TC Minutes 13th November 2019

Teaching Committee Minutes

Teaching Committee Minutes for 13th November 2019

Meeting Minutes

Informatics Teaching Committee Minutes

Present: Kami Vaniea, Aurora Constantin, Sharon Goldwater, Valerio Restocchi, Judy Robertson, Iain Murray, Tim Loderhose, Stuart Anderson, Qais Patankar, John Longley, Jade Gilhooley, Mohsen Khadem

19.78: Apologies for absence: John Lee, Paulo Guagliardo, Helen Pain, Ajitha Rajan, Alex Lascarides, Boris Grot, Heather Yorston, Pavlos Andreadis

19.79: Minutes of Previous Meeting – confirmed as correct

19.80: Matters Arising


19.27: Exam Marking Policy

Discussion under AOB


18.63: Teaching Programme Review (now Internal Periodic Review)

Programme Specific Remits. What are the priorities for the TPR to look into?

Space – Needs reviewed for the next couple of years for teaching as we have an increase of numbers every year. There needs to be more lab space, and would be good for the MSc students to have an area.

Students Mental Health – Support for student’s mental health and disabilities needs to be reviewed. There should be more staff to deal with this. Many students are having to wait weeks for mental health counselling. The Disability Service needs more people to cope with the pressure. Welfare Hub’s new building should be open by December so hopefully this will help as they will be able to employ more staff.

This item is being taken to next meeting and will discuss in preparation for the TPR meeting in 2021.

[See DoLT Report for schedule]


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 PT – OUTSTANDING ACTION

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




19.66: 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 – send information out to teaching staff - Gillian Bell

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

[Action Completed: lunches scheduled for Jan and Feb plus item added to Teaching Exec agenda]


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 next week. Ask other Directors of Learning and Teaching at other school for their policies. - Stuart Anderson [Completed]


19.71 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 [Awaiting report]

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


19.81 AOB

Moderation Process

The discussion tried to capture the regulations and operationalize them.  Key points are: checking marking guidelines are being followed correctly, and taking account of marking for large groups and how this differs from smaller groups.


  • 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.
  • For large courses it is possible to have a different moderator for each question.
  • Horizontal marking and standardisation are still important.

ACTION: make differences within the document and then revise and circulate again. – Stuart Anderson

Further comments:

  • The 10% sample size of scripts should be no more than a maximum of 20 scripts.  
  • The sample should 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 is an issue when the exams are taking place as late as 20th December and there is only one marker available. How can we get enough markers/resources at that time of year?


  • Single large courseworks will be required to go for external scrutiny.  In some cases two smaller courseworks may be easier to manage.
  • If a course is assessed 50% or more by coursework then this should be sent for external scrutiny together with a marking and moderation scheme.

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. Automarkers are set by lecturers which wouldn’t comply with data protection. If this is done through the DICE machine then it’s protected but if it’s somewhere through google docs then we’re not protected.

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 members 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 shouldn’t be a method of submitting assessments as it shows the students UUN. Maybe the exam number could be used instead to make in more anonymous.

ACTION: Consult with staff experienced in the use of auto markers. – Stuart Anderson


19.82 – Date of next Teaching Committee

17th December 2019