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Teaching Committee Minutes - Wednesday 24th October 2012

Present: M. Rovatsos (Convener), I. Stark, P. Anderson, N. McGillivray, I. Murray, V. Nagarajan, B. Webb, M. Cryan, M. Wright, D. Sannella, C. Stirling, P. Stevens, K. Etessami, E. Klein, Z. Ero (Student Rep), S. Manilov (Student Rep), K. Weston (Secretary).

1.   Apologies for Absence:  J. Lee, J. Bradfield, S. Ramamoorthy, D. Robertson, S. Anderson, G. Bell

2.   Minutes of the Previous Meeting

The minutes were taken as read.

There are a number of carried actions on S. Anderson, M. Rovatsos will ask which of these need to remain and who these should be handed over to if appropriate.

ACTION: M.Rovatsos to contact S. Anderson re. carried actions.

3.1 Improving our use of Questionnaires - S. Anderson

ACTION COMPLETE: N. McGillivray to investigate the feasibility of linking items from the Sortable List.  Reports of questionnaire feedback can now be found at the following link:

http://www.inf.ed.ac.uk/admin/ITO/course-survey-reports/

3.2 Academic Infrastructure Working Group - J. Longley

ACTION CARRIED: J. Longley to bring a policy on accessibility of course delivery to a future meeting.

ACTION CARRIED: J. Longley to bring a KIS friendly draft policy/guidelines on how to do this to a future Board of Studies meeting.

3.3 UG4 Project Moderation - H. Pain

ACTION COMPLETE: H. Pain to report back to Teaching Committee on how the new guidelines worked in practice.

We used a smaller pool of moderators, c. 10, this year.  This worked much better.  Recommend this is continued, and size of pool reduced further to 4-6 moderators.  Time constraints meant that it was not possible to have the meeting of moderators to cross check and compare consistency, and it was not clear that this was in fact needed.  For future, use small pool of moderators to improve consistency of moderation and marking. H. Pain

3.   Matters Arising

Nothing further reported.

4.   Arrangements for Course Feedback Forms/Reports - M. Cryan

M. Cryan presented her report and proposal for the new Course Feedback Process.

It was stressed that students are more likely to respond if lecturers email their classes directly to request that they complete the Course Feedback form and/or raise this in the lecture.  Equally, should lecturers choose to use the Mid Semester Questionnaire, requesting that this be completed during one of the lecturers is likely to result in a higher response rate.  The student rep was concerned that those who did not attend said lecture would miss out on the opportunity to provide feedback, it was suggested that the lecturer could inform students by email ahead of time that this would be released at a certain lecture.

There was some discussion on the generation and publication of the "course survey reports" and whether a Computing Support bid should be made to automate this process.  It was agreed that the Committee would support a Computing Support bid, if this was not successful or the project would not be completed in time, payment for an HTBN employee to complete the manual work would be supported.

OUTCOME: The Committee approved the tabled proposal on the new Course Feedback process.

5.   English Requirements for MSc Entry - I. Murray

I. Murray asked the Committee for their support on his proposal to increase the English language requirements for MSc entry to match those required by Geosciences.  Analysis of data showed that roughly half of those students who did not successfully complete the MSc in session 2011/12 would not have gained entry under the proposed English requirements.  Further analysis will need to be completed to see how many other students would not have received entry. Stark reported that College were now offering conditional offers to students who did not meet the language requirements on the condition that they attend a pre-sessional English course prior to the start of the programme.  The Committee thought this could be adopted if the language requirements were increased. 

OUTCOME: The Committee approved the tabled proposal.

ACTION: I. Murray to take this to Recruitment Committee.

6.   Canvassing Teaching Information for 2013-2014 - I. Stark

I. Stark presented his item on gathering teaching preferences from staff for session 2013-2014.  Following discussion the Committee recommended the following changes to the tabled form:

  • In Sections 1 and 3, staff should be instructed to select at least 4 courses that they would be interested in teaching or can teach.
  • Section 3 should include all the courses we have in EUCLID, not just those that have been taught in the past couple of years.  M. Rovatsos, I. Stark and N. McGillivray to identify which courses are obsolete
  • The + and o features, indicating "I would be interested to teach this course" and "I can teach this course" included in Section 1 should be added to Section 3.

The Committee agreed that any work to identify higher-level key courses should be distinct from this process; and that responses should be visible to all staff not just those involved in teaching allocation. 

ACTION: I. Stark to update the tabled form as suggested above.

ACTION: M. Rovatsos, I. Stark and N. McGillivray to identify which courses contained in EUCLID are obsolete.

7.   Issues with MInf Project Structure - B. Webb

It was noted that K. Kalorkoti, the MINf Project Coordinator, would be submitting a proposal to Board of Studies to change the MInf project structure.  The proposed structure would be two 40 point courses, one in UG4 and one in UG5, with the expectation that the UG4 submission would be on par with an Honours project, with additional work carried out in the 5th year.  M. Rovatsos asked for any comments that could be fed back prior to the BoS item.  There were some concerns re. the MPP2 course credits being reduced to 40, as this would mean an increase in the number of level 11 taught courses students would have to take whilst concurrently completing the project.  It was suggested that an elevated UG4 to UG5 hurdle could be instated as there would now be an appropriate exit route if this was not met.  Should the change in structure be approved, marking guidelines may have to be refined to fit with the new structure.

8.   INF1: Who are we teaching? - E. Klein

E. Klein analysed data collected from UG1 students re. their programming experience on entry to better understand how our INF1 programming courses are serving cohorts with mixed levels of programming experience.  The analysis suggests that those with more programming experience are likely to achieve better results, and whilst some with little experience can still achieve good results some are still struggling.  There was a suggestion that those students with a significant programming background could opt out of taking the INF1 programming courses by receiving a concession from the School Curriculum Approval Officer.  Z. Ero felt that the programming courses in non-honours years do not sufficiently prepare students for the level of programming required in later years.

E. Klein and P. Anderson have released a similar questionnaire to this year's cohort and will analyse this in a similar way to provide further data on the subject.

9.   Year Organiser Reports

UG1

It was confirmed that two Functional Programming papers had been set to accommodate the increased size of the UG1 cohort.

UG2

It was confirmed that INFBase tutors do have the relevant experience to help with Discrete Mathematics and Mathematical Reasoning students, and students should be directed here rather than Maths Base as they are unlikely to help.

UG3

 

 

V. Nagarajan raised an issue with the process of sending out learning profiles, and lecturers taking the necessary action in time for the start of semester.  It was confirmed that all learning profiles are sent out by the ITO when received from the Disability Office, but due to the timing of course registration etc, it is almost impossible for lecturers to receive these in time to meet all necessary adjustments from the very start to term.

UG4

Taken as read.

MSc

I. Murray and M. Osborne will be bringing a proposal to amend the MSc moderation process to a future meeting.

10. Recruitment Report

No recruitment report was submitted.

11. Report from Director of Teaching

The Director of Teaching report was taken as read, with I. Stark drawing particular attention to the new Personal Tutor Scheme, his report on National Reporting and Student Entry Requirements.

12. AOCB

M. Rovatsos informed the Committee that he would be responsible for the Innovative Learning Week timetable this year and asked the Committee for any ideas on what could be included.