TC Minutes 17th December 2019

Teaching Committee Minutes

Teaching Committee Minutes for 17th December 2019


1. Apologies for absence: Ram Ramamoorthy, Paul Anderson, Paul Patras

2. Minutes of Previous Meeting – confirmed as correct

3.  Matters Arising

Teaching Programme Review (now Internal Programme Review)

This item is being taken to next meeting and will discuss in preparation for the TPR meeting in 2021. Drafts need to be finalised for internal periodic review.


Establishing a Welfare and Support Sub-Committee of Teaching Committee

DoLT 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: Recruitment to sub-committee - Senior PT - COMPLETED

Action: Preliminary report created for when they meet on 4th Dec. – Paul Jackson


Teaching Lunches - Call for Topics

Going to arrange to have a meeting about moderation and calibration at the November Teaching Lunch.

Would the notes from these lunches be put anywhere? ITO intranet was suggested but there isn’t a place for this yet. People have been denied access to the website.

ACTION – This information was sent out but it was during the strikes, so this will need to be sent out again. - Gillian Bell – IN PROGRESS

ACTION – Take to Teaching Executive meeting to discuss teaching website. – Stuart Anderson


Exam Script Viewing – Paul Jackson

Can we give the honours students sample solutions for them to see when they are looking over their marked exam script in the ITO office?

An idea could be that the Course Organiser looks through the scripts and identifies the common mistakes in the paper and then can give overall feedback on questions to all students on the course. This is also beneficial for the Course Organiser because it introduces reflection on questions and teaching.

ACTION: Find examples from Manchester Maths department for the next Teaching Committee to see if we can adopt as part of our policy. – Paul Jackson – IN PROGRESS

ACTION: Discuss this at College Level learning and Teaching Committee next week. Ask other Directors of Learning and Teaching at other school for their policies. - Stuart Anderson


MSc Dissertation Page Length Checking – Iain Murray

There has been pressure from the institute to bring a proposal for Undergraduate. It shouldn’t be voted on by a small number of people but what process should this look like?

An idea to have good examples from last year, as students try to mimic 80 page dissertations squeezed into 40 pages this year and it was hard to do. Some of the best projects were just over 40 pages. There needs to be more effort into teaching students on how to write well in a smaller page limit.

ACTION: Include a ‘how to write a 40 page dissertation’ in the IPP.  Bjoern Franke

ACTION: Bring a similar proposal to TC for undergraduate dissertations.  Stuart Anderson

ACTION: Bring brief discussion paper to the January meeting and circulate beforehand. – Iain Murray



Moderation Process

The documents created tried to capture what were in the regulations and tried to put it into something that could be operational.  The marking guidelines are being followed correctly, and tried to capture working with bigger groups and how this is different to smaller groups.

Some feedback given, was that large courses have multiple lecturers as exam setters, so they should be able to have who wasn’t involved in the marking and use them as the moderator, rather than finding someone else for this. This needs to be made clear and you could have a different moderator for each question. Horizontal marking and standardisation is still important.

ACTION: make changes to the document and then revise and circulate again. – Stuart Anderson - COMPLETED

The 10% sample size of scripts should be no more than a maximum of 20 scripts.  And finding these would be to look at the different grade bands, and borderlines and random scripts. There was a worry that if moderators find issues then do the markers have to re mark 300-400 scripts if it’s a big class? This would also be difficult to achieve for the December exams when everyone is gone for the holidays. The guidelines should frame that this process will bring the most improvement from the effort that we put in.

Encouraging markers to all mark together in one room and then if there are anything that’s flagged up markers can look at it together and it also gives you motivation when everyone is together rather than marking on your own.

There I an issue when the exams are taking place as late as 20th December and there is only one marked available. How can we get enough markers/resources at that time of year?


Shouldn’t need to reduce the percent in coursework per person but instead split it up. Have to send coursework to the externals, so we should think carefully about how we do the moderation. If a course is assessed 50% more by coursework then this should be sent for scrutiny.

