TC Minutes 9th October 2019

Teaching Committee Minutes

Meeting Minutes

Informatics Teaching Committee Minutes

Teaching Committee Minutes for 9th October 2019


Present: Stuart Anderson, Boris Grot, Iain Murray, Paul Jackson, Valerio Restocchi, Heather Yorston, Cristina Alexandru, Mohsen Khadem

In attendance: Clara Fraser (Administrator), Jade Gilhooley, Katey Lee

19.75: Apologies for absence: Paolo Guagliardo, Judy Robertson, Aurora Constantin, Ajitha Rajan, Christophe Dubach, Andreas Pieris, Paul Patras, Jane Hillston, John Longley, Maria Wolters

19.76: Minutes of Previous Meeting – confirmed as correct

19.77: 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.

Issue that staff need a certain amount of latex experience which is not provided by training.

Action: Add two new rubric types to the exam template – RAT team (ITO to Inform the RATs) or Iain Murray if we can’t get anyone. – OUTSTANDING ACTION


18.63: Teaching Programme Review (now Internal Programme 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.

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


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: Now have a policy which needs revision on the standardisation and an implementation plan needs created. Bring 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’).

December 2019: Moderation; ELDeR (course design workshop by IAD).

ACTION – send information out to teaching staff - Gillian Bell – IN 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. This is taking place 17th November. - Stuart Anderson


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

CMS teaching lunch is being held next month. The special teaching hours meeting took place. From this it was suggested that we have questions within the coursework which take students one step further so it’s not just purely knowledge, making it clear to the student they have to provide solutions to achieve the mark.

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


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 - OUTSTANDING

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


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. - COMPLETED

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 (Top Hat)

There was extensive discussion on the use of the TopHat voting system to take attendance at tutorials and/or lectures.  On balance the view was that TopHat could be useful for attendance monitoring.

Action: Draft email on the use of TopHat to be sent to all teaching staff by Head of School.  Neil and Stuart (completed)


Date of next meeting: 

13th November 2019 - 2pm