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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Minutes of Meeting on 04/11/2015

Bjoern reminded the Reps that you can comment on the Student Blog page.

It was asked by one of the INF1C-CG students if they had their own mailing list which included the non Informatics students taking the course.  Bjoern contacted Support and Undergraduate Cognitive Science students can be reached via the cgb-degree-students@inf.ed.ac.uk

INF2C-SE coursework one was released slightly later than planned but the submission deadline was moved to accommodate this.  The students would have liked more communication from the lecturer regarding this.

INF2C-SE Bjoern has spoken to the course lecturer and there will be a review on the course with the possible involvement of further Software Engineering teaching staff in the School

INF2A the students said the communication was very good and prompt from the lecturer on Piazza.

CD Students asked if the software for this course could be made available on all DICE machines. Contacted Nigel.

DBS coursework one is now active but the queries are very ambiguous.

AILP the second coursework was due tomorrow, and the students only got the feedback today which isn’t good.  The coursework deadline has now been moved to the 10th November.  They also feel the marking was lenient and maybe another marker is required in order to avoid late feedback for the next part of the coursework.

CG the students felt the feedback lacked any explanation why there was marks deducted.
HCI said the template for coursework 2 was badly written, the students have mentioned it to Arvind.

CT has received contradictory reviews. Some students praised its organisation, others reported it to be badly organised. Christophe is very open to any suggestions, so it was suggested the students contact him directly.

EXC the students received a fast reply from the lecturer on the previously reported cluster issues.

The request for last years grades to be published was acted on promptly, but there was no grades available for TCM and CM, this could be due to the size of the class, if it is was a very few, then they wouldn’t be made available.

The students has asked about a microwave and vending machines, these are still being looked into.

The Informatics Summer School of Code is now on the Informatics webpage (https://isoc.inf.ed.ac.uk/home), there are only a few projects available at the moment but more will be added in time.

Students asked if printing instructions could be displayed in the labs.

CP1 course is available to non Informatics students, but some students feel that C is not a good programming language to learn at first.  This course is requested by other Schools, so Informatics would need to talk to the other Schools before making a decision.

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Minutes of Meeting on 28/10/2015

Bjoern has emailed all the Teaching Staff with details on the Rep Meeting Blog and hopefully that will keep the staff informed of any issues.

Asked when the Examination timetable for December.  This is scheduled to be realised tomorrow Thursday 29th October 2015.

The INF1-FP Advanced tutorials issue with the room being to small has been resolved.

There was a request from the students regarding getting vending machines installed and microwaves supplied for them to use.  Lots of students are working late on deadlines and these would be useful.

INF2C-SE the second coursework was meant to be realised on the 22nd October and it still hasn’t, this is causing concern regarding clashing deadlines and an overload of work.  The lecturer hasn’t communicated with the class and kept them up to date.  The students are also disappointed with the lecturer, they feel that he hasn’t read the slides in advance of the lectures and looks surprised when he does read them.

It was suggested by the Reps that maybe turning the course into something similar to Professional Issues and inviting guest lecturers from Software Engineering Industry.

INF2-CS Boris’ teaching is stellar.

EPL the deadline for this course was extended on the day of the deadline and some students had already submitted their work.

IQC Some students (even those on joint Physics degrees) found it difficult to understand the literature. Coursework specifications and the marking were also very vague.

EXC the software on some of the DICE machines is ok, but it crashes on the borrowed CDT machines. Is there also a way to put a job time-out on the machines (for clearly malfunctioning jobs)?

NC there is a typo in the assignment which relates to another question in the assignment, the lecturer has been emailed but no response. The coursework is worth 100% and the students feel the lecturer should focus more on the programme environment.  The software is very outdated and complicated.

STN has seen improvements.


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Minutes of Meeting on 21/10/2015

INF1-FP the room being used for the advanced tutorials is too small, but due to a building move we are very limited to teaching space.  Usually within a couple of weeks the attendance to tutorials usually decreases and the teaching space will be less crowded.

There were 3 tasks in this weeks tutorial and the students only completed question 3 as they felt that this question could possibly be the only question relevant to the exam.  It would be good to find out what is examinable and what is not.

INF2C-CS lecturer is very good, it was suggested the Reps could put Boris Grot’s name down for a Teaching Award.

There was conflicting instructions on Piazza and the course web page regarding the first coursework submission.  The solutions for the tutorials were also late in being published.  The students also had to find partners to work with and they found it quite time consuming.

EPL the students found the first coursework time consuming, they felt as it was a 10 credit course and the coursework is only worth 10%, it took them 20 hours to complete.

There is a wiki page set up for this course and although the students are using it the staff aren’t.  It would be helpful if they could check and reply to anything on it.

SDN Students said it was unclear as to how the SND coursework similar to a mini masters project was being marked.  It appears not be marked on results but on an analysis basis.  Also can this be done in groups?  How would the marks be split? How long should it be and what should it include?

No Reps attended

No Reps attended

Bjoern mentioned that the School are looking into the possibility of running a Summer School of Code, it would give the students more practice of Code and the school could get some companies to mentor them with the possibility of gaining a prize, which would look good on CV’s etc.

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Minutes of Meeting on 14/10/2015

The Reps said that the INF1-CL lectures slides had errors in them and the formula in lecture 4 was wrong.  They are finding the lectures quite complicated.

