TC Minutes 18th February 2020

Teaching Committee Minutes

Teaching Committee Minutes for 18th February 2020


Informatics Teaching Committee Minutes

Present: Paul Patras, Sharon Goldwater, Pavlos Andreadis, Iain Murray, Cristina, John Longley, Clara Fraser, Jade Gilhooly, Gillian Bell, Paulo Guagliardo, Mohsen Khadem, David Sterratt, Paul Jackson, James Garforth, Stuart Anderson, Valerio Restocchi, Tim Loderhose


  1. Minutes of Previous Meeting – confirmed as correct


  1. Apologies: Helen Pain, Don Sanella, Jane Hillston


  1. Matters Arising


Establishing a Welfare and Support Sub-Committee of Teaching Committee

The first meeting happened last week, and 8 people attended. Paul Jackson is drafting up a report that everyone who attended agrees with. For the future it was agreed that there should be 3 welfare group meetings a year to cover anything that may arise.

Topics that were discussed were evolving of the student support we have, students were supportive of this change as they thought the PT system isn’t as good as it should be. One student mentioned sexism in the computer labs late at night. They mentioned there is a strong male presence which can be intimidating and they can be sexist which effects there student experience and also there confidence.

ACTION- Make it mandatory for all students to complete the HR unconscious bias training which can be completed online. – Stuart Anderson

ACTION – Do some research and look at other institutions to see what they have done for this particular issue. – Stuart Anderson & Paul Jackson?

ACTIONS – Add standard items to the Teaching Committee Agenda for Welfare Group – Clara Fraser

ACTION – Bring final Welfare report form first meeting to the next Teaching Committee meeting, including drawing up resources to solve the issue of sexism in the labs. – Paul Jackson – IN PROGRESS


Teaching Lunch

The next teaching lunch will be Friday 13th March, and Pavlos Andreadis will be leading. The topic will be on communication within a cohort. The following Teaching lunch will be the 2nd April led by Judy Robertson.


Exam Scripts

Paul had been in touch with the maths department at Manchester University, and the academic Paul spoke with had suggested to speak over the phone about this.

ACTION – Provide a summary at the next meeting of the discussion. – Paul Jackson


MSc Dissertation Page Length Checking – Iain Murray

Bjorn Franke who we had previously asked to include a ‘how to write a 40 page dissertation’ in the IPP, had said he would prefer to run an MSc dissertation workshop in the summer. This avoids the problem of students mixing up advice for the IPP report and the MSc dissertation. Bjorn met with Gillian and will arrange such a dissertation workshop for end of June/early July.

MSc student rep thought this was a good idea as many students don’t attend lectures, and think they are adequate enough when writing but having these sessions would improve the writing.



Responses were received regarding the online marking from the strategy group.

The RAT team have been contacted about submit and how the student numbers are visible, and how markers would be able to identify the students from this. – Stuart Anderson – IN PROGRESS

ACTION – Create a modified document compiling the updates for moderation and online marking. – Stuart Anderson

ACTION - Speak to Alex Burford about how the online marking will work. – Stuart Anderson



There are 4033 UG applications which is double from last year, and is going up 25% each year. The number of Scottish students in the EU is the same as last year, and the rest of the UK has gone up by 10-15%. International students have had the most significant increase. Overall only 300 can be accepted each year. In PGT there are 5000 applications so far.

The GRE test was raised with Lorna, and she agreed that this would reduce the number of admissions coming in by using this. The negatives of the GRE test is that it costs money to sit, around £250, and there may be issues with discrimination that might also be considered.

ACTION – Add Recruitment as a standard item on the Teaching Committee Agenda – Clara Fraser


Report from Director of Teaching

Borderlines are going to be built into APT but have no more information on this yet. This will mean that the Stage 1 Board will be more important to get absolutely right, and having the automatic borderlines will tear down the Stage 2 boards.


4. LEARN Foundations Project – Alex Burford

Item to be carried over to the next meeting.


5. Undergraduate Project Page Limit – Iain Murray

The proposal is to consider doing something similar as the new 40 page MSc page limit. Some views on this were that presenting in 40 pages is a massive skill, whilst others though that this would be unreasonable and a burden to the projects. The issue is that there is no limit on an appendix so if there is less said in the main body of the text students could then put everything they are trying to convey in the appendix.

The MSc student reps perspective was that students always go close to the limit, and that the thesis should be as long as it has to be. Social and experimental dissertations need more effort and are hard to contain in a page limit.

After discussion with the Committee a vote took place and there were 7 people in favour for the 40 page limit to be applied, and 4 against. So from this the 40 page limit is to go ahead for Undergraduate Dissertations. A writing programme for the limit will need to be introduced to the students also to help implement this change. This will then all be reviewed after one year.

ACTION – Have a proposal at the next meeting in March, which introduces writing workshops that help train students, also produce a strong guidance document on appendices. Speak with Stephen Gilmore who is now the coordinator for Honours Project. – Stuart Anderson


6. Internal Periodic Review – Remit Suggestions

This will be worked on in the next two or three months.

The following points were suggestions made by the committee on what we could be reviewed on:

  • High Mark Averages
  • Supervision interaction with supervisees
  • Personal Tutors
  • Recruitment of Teaching Assistants
  • Teaching at Scale
  • Connecting students to out industries


7. Report from the DoT

1. NSS – The survey is now open for Final Year students. PGT student survey is open until the end of April. The aim is to try and get over two thirds of students to complete the survey this year.

2. UCU Action – This is to begin week beginning the 24th February.

ACTION – Produce a statement to clarify to students how the academics will assess the cohort, given there are strikes on and classes will be missed. – Stuart Anderson


8. Suggestions for Teaching Lunches

This was discussed in matters arising.


9. AOB

At the end of March Sarah McAllister will provide a talk for us.  ACTION – Tell Clara the date of when this is happening – Stuart Anderson