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Report from Director of Teaching

Student Rep Meeting

The weekly student rep meeting has continued all semester, with a rotation of year organisers and other staff attending. Students have raised, and the School has acted upon, a range of teaching issues; with particular effect on our running of AILP, ANLP, DMMR and IRR/IRP. The meeting blog reports on all these and more in detail. Reps have also been preparing material for other students on areas such as feedback and third-year workload.

Links: Meeting blog; Student reps

Planning 2013 Intake

The College of Science and Engineering is currently negotiating targets for undergraduate student intake in 2013 with schools. This follows the Scottish Government's "letter of guidance" on higher education funding in October, and subsequent targets in numbers and "efficiency savings" for the University. It seems likely that we will be required to take between 180 and 190 new undergraduate students for 2013/2014, and similar numbers in the years after that. This is larger than this year (approx. 170) and close to our largest intake ever in 2009/2010. We, and all other schools, have complained to the College and through them to the University that this is likely to be detrimental to students and may require significant changes to teaching methods and accommodation. Not that this could not be achieved, but that to do so at short notice and from necessity rather than choice may lead to poor outcomes.

Final figures have not yet been settled, but the UG1 year organiser is already arranging with first-year teaching staff to plan what we might do in response to different possible increases in student numbers. In due course this may also require some rethinking of the large practicals in UG3 and practicals in UG4.

Lecturer Recruitment

The School recently advertised three new lecturer positions, for which we received a large number of applications. These are now being scrutinised in a series of meetings and references collected. We hope to have the positions filled in time for teaching in 2013/2014.

Minimum Entry Qualifications

We are discussing with College admissions staff the level of Maths qualifications we require for students entering Informatics following the change to our undergraduate maths courses, feedback from students taking those courses, and results of the diagnostic tests taken by students on arrival. We expect that from 2014 our prospectus will state a minimum entry requirement of A in Higher Mathematics — this is already in the stated "typical offer" made to most students, but the change would mean that this is not relaxed even where other factors about a student's education are taken into account. This may also affect the range of offers made for 2013 entry.

New Degree Programmes and Courses

College has approved in full the Design Informatics one-year and two-year masters programmes, for students to start in 2013.

There has also been a change to the MInf Project, which will now be two 40-credit courses taken through fourth and fifth year, with the fourth-year project directly equivalent to the standard Honours degree project.

Link: More about Design Informatics and the MSc programmes in Design Informatics (1 year) and Advanced Design Informatics (2 year)

Ian Stark
2012-11-28