TC Minutes 11th September 2019

Teaching Committee Minutes

Teaching Committee Minutes for 11th September 2019

Meeting Minutes

Informatics Teaching Committee Minutes



In attendance: Clara Fraser (Administrator) Sam Stewart (Administrator)

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 Meeting – confirmed as correct


19.69: Matters Arising


19.27: Exam Marking Policy

The existing policy on exam marking was inspected.  The policy is fit for purpose but needs modification to take account of marking for large classes.  The additional section on control of examination scripts was accepted and will be appended to the two marking policy documents.

Action: Add section to policies - ITO

Main Elements – The Course Organiser is responsible for the security of the Exam Scripts. Scripts have been left on trains or lost in the past. Lecturers that are marking need to let ITO know where they are marking the scripts.

Main Change – Course Organisers will arrange a marking party, which will be in Informatics at all times, this can be in a couple of room but has to stay here and the CO should be able to oversee this. A separate policy should be created for online exams.

Action: Bring online exam marking policy to next TC - Stuart Anderson


19.56: Alteration of Exam Scripts

Proposing two options – Fully open book and partially open book and to add additional standard wordings that can be appended to any of the current standard rubrics. All members of the committee were happy to go ahead with this.

Action: Add two new rubric types to the exam template – RAT team (ITO to Inform the RATs)


18.63: Teaching Programme Review (now Internal Programme Review)

This is not a high priority item – we should discuss outline Programme Specific Remits.


ACTION: Bring to the next Teaching Committee meeting – Stuart Anderson. OUTSTANDING ACTION


19.04: 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 PTOUTSTANDING ACTION


19.36 Recruitment Report – Recruitment Officer

Recruitment is within target for MSc and 20 more than last year's UG numbers.  MSc cyber security numbers are very low and we should look to advertise the program better. English language requirements for 2020/21 entry remain unchanged as College is not convinced by our current arguments for higher English language scores.


18.59: Course Moderation Guidelines

Proposal to have independent moderation for all coursework and examinations.  The policy is required by the Dean of Quality Assurance and should be implemented for the December examinations.

Discussion focussed on the role of a standardisation phase that attempts to check markers are marking similarly for identical submissions and that the marking scheme covers most possible answers and common errors.  This allows moderators to ‘head off’ issues at the start of the marking by taking a shared decision on issues that arise in marking a sample of work..

Members of the committee wished to change the term blind double marking to independent double marking.

The next stage is how we implement the policy and how to incorporate effective standardisation.

ACTION: to bring a revised policy and implementation plan for moderation to next TC- Stuart Anderson.


19.66: 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; ELDR (course design workshop by IAD).

ACTION – send information out to teaching staff - Gillian BellIN PROGRESS

19.63 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

ACTION: Discuss this at College Level learning and Teaching Committee. Ask other Directors of Learning and Teaching at other schools. - Stuart Anderson


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

The discussion considered how we can ensure all staff have a shared interpretation of the University Common marking scheme to ensure consistency and reliability across our courses.  This interpretation of the Common Marking Scheme aims to help with this alignment.   A new web page has been requested by Gillian Bell to enable all of our course Handbooks to link to the text on the common marking scheme.

ACTION: Arrange for a teaching lunch on the Common Marking Scale perhaps with Head of School sending the invitation to the lunch. – Stuart Anderson.


19.71 MSc Dissertation Page Length Checking – Iain Murray

Feedback given by staff shows that a large majority think it’s a positive change. There is a big reduction in the number of pages to look at and has made the students focus more on what points they are making in the dissertation.  There was a concern that students would move information to appendices, but appendices seemed to be used sensibly. Proposal to do the same again next year as this worked as intended, unless there is strong disagreement for it.

ACTION: Look into making instructions and need exam PC’s to be networked. ITO could run the PG check if they have instructions on how to do this. – Iain Murray

This is only applied to the MSc cohort and not undergraduate. UG have no page limit, could look into getting this implemented also.

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


19.72 Revision of Database Courses – Andreas Pieris

Goal is to revise the database courses as they haven’t been revised in a collaborative way for some time and the PG courses are out dated. The courses are not attractive to students and you end up in total with only 10 students. Students want to understand how these database courses are related to other courses at the school. We don’t offer an applied databases course. There was one years ago but it wasn’t what should have been offered.

  • Change the titles to better reflect what is in the course.
  • Change to 20 credits by adding additional material to the course.
  • Offer applied database course once everything is completely revised.

This all needs to be taken to the Board of Studies but welcome the Teaching Committees comments.

It was brought up that the applied database course seems sensible but looked a bit like extreme computing. Andreas mentioned they had checked this and there are differences between the two courses, and they complement each other.

ACTION: Look into details further – Paulo and Andreas.

Finding examples of students in UG who might take this course and in what semester and having samples of coursework to take to the Board of Studies would be really helpful.


19.73 AOB

The School's engagement monitoring has come under scrutiny in the past, so for this year we are keen to transform our approach, make it more consistent across all courses and easier to evidence engagement - or not - as appropriate.  We're keen to do this in a way that is transparent to students, meets our Tier 4 sponsorship compliance obligations and also offers potential wider pastoral benefit to students. It was decided that Top Hat will be tried out for this and the committee agreed for this to go ahead. The way it works is students sign in on a mobile device and they are given a code with a lifespan of a few minutes and when entered this registers there attendance.

Action: Circulate implementation details to staff Neil Heatley/ITO


19.74 – Date of next Teaching Committee

Wednesday 9th October