TC Minutes 10th April 2019

Teaching Committee Minutes for 10th April 2019.

Meeting Minutes

Informatics Teaching Committee Minutes


Present: Alan Smaill, Gillian Bell, Katey Lee, Paul Patras.

In Attendance: Gregor Hall (administrator)


19.48 Apologies for absence: Stuart Anderson, Paul Anderson, Alex Burford, Myrto Arapinis, Iain Murray.


19.49 Minutes of Previous Meetings – approved


19.50 Matters Arising


18.29-01 – Software Options for Coursework Submission. DoLT has contacted the RAT unit and Learning Technologist to consider options.

The DoLT, a RAT-Unit representative, the ITO Manager, Paul Patras and the Learning Technologist met to discuss coursework submission options. Paul Patras told the TC that he had discovered from this meeting that LEARN was capable of far more than he had initially thought, although he did not agree with discarding “submit” entirely, as he liked the command-line interface, despite the security issues with submit. The point was made that the questionnaire sent to staff on the topic may have been problematic as they staff may  not have understood all the questions, and that a presentation to the staff by the Learning Technologist may clarify what LEARN does. Paul was of the opinion that submit was useful for handling code, as was GitHub, which could be set up to test submitted code and provide automated feedback. The handling of anonymity was also a matter of concern. The lack of staff engagement with LEARN was noted.

ACTION: Convenor to contact Learning Technologist with regards to giving a presentation to staff on LEARN.


18.59-02: Course Moderation Guidelines.

The BoE Convenors are officially responsible for ensuring that moderation guidelines are available. DoLT has contacted the convenors about this and hopes they will be able to report back for the December meeting of TC.

ACTION: The DoLT is to contact the Convenors on this. OUTSTANDING.


19.06 Proposal to limit MSc project Report Lengths, S.Goldwater.

Action 1: Convenor to speak to the Design Informatics Dissertation coordinator.

RESPONSE: Alan spoke to Maria Wolters, who is doing her own recruiting on second markers, and has decided to decouple from Informatics as DI has its own marking criteria. As such the page limit will not apply.

Action 2: Masters Dissertation coordinator to report on progress. COMPLETE.

The proposer of this item asked for the following action:

Action 3: MSc coordinator to send another email to teaching staff with this information before the dissertation begins. OUTSTANDING.

Action 4: Bjoern Franke as IPP coordinator should remind the students of the consequences of not adhering to the limit. COMPLETE.

A new action was decided upon:

ACTION 5: Convenor to liaise with Richard Mayr about decoupling the ECA/DI Masters Dissertation from the main Masters Dissertation. Also a conversation about marking loads is required.

Further discussion ensued regarding the problem students, and the issue of adequate language skills. Design Informatics are hoping to have a higher requirement than standard Informatics masters, as their students are expected to do lots of interactive group work from the start of their programme. It was pointed out that post-arrival Test of English at Matriculation (TEAM), which is designed to tell us whether students would benefit from free English classes, is optional. This raised the suggestion that we might heed to raise the requirements. Staff had noted that English language skills could sometimes be an issue when communicating with students, particularly with project work.

ACTION 6: An interim report on the subject of English language requirements is to be brought to the next TC,  (Convenor/ITO.)


19.26 Mandatory Unconscious Bias Training for Tutors/Demonstrators - N.Heatley / B.Fisher. ONGOING.


19.27 Exam Marking Policy - Director of Learning and Teaching

ACTION: Convenor to provide a full policy document. OUTSTANDING.


19.36 Recruitment Report - Recruitment Officer.


  1. Cyber-Security numbers. RESPONSE from K.Vaniea: “I followed up with Martin, and the number of Cyber Security MSc students cannot be changed. Actually, it’s a bit worse since it is also not inclusive of the apprentices, so cyber security will have 50 incoming masters next year. This is a problem for us since the main course was designed for about 30 students in order to create a cohort effect and so that students can do in-course presentations. We are working on how to address the issue.” COMPLETE.
  2. InfComms have sent information to applicants via DotMailer. COMPLETE.
  3. Convenor to locate a staff member to provide MSc Cognitive Science information. RESPONSE: Alan Smaill has spoken to Henry Thompson about this. Information sheets on courses, written by Sharon Goldwater and Ajitha Rajan, have been recently updated.

ACTION: Alan Smaill, Henry Thomson and Katey Lee to meet and discuss.


19.42 Preliminary Exam Marks - I.Murray

Action: ITO manager to meet with Examinations manager to discuss scheduling of MLPR and ANLP exams.

The ITO manager has met with the Exams team and put in the request for early scheduling of the above exams in the December diet. We will only know the size of the window for marking once the draft timetable is released – the last December timetable was released on the 23rd of October.


19.51 Date of next Teaching Committee - Wed 8th May 2019

19.52 AOCB

 Paperless submission of Honours Project (from item 19.25): ITO consider the move to paperless submission a success. This lead to the question – should the MSc dissertation also be paperless?

ACTION: Convenor to raise the issue with the MSc Dissertation coordinator.