Minutes of Meeting on 26/10/2016


There have been complaints about the smoking at the front of the building at Forrest Hill, staff and students have been asked to move from the main entrance.

Update: This seems to have escalated in the meantime and is now beyond our control. Following an incident yesterday staff of the University’s Communication and Marketing Team have passed this on to the Security and Estates and Buildings teams, respectively. Communication and Marketing staff have been advised by their management to immediately report any incidents of smoking in the designated non-smoking areas to the University’s Security Team.

The School runs a Mechanical Workshop and there is a chance to have guided tours to show the equipment is has, it may prove to be useful for projects. Some of the equipment we have to aid us in this are; milling machines, including a 2-axis CNC mill; lathes; power saws; welding equipment; CAD packages; PCB router; digital storage scopes and other related electronic meters.

After last weeks meeting with the Architect from Appleton Tower, it was discussed about moving more lockers in, but after consideration this may take up a lot of useful space, so we will just be taking the lockers we have at Forrest Hill with us. There are still lockers available in FH, indicating the current provision meets the demand.
INFPals is proving to be very useful.

DMMR: It was reported that the students are finding the lecturer Kousha is going through the lectures to fast and they are struggling to keep up.

INF2C-SE was realised 8 hours late but the deadline has been extended.

INF2C-CS the students are really struggling with the first coursework. For a 10 credit course it states that both coursework’s can be done within 30 hours but it isn’t proving to be the case.  Questions asked on the Piazza page are being directed to the labs, but there is only one lab demonstrator available and the labs are very busy, so the students aren’t benefiting from his help.  The course in general is good though.

IAML the students are still waiting on the feedback.  The quizzes for the course the students are not finding it helpful.  Piazza has lots of posts and it is very difficult to find useful comments, they are getting lost in all the posts.  Some coursework clarification was provided through Piazza and not everyone has seen it, this would be been better to be sent out via the class list.

It was asked if Henry’s lectures could be more structured (actual course content should be given priority and anecdotal context could be provided as an add-on towards the end of the lectures) and his slides could have a better layout.

MLPR is not being recorded as the lecture theatre is not equipped for recordings.  Bjoern suggested that the students ask the lecturer if they can record them themselves.

IRR is proving to be inconsistent and it is not clear of what is expected from the students or tutors. Reading workload varies from 1-2 papers per week in some group to 10 papers per week in others.

MLP labs are held in the Drill Hall and a lot of students aren’t able to get a seat to attend this as there are other students using the space to study.  It would be useful to have timetable so students can see what is booked into the rooms.

IVR: it was mentioned that the coursework was quite a lot, although it was reduced from last year.  There is also 2 lectures a week, they are available on-line but they are very hard to follow as there is a lot of background noise.  There are no lectures notes available – only slides.

Kami Vaniea joined the meeting to explain to the Reps that she is now Equality and Diversity Officer and said that they are going to start doing Career focus groups for females in studying in Informatics.  Our female intake is increasing every year.  There will be a video on-line giving students opinions which will be in various languages.  She is also going to be working closely with Hoppers and CompSoc.  Bjoern mentioned it is possible for the School to fund any staff student social events.

It was asked if the school could pay for refreshments etc if the students were to set up student-run study groups, as lot of students don’t know one another and this kind of thing would help.


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Minutes of Meeting on 19/10/2016

Update from last week:

Bjoern has spoken with the lecturer Mike Fourman from INF1-CL and he said he would try and get the tutorial solutions and lecture slides posted on-line a bit quicker. He has also spoken with the MLPR lecturer Iain Murray (see comments section following my previous post).

Students can go to Information Services and create outgoing email aliases, for student rep email.

Neil Heatley will look into getting more toilet rolls and bins supplied especially for the weekends.

There will be an update on the refurbishment on levels 6 and 9 from the Architects at 1.30pm and they will ask for advice from the Students regarding the internal layouts of the floors.

INF1-FP has a class text next week but there will be no lectures as the lecturer Don Sannella is away. It was believed that Don did swap some of his slots with Mike Fourman. It was advised that the students should use their spare time for revision. There was an issue of the INF1-CL lectures not being recorded, there was a problem with some of the
equipment and hopefully it has been fixed, the University is currently looking into replacing the equipment.

So far all the coursework’s are on time, INF2A was actually released earlier than planned which was good.

