy issues with regard to students understanding assessment criteria.

Proposal to bring samples of past students work to illustrate what consists of good work – this would be beneficial.

Formative assessments can be useful and peer marking assessments in terms of students getting a better understanding of assessment criteria.

It was proposed that Teaching Committee can focus on 2 or 3 of these issues brought to discussion, however it was noted that it would be better to prioritise other items that have been on the agenda for a year and that would also result in making a foundation for developing these other ideas.  Items that should be prioritised are the Common Marking Scheme; and Assessment Moderation – coursework exemplars can then be developed.

ACTION 1: Bring a draft of the common marking scheme to the next Teaching Committee meeting – Paul Anderson – COMPLETED (Please see new item 19.70)

ACTION 2: Bring moderation guidelines to next meeting – Stuart Anderson – IN PROGRESS


19.63 - see paper below at the end - Paul Jackson


19.64 -Key Changes to TAR - Gillian Bell and Katey Lee

Changes to Taught Assessment Regulations (TAR) for 2019/20 academic year that will have a wider impact on staff was brought to the meeting.

Key change to Regulation 27: Resit Assessment: (Amended) – The regulation now states that Visiting Undergraduate Students are entitled to a maximum of two assessment attempts for courses at all levels.

This amendment may now lead to more August resit exams and was open for discussion to Teaching Committee – it was decided that this amendment will only apply to the School’s non-honours courses with the statement:

 “The Teaching Committee discussed the amendment to Regulation 27 and has put forward that VUGs should only be provided resits for non-honours courses”.

ACTION: Take statement to Edinburgh Global from the School – Gillian Bell - Completed

Key change to Regulation 48: Degree examination scripts: (Amended) – Clarifies that examination scripts may be returned to students on SCQF level 7 and 8 courses, but not on courses at levels 9 to 12.

Revisit Regulation 48 at next Teaching Committee meeting when Paul Jackson is available.

Key change to Regulation 57: Postgraduate degree, diploma and certificate award: (New 57.2) – Clarifies that, where postgraduate taught programmes include courses at SCQF level 9 or below, marks for these courses are disregarded when calculating averages for progression and award purposes.

As a result of this, Teaching Executive meeting decided that all Level 9 courses would be removed from PGT degree programmes so that MSc students are unable to take them.  It will also be encouraged to MSc students who wish to take Level 9 courses to take them as ‘class only’.

ACTION: Remove Level 9 courses from MSc Handbook and DPTs – Sharon Goldwater - Completed


18.59-02: Course Moderation Guidelines

Gillian Bell spoke to Judy Robertson and Alex Burford with regard to the varied submission options and moderation processes.

A draft for Assessment Moderation Guidelines was brought to the meeting and discussed by Teaching Committee with the following comments:

Moderation should be considered at course proposal stage at Board of Studies.

There are issues around the additional time and days required to complete moderation and releasing feedback within the 2 week turnaround – Perhaps the best way to get ahead is to do standardised checking before rather than moderation.

Markers should be able to act as moderators and this should be written into policy.

Some were unsure about the use of the word ‘Item’ in the draft proposal.

ACTION 1: Look at exemplars (or other possible models) – Stuart Anderson – IN PROGRESS

ACTION 2: Take care to balance implementation of this against standardisation – Stuart Anderson – IN PROGRESS


19.66-01: Teaching Lunches - Call for Topics

The following topics for Teaching Lunches have been brought forward:

October 2019: Higher education academy schemes

November 2019:  Common marking scheme and set small exemplars of what categories A1 + A2 look like (‘what does excellence look like’).

Other and Future Topics:

Moderation; ELDER (course design workshop by IAD).

ACTION – send information out to teaching staff - Gillian Bell – IN PROGRESS


19.63 - New Item - Exam Script Viewing - Paul Jackson


19.70 - For information only: Informatics version of the Common Marking Scheme

Following up on discussions begun last year, Teaching Exec has now approved wording of the School's interpretation of the University CMS.

The attached document will be posted to the 'For Students' section of the ITO site and linked from Student Handbooks - ACTION: Gillian Bell

An additional document will be circulated to teaching staff providing guidance and examples for how to better align with the CMS.


19.71 MSc Dissertation Page Checking – Iain Murray


19.72 Revision of Database courses – Andreas Pieris

19.73 - AOB


19.74 - Date of next Teaching Committee

Wednesday 9th October