ACTION: check policy so it is in line with this – Stuart Anderson

Online Marking

Students have raised their concerns about auto-markers being an issue. Some auto-markers that are being considered may not comply with data protection regulations. Auto-markers implemented on DICE machines are compliant but some cloud-based services are not.

There isn’t any official instructions to tell staff what we can and can’t use. Gillian Bell is the data protection champion in Appleton Tower and there are also champions in the forum.

ACTION: Take this item to the computing strategy group for discussion. – Stuart Anderson

Does auto marking have a common marking scheme? And how does this work with it? There should be more information sent to External Examiners about auto marking.

Submit uses the students’ UUNs as identifiers.  This breaks anonymous submission rules. We should explore using the students’ exam numbers as identifiers since that is seen as being adequately anonymous.

ACTION: Discuss this with the use of exam numbers in submit with the RAT team and get feedback from experienced users of auto-markers. – Stuart Anderson


4.  Moderation Policy

One of the issues there is, is considerable variance in the way we do things. Some courses have clear discrepancies where students come together and present you with this. The third year students put out a poll and did a presentation in Professional Issues to show this. There needs to be more guidance produced on ways that we can improve this. If we gather information from academics who don’t seem to have problems moderating, we can then see how they do it and take notes from this.

If a course has 20 students, a 10% sample is not sufficient. If the person moderating isn’t the setter then that should be checked. 3-5 papers is not enough to standardise, 6-10 would be better to find anything and hit common problems. A list of queries sent to the External Examiners would be sufficient evidence of the moderation process.

ACTION: Take to Teaching Executive Meeting to look at different categories and see how this should be done - Stuart Anderson

If marks aren’t moderated should they be released to the students? Coursework that doesn’t require to be moderated is fine to release otherwise this shouldn’t be done.


5.  Recruitment Report

For master’s numbers, the school underestimated how many applicants we would receive for international students and this resulted in the numbers increasing. The school did pretty well with the rest of the degrees, even though they were advertised late. PGT applications have increased by 100% and 20% for UGT. There are concerns of randomness being applied to who gets in. The English standard of students can go up as a minimum requirement. GRE exam is getting pushed for students to now do. Suggestion of ‘lottery selection’ is in favour as otherwise it is really hard to distinguish top students who should get a place.

ACTION: Raise this with Lorna – Stuart Anderson


6. – Online Exam Policy

Carry over to next year’s Teaching Committee


7.  Welfare Group Report – Paul Jackson

Carried forward to next meeting


8.  Class Reps

Students have been doing exams so nothing to report this month.


9. Report from the Director of Teaching

  • Marking at borderlines

Automatics treatment of borderline marks will be introduced into APT soon, where the system calculates the award such as the higher or lower classification, without staff having to work it out themselves. This brought up the question of the importance of stage 2 boards? Would this mean the special circumstances doesn’t need to be as big? This changes the emphasis away from stage 2 boards and places more emphasis on the stage 1 boards.

ACTION: Talk to convenors and see what there opinion on this is. – Stuart Anderson.

This produces an issue of how do we want to mark, a notch scheme of 5% intervals could be used, as various other schools use this method.

ACTION: Bring in a paper to look at how this is done – Stuart Anderson

  • Timetabling

The school has 3-4 classes with over 350 students in it. From February 2020 timetabling are going to look at these classes first to schedule and then work the other courses around it, so that the bigger courses get the right spaces.

  • Student Support

Teaching Committee acknowledged the report. It looks as though most of the planned changes to University-wide provision will be implemented by 2021 at the earliest.

  • Concessions Report

There were 111 concessions from informatics. Now under discussion to eliminate the number of concessions, and trying to trim down the number that get sent to college.


  • Internal Periodic Review

Carry over to next TC meeting


10. Suggestions for Teaching Lunches

Topic for March – Communicating common marking scheme/ dealing with students mark queries

Teaching Accreditations – School would like to encourage Academics to have a look at the IAD website for academic development. -


11. AOB

Special Circumstances and Extensions Project item for next month’s TC.

ACTION: Invite Sarah McAllister to present. – Stuart Anderson