It was reported that IAML review sessions are not listed on Learn. CD has 2 assignments Part 1 and Part 2 but students found it hard to complete Part 2 and Part 1 was not clear.

IVR lectures are starting at 9.10am – 10am, but they are meant to start at 9am – 9.50, allowing students to get to their next class in time.

AILP website says it should have a Wiki page set up but it doesn’t and there is an assignment due.

CS Labs: the machines didn’t have the software installed that was required (GPG?). Bjoern said that the lecturers are asked well before the session starts if anything is required and if they don’t tell Computer Support then it isn’t done.

The side lab in the drill hall has 30 PCs installed but they hold tutorials in them and sometimes there are only 3 students in attendance and the students asked if they could also use the room at the same time to utilise the space. Lecturers are encouraged to allow students in the room during tutorials with low attendance if space permits and students are quiet.

There is still an ongoing issue with the machines in the Drill Hall being held up with people running jobs in the back ground and going away stopping others from using them. It was asked if the School has any  policy of how long is right and can others force a log off after a certain time. This is something that Computer Support should be able to advise (Alison Downie recently sent an email about acceptable use policies, which also cover locking machines).

MLPR the students find the material covered in the tutorials is quite intense and would prefer the tutorials to be fortnightly rather than weekly. Alternatively, some kind of management of expectations would be useful, indicating how to make best use of tutorials even if students haven’t managed to keep up with their workload.

There are lots of big deadlines this week and it was asked if these could be staggered but these deadlines depend on what courses students take, they can’t suit everyone.

The Drill Hall is still very overcrowded, Bjoern advised that the students can use the space on Level 3, in Appleton Tower, there is no PCs available but it was pointed out that there is no desks either (Update: David Hamilton is currently looking into this).

It was reported that external students taking Computer Programming Skills had a delay in getting their DICE accounts.

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Minutes of Meeting on 12/10/2016

  • UG1
    INF1-CL lecture slides are only uploaded slowly – sometimes up to a week after the lecture. Similarly, INF1-CL tutorial solutions are often only released late. INF1-CL tutorials try to address students with different backgrounds, but with mixed success. Some students find the tutorials too easy, whereas others in the same group are lost. Maybe consider streaming? Lectures are sometimes a bit unstructured (jumping around topics). Students were advised to always ask questions and also to make use of the Piazza forum.
  • UG2
    Coursework has been released on time – great!
  • UG3
    There’s potentially an issue around the balance of available course in semesters 1 and 2. More input and concrete examples of problems would be appreciated.
    Computer Security coursework was handed out a week late, and now the deadline clashes with IVR. Students praised Kami’s teaching!
    AILP software system initially wouldn’t run correctly on DICE. This has now been fixed, but caused a delay. Responses to the problem were slow.
    Students comment on Computer Design – a great course! Question regarding demonstration of CD coursework and submission should be directed to the course lecturer.
    DBS tutorials appear to be crowded. Enough tutors?
  • UG4/UG5
    IAR coursework returned early – and with useful feedback!
    HCI lecturers and tutorials are very good. Kami has created new tutorial groups.
    Doodle polls for tutorial organisations can cause problems if not recorded by ITO.
    Final year project group meetings are scheduled for this week and next week.
  • MSc
    NC haven’t had lectures for last 1.5 weeks. It appears that (some) students haven’t received cancellation email.
    MLPR tutorial questions would require more clarification.
    Update on IRR tutorial groups: These have now been allocated and scheduled.
    ANLP lecture is of high quality!
  • General
    The School would like to support CompSoc and Hoppers to organise social events involving students and staff. The School can provide funding and organisational support.
    Students would like to be able to see room bookings – currently there’s no access to the room booking system at all for students. Would it be possible to provide read-only access to check which rooms are available and when?
    AT Level 3 can be used now as independent learning space.
    Weekend access to FH requires PIN – this is not generally known to all students and PIN is also not easy to find on MyEd.
    Extra toilet paper and bins are required at FH over the weekends. Glass recycling crates should be provided.
  • Computing Infrastructure
    Student rep email aliases are for incoming email only. Could they be configured such that email could be send by student reps?
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Minutes of Meeting on 28/09/2016