DMMR course web page is not up to date. INF2C-SE has been a one day delay in the coursework being released and the students were concerned as the deadline for submitting was not going to be changed.  I believe this issues has now been resolved by Paul Jackson. Also another request was asked concerning lack of bike rack space.

DBS tutorials have now been put back to starting in week 5, there was a huge intake in the class this year resulting in lack of tutors and teaching space.  I believe this also has now been resolved.

Some students taking the SDN course are finding the Maths to hard.  The slides are being released the day before, but this could be because this is a new course and the lecturer has only just finished them the day before.  It was also mentioned that the slides are not very useful but the notes are very good with good explanations on proofs and applications. HCI some students are struggling to work out what the course is actually about. EXC lecturer is very good. EPL course is also very good.

It was brought up again about the air conditioning in the Drill Hall being to cold, the engineers have been in and readjusted the fans, so hopefully it should be ok now.

MLPR the first lab task set was not clear enough, they could have been more specified, they were badly written but the second and third were ok.

Bjoern asked for volunteers for a student rep to attend Teaching Committee and Board of Studies meetings.  Nantas Nardelli offered to do Teaching Committee.

The December exam diet is still a work in progress.

It was asked if the could be more Software Engineering projects to choose from as this subject appears to be the most popular.  Bjoern said it is possible for you to self propose, if you find something that you would like to do, you can approach a lecturer and ask if it would be something that they would like to supervise.

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Update on previously reported issues

Air-Conditioning in FH
The air conditioning is currently being monitored along with the heating by the Technicians as the weather changes in the coming weeks, the heating will be extended slightly to go on a bit longer in the evening with the look of getting the air con turned down.

One question raised by the 1st year reps is whether the Inf1-lecturers would agree to put in a single link inside the “Learn” environment for their course, pointing to that
particular course webpage? New entrants to the University are being confused by the fact that all their other courses use Learn, but the Inf 1 courses have no resources there (not do they have any pointer to resources). The lecturers are currently doing this.

A question raised by the 1st year reps is the broken links on the FP webpage.  They ask if you could go through the various links and fix them.  Don Sannella has been asked to fix this.

The 2nd year reps have raised the issue of (the lack of) bike-parking spaces at Forrest Hill. Students are using the few spaces available out on the road beside newsagents etc,
but would appreciate if it was possible to add some University racks beside the Forrest Hill building. There is a very limited space outside the building so this might not be possible, but it will be looked into.

The 2nd years don’t like the evening lectures, and would appreciate it if they could be scheduled earlier.  This is something that could be looked into for 2016/2017.

A 3rd year rep asked about the possibility of some December exams (most students would prefer that to the current situation where everything is examined in April/May). The history of this debate was discussed and Nantas and Mary explained that although “semester 1 exams in December” has been ruled out for 3rd and 4th year, all the same there is the hope that a few select courses will evolve to have the exam in December and that this might happen earliest 2016/17, since we must code it into the DPTs.

The 4th year reps raised the issue of insufficient lab space for their SLIP coursework. They have a couple of rooms in FH dedicated to SLIP for this semester, but since there are 4 different groups this year, they feel this is not enough. Arvind is trying to arrange extra space – however, they would appreciate it if he could be supported in this.

SLIP is limited the size of the class – with a max of 4 groups with no more than 6 members in each group.  This is being looked into by the lecturer and the ITO.

The reps mentioned that students are having trouble understanding the STN material because they haven’t seen this kind of Maths before now (eg evolution to particular distributions), and the lecturer is going too too fast through the material.  The lecturer has been notified.

The 4th year reps mentioned that due to the extra-large class size for EXC, that there is a need for more clusters. The lecturer is trying to arrange for more, however they requested that he should be supported in trying to achieve this. They also said the lecturer is very good.

The ug5 reps mentioned that students have reported some problems with HCI, mostly a consequence of the extra people taking the course this year.  One issue is with the new bigger lecture rooms.  The lecturer walks around a lot when Lecturing, and students can’t hear him and request he please uses the clip-on microphone for the entire lecture.

There is an “office-hour style” tutorials for HCI where students can raise questions about course material and particularly the coursework.  He is taking these tutorials himself, and does them one evening over two hours, each group having an hour. However, the class is *huge*, and one slot has far more students than the other (due to student constraints) and the lecturer:student ratio is insufficient given the style of these meetings (asking questions one-to-one). It was suggested that maybe getting a demonstrator/tutor appointed who could work alongside the lecturer for these sessions.  The lecturer said that this will be the case for coursework – 2 which is a programming exercise and a tutor will be present alongside the lecturer and email can also be sent to the tutor if there are any problems.

They also noted that cwk1 is due very soon, so if anything could be done to give a bit of extra help before that, it would be good (maybe a bit of email support).  Though they said they did not feel that progress on coursework had been too negatively-affected at this point. The lecturer said a number of students do send me emails with queries and he does answer them promptly.

The Reps issues a concern over the size of the MSc intake this year, which is just under 260 students, about a short supply of projects and supervisors.  There are around 250 students doing IRR this year which is double to what we had last year.  The School is aware of the situation and assures the students that there will be nothing to worry about.

There were comments about missing Exam Papers on the Library site from a couple of MSc class reps … and the worry was that there was a seeming a random pattern to the omitted papers.  Mary said she would look at this.


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