Björn started the meeting of by introducing himself and the students proceeded to introduce themselves and their degree programmes.
Björn explained that these meetings are held on a weekly basis and they are to go over any issues the students or staff may have and hopefully resolve them, he also said that there is the chance to either have someone attend from Computing Support, EUSA, or actually anywhere in the University.
INF1-FP workshop that was held on INF1-FP (“laptop clinic”) was very popular, the students said it was really helpful. The lectures however are very crowded and cramped, due to course being taken by external students, but over the
next few weeks there should be less people attending as some students drop the course after a few weeks. These lectures are recorded so they are available on-line. INF1-CL the students asked if more practice material can be made available for the exam.
DMMR there are alot of spam messages through Piazza, Björn said there is a way to opt out from individual/day/… updates, he explained that Piazza is a good communication channel for students and lecturers.
The students felt the UG4 Introduction Talk was too long, it was 2.5 hours. Hopefully next year it will be much shorter. It was also mentioned that if any students have trouble trying to get in touch with their Project Supervisor to inform Björn.
There is talk of Informatics Hoodies becoming available, either to buy from the shop but the School is looking into available funding so they can be discounted.
The new keyboards in the Drill Hall are to small. Some students are still using the DICE machines to run long jobs, so an email should be sent out about this.
Machine Learning and Pattern Recognition and Introduction to Modern Cryptology lectures are both at the same time, but these should be available on-line.
The School’s web page is very hard to navigate, it is easier to Google what you need to find.
The ITO are very busy with the course registrations and are working hard to trying and get the students enrolled. The students said that when they went into Path to submit they didn’t get a notification that their choices had been sent, so ended up hitting submit more than once, causing the choices to go through multiple times. Also they couldn’t find some courses, Björn explained that if a course does not have a confirmed room booking with the Universities Timetabling unit, then the course doesn’t show, which shouldn’t be the case and it is being looked into.
It was mentioned that the lecture recording isn’t able to pick up what is on the written on the whiteboards, just the slides, but Björn suggested the students could ask the lecturer if they can take photos and email the lecturer who could scan and post them on-line.
It was asked if the Informatics School of Summer Code will be running this year, and it will be it is a good opportunity for students to do projects and have a mentor over the summer and good for their CV, this doesn’t have to be done on-site.
Can more information be made available on research for UG1/UG2.
Research Internships are geared round UG3/4 and are emailed to the students.

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
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Minutes of Meeting on 02/03/2016

Nothing to report
Students were happy that the 1st coursework for INF2B was split into 2
parts. INF2D coursework one was realised early so that was good.
AILP the marks have now been returned to the ITO although they were unacceptably late due to sickness with the lecturer, another lecturer stepped in to help finalise the marks. Individual emails will be sent out to the students with their feedback. This issue will be looked into by the School to stop this from happening again, arranging to have a
stand in to step in, in the event of this happening again.
ABS the students felt the feedback could have been more informative.
TCM there was an issue with the consistency marking, the lecturers have stepped in to do the marking themselves.
AGTA Tutorials don’t seem to supply solutions and they are finding the tutorials informal and not being helpful towards examinations.
PMR Amos Storkey is considering an extension of a few days for the coursework due on 8th March 2016.
Nothing to report.
Bjoern asked the MSc Rep if he could get the other MSc Reps to reply to the message Maree Mathieson sent out regarding the MSc Staff/Student Liaison Meeting.
There are a lot of deadline clashes in week 9, this is due to there not being allowed any deadlines afterwards, due to project submission deadlines. Bjoern explained that there is a big overhaul of 3rd courses coming (and later 4th year and MSc) and 10 credit courses will have one piece of assessed coursework and 20 credit courses will 2 or 3 pieces of coursework but there will be fewer courses to do. This will also limit the amount of December exams (if and when we introduce them).
The Drill Hall air conditioning has been looked at again and the engineers have turned off the cold air and set it to a air circulation setting. The students are saying that at 11pm every night the air conditioning goes on full blast with cold air. This will be looked into.
ITO opening hours from Monday 7th March will now be open from 9.30am and closing at 4.30 pm, with a lunch closure from 12.30 pm – 1.30 pm.
Edit: I (Bjoern) incorrectly mentioned 4:30pm in the meeting. The ITO will close at 4:00pm, but remain open longer on days where submission deadlines have already been announced.
Ian Stark the Informatics Feedback Officer attended the meeting to ask if the students could drum up some support in asking their fellow students to complete the ESES and, in particular, NSS Survey, we need at least 50% of students to complete this or our results and feedback will not be publicised. He also asked if some of the reps would be willing to go into some of the larger Honours courses and do a 5 minute presentation on the importance of completing the National
Student Survey.

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
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Minutes of Meeting on 03/02/2016

INF1-CG there was an issue last week that the students did not understand Question 3 in the tutorial, this has now been resolved as there was a drop in lab held today to cover what the students didn’t understand which was very helpful. The “Fundamental” tutorials are much larger populated than the “Advanced” tutorials, and the student/staff ratio could be improved for the “Fundamental” ones or even hold two tutorials and do the “Advanced” one at a later date.  The tutorial exercises are being covered in the lectures after the submission deadline, could this be reversed?

INF1-DA lectures are very good and the lecturer Ian Stark always provides slides before the lecture.

INF2B Probabilities in Hiroshi’s lectures have been covered for the last month’s of lectures and the students claimed that Probabilities was also covered for the last month of Semester One, they are finding this too much (or, actually, redundant).

There was questions at last week’s meeting regarding the use of Matlab on their own PC’s but Bjoern commented the open-source package Octave can be used instead of Matlab.

AILP coursework is very late in being returned but it is an ongoing issues and it is being dealt with.

DBS the second coursework was late in being returned and the feedback wasn’t helpful at all, there was no explanation as to why students had lost marks.

MLPR coursework 2 the students found this very difficult and too much work for a 10 credit course, although they felt they had learned a lot from the course, the work had to be done over the Christmas holidays, causing them to have a delay on making a start on their Honours Projects. It was also suggested to provide better facilities for remote working, given that the project is done over the Christmas break. Bjoern said a review of courses is now being looked into and it could be possibly changed to a 20 credit course.

Again the MLPR coursework was difficult and a lot of students had to work on this at home through the holidays using the remote login (see above).

RSS the first lecture was cancelled and the students feel there should be a catch up lecture arranged in its place.


The Reps were asking if they could be kept updated with the Appleton Tower Renovations and emailed the PDF file of the renovation plans.

Drill Hall air conditioning is still to cold.  I have emailed Neil Heatley asking if this is being dealt with along with the vending machine requests.

It was also requested the the front door of the Forrest Hill, if the alarm could be adjusted to sound off after a minute of the door being opened and not 20 seconds.  I have sent a request to EBIS.

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Minutes of Meeting on 27/01/2016

In attendance: Lindsay Brown, Computing Support
Apologies: Björn Franke (DoT)
1st Year
INF1-CG in last week’s tutorial sheet there were three questions and the 3rd one the students couldn’t answer as the topic had not been covered in the lecture yet!
The Reps asked if the students could have access to Matlab on their own PC’s? Lindsay said she wasn’t sure as she knew that MSc students do but not Undergraduate’s but she will look into it.
Comment from DoT: Often the open-source package Octave can be used instead of Matlab.
2nd Year
The Reps were asking if they could get some information on how the INF2A exam paper was marked with the question that had an error in it, I suggested they email John Longley, the exam marks are now published on EUCLID.
They also asked Lindsay about “right click” to open another terminal (not sure what this was), she replied that sometimes with upgrades things disappear, but she will look into it.
3rd Year
No Reps due to an SDP lab.
4th Year
No Reps
Tony Knapp mentioned if it would be possible to have their Project proposals before the Christmas periods, so they could think about them over that time.
It was asked again about vending machines!
Drill Hall air conditioning is going on full pelt at 11pm every night.
DICE is SL7 available to student, again Lindsay will look into this.
Lindsay is going to email you Bjoern with her responses.
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Minutes of Meeting on 20/01/2016

Student Rep Meeting, Wednesday 20th January 2016

Martin Wright, Head of Professional Services joined the meeting today to discuss the refurbishment of Appleton Tower.

The re-cladding on the front of the building is due to be finished in June or July 2016. The School is looking into making some interior changes, there will be no layout changes to Levels 3, 4 and 5, but the School is looking into taking over Level 6.  Currently this is utilised as office space but the plan is subject to funding and fire regulations is to turn level 6 into a couple of larger sized tutorial rooms without desktops and an occupancy of up to 15 students and the main space will be turned into a similar style room to the Drill Hall in Forrest Hill with seating up to 80 with desktop PC’s.  All rooms will have ceiling mounted data projection.  Level 6 will also have a kitchen area with hot/cold water and a mircowave.

The refurbishment of the east and west entrances will take place in September/December 2016.

If this plan goes ahead which has to be proposed in March then we are looking at a possible delay of another year before we can occupy the Tower again.

There is also the possibility of a Robotics Lab being put into Level 7 and there is a new floor being added to the roof which will have a glass ceiling and be used for meetings and presentations.

There is no plans to redecorate the main stair case as it is classed as a fire exit.

CompSoc and Hoppers will continue to have a room for their own use.

Some smaller room in Appleton will have no desktops enabling students to use their own laptops.

It was suggested that Unisex toilets be an option, currently the male/female toilets are on alternate floors.

The Reps asked if it was possible for the students to have access to book smaller rooms and display TV’s that show what rooms are booked and what are free to use and at what times.

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Minutes of Meeting on 25/11/2015

The time constraints between the INF1-FP mocks exams this week and the lectures slots on Monday and Friday has been sorted, the lecturers agreed to cut their lectures short enabling the students to make the exam on time.

DMMR received good feedback, especially the lecturer Kousha is doing a very good in his lectures.

INF2C-SE Bjoern has met with the lecturer, feedback officer and UG2 student reps and gone over all the issues, and hopefully these are now resolved.

There are lots of deadlines this week over all the years and the INF1-FP mock exams are on every day in the afternoons, so the drill hall closure is causing problems, with the lack of study space.

PI students are requesting more guidance on the coursework. The presentation part of the course had a choice of a 150 second video, a talk or slides but most students opted for the video, but the lecturer wasn’t too happy with the presented videos.

HCI coursework 2, the feedback was very good.
STN and MLPR have time consuming coursework and the deadlines between the 2 are to close and STN coursework is worth 40% of the course.
MLPR students are finding it challenging to understand the lecturers language, the sentences are not clear but the lecturer has been very good responding to questions via email.

Just issues raised before about lack of space and deadlines.

More bins are required in the Drill Hall, the hall is a mess at the weekend.  Bjoern has requested this with Neil Heatley.
The Air Con is far to cold in the evenings.
A microwave has now been delivered and will be placed in the kitchen area at the front once it has been safety tested.
More information is required about logging on externally via SSH.  Instructions on printing in the labs would be good.

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Minutes of Meeting on 18/11/2015

INF1-FP class have a mock exam on Monday 23rd and an INF1-CL lecture on Friday 27th directly after their lectures at 3pm, so the students were asking for a small time delay in the exam enabling them to get from Appleton Tower to Forrest Hill on time.

INF1-CL the recommended reading for the course is really outdated and they are requesting regular updates on related reading sections.

INF2-SE students are not happy with the course, the third coursework had a new section added to it on Piazza and this wasn’t seen by 71% of the class, so they received low marks.  They think an email would have been better to advertise this and are requesting that the section be removed.  The students are worried about their final grades for this course.  The first coursework was late and the feedback wasn’t back in time for the second coursework.

INF2-CS still a very good course.

INF2A the assignment was very good but the code was up to best practices.

CCS feedback was excellent but LP feedback just consisted of a mark and no feedback, if there had been a feedback lecture then not a lot of students can make it and would prefer something in writing.

CD the software on the DICE machines appeared to have been wiped, causing a delay in the coursework due on Friday 20th November, the students are asking for a potential extension or an extra lab tomorrow Thursday 19th, as the students need to get their sheets signed off before the deadline.

DS students felt there was a lack of support, and they couldn’t find the name of the courses TA.  Bjoern will put their name on the course web page.

HCI for coursework 2 the technology uses are out of date (Swing).

IQC the coursework information on the essay was very vague, the students had to a read a paper and they felt it was to hard to read.  Although they received good grades for it the students felt they didn’t learn anything from the assignment.

MLPR for coursework 2 the students were to complete one of two tasks but when they only completed one task they lost marks for not doing the other one!

RSS course is holding an exam revision lecture on Monday 23rd but the students feel it is to soon before the exam on the 21st December.  There are a lot of deadlines coming up in the next few days MLPR, IAML, STN and ANLP and would request the revision lecture for RSS be rescheduled and a possible in 2 deadlines.


  • Bigger bins are required in the drill hall.
  • More seating in the drill hall is required.
  • Microwave there are no health and safety issues having one, just a cleaning issue.  We will look into where one can be placed due to heat and smoke sensitive alarms.
  • Students will be asked about the views on the internal refurbishment of Appleton Tower.
  • Lack of rooms to study in for more than an hour due to teaching bookings.
  • Comment from Kendal: The toilets have been fixed, I reported them last week and they must have been fixed since.


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