Followup on Reps Meeting 4/10/2017

General Issues

  • Map of available machines – this appears to be difficult to do immediately but we will look into it more thoroughly and report back.  There is an approved project proposal for this but it has not so far been resourced.
  • People running jobs in the background, response from computing officers: “Running background jobs is allowed. However students doing so are told to use “nice”( a linux command) and are told to logout and not to put up signs saying “do not use this machine”.  Students are also told that they can reboot any machine they cannot use because of a background job or that has any sign on it like this. Students cannot kill others students jobs themselves, but they can easily log out other students on machines without having to reboot, and they are told how to do this.

    We are going to send out a reminder. Having a sheet stating the
    policy in the labs themselves (on every desk is probably overkill)
    seems like a good idea though.”

  • Additional Power: This is the response from health and safety: “All the open areas on each floor (3,4,5,6) have spare power sockets round the walls. Most L3,4  labs have additional sockets round the walls and/or on the desks.

    The difficulty might be in the labs on levels 5 and 6 where most sockets are used for our PCs. Both lab areas are heavily used and are not setup for additional connections (lab equipment sharing bus bars with student equipment is not usually allowed because a fault in student equipment could cause issues with lab power).

    On L5 we have a minor works project in the coming year and there may be the opportunity to add additional sockets then.

    Additional sockets were not added to L6, due the inability to provide separate bus bars.

Professional Issues
Slides and reading should be available now.

There are some issues with this – we are still investigating what can be done


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Reps Meeting 4/10/2017

Stuart thanked the students for volunteering to be Class Reps for 2017/18. This task will involve being a voice for the years they represent to cover any issues on a weekly basis, bigger issues such as curriculum issues will be covered by Board of Studies and conduct of
Teaching will be covered by Teaching Committee, both these committees welcome Rep attendance.

The Rep names will be sent to EUSA who will be in touch in due course regarding any training the Reps may require.  It is important that Reps are properly trained since they are intended to be “representative” of all points of view in the School.

Near the end of Semesters Reps will be invited to attend Staff Student Liaison Meetings, this will be a meeting solely based on the years involved along with teaching staff from that year, to go over any specific course issues.

General Issues
Students were asking about the use of the PC’s, can they access PC’s while there are labs and tutorials on, the answer is yes, as long as they do not disrupt teaching. Stuart suggested that it maybe worth looking to block booking part of the labs that are being used if the class is smaller than the capacity of the room.

It was also asked for more power point sockets for use of personal laptops.

There is still an ongoing issue with students running programs in the background on the machines and they are unoccupied but logged in, Computing Support could maybe inform the students that this isn’t allowed.

Professional Issues
The course has not uploaded any slides yet and the students have bought the book that was recommended for reading but not been informed as to what chapters are relevant.

The lecturer is not recording any of his lectures, Stuart will talk to the course lecturer regarding this.

Students were asking about the December exam diet dates and do we know when the last exams will be, Stuart explained that Registry deal with the exam timetabling and not the School and we do not have any input in the final timetable.

There was a discussion over the timing of examinations.  College policy is that courses should be examined in the semester they are taught.  We are moving to that policy but it may take a couple of years to complete.

I was asked about Learn, most of Informatics do not use Learn but on the Learn pages it should have a direct link to each course specific, if the courses are on Learn it means that no-one can see anything about the course, even external students and Informatics staff don’t agree with this.  The School is discussing moving to use Learn more systematically.

There doesn’t appear to be any groups of Piazza for this course.

DMMR is now going to be submitted weekly electronically, students don’t necessarily have to submit on a DICE machine, this can be done via SSH.

Personal Tutors
It was asked if a student who was doing a Informatics degree but want to do more with Maths, could they be allocated a PT from Maths, but Stuart explained that if the Degree is owned by Informatics then it has to be an Informatics PT, but it could be looked at in future into allocating a PT who has a more knowledgeable background of Maths.

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Minutes of Meeting on 26/04/2017

In attendance: Bjoern Franke (Director of Teaching), Paul Anderson (UG1 Course Organiser), Christophe Dubache (UG3 Course Organiser), Jennifer Oxley (Computing Support), Sharon Goldwater

Bjoern and Sharon have been in discussion about setting up a survey for MSc Students to find out what the students expectations are when they start their courses, are their expectations met? is the courses meeting with what their expectations are when they apply for course and what the expect from their Degree. This will be different from the PTES survey University wide survey which closes on the 16th June, this one will be specifically for Informatics information only and is intended to directly inform changes of the MSc programme. The plan is to open the survey soon and close it towards the end of May.

BIO2 coursework 2 – the students felt the feedback was quite brief and would have liked more information.

There was more discussion about how the IRP and IRR courses were graded. Previously both IRR and IRP were pass/fail, where course credit was considered for progression/degree classification, but the no course mark was considered for the calculation of averages. The University has changed regulations and pass/fail courses now count towards averages (where a pass counts as a mark of 50%). In order to enable students to obtain a better mark than 50% and to encourage early focus on the project we changed IRP to carry a numerical mark rather than to keep it pass/fail. IRR is different in that nuanced marking of a literature review is difficult and the School would encourage students to focus on training this skill rather than worrying too much about marks. Hence, we kept pass/fail classification for IRR. The School continues to review its arrangements for both IRR and IRP, though.

It was also mentioned that deadlines cluster at the end of semester. Bjoern said this is to some extend unavoidable since some pieces of coursework can only be handed out or started once the material has been covered in the lectures and students also require sufficient time for working on the coursework. Generally, this problem is related to short semesters (please also see this document for last year’s consultation on the structure of the academic year: The School is looking to reducing assessment via coursework for the future.

The students would like more revision material to be made available or some kind of clarification on what slides would be useful to the exam. They have asked the lecturer with no response.

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Minutes of Meeting on 12/04/2017

In attendance: UG2, UG4/5, MSc reps, Alison Downie, Paul Anderson, Bjoern Franke

UG1: =/=

is generally fine, but students complained about the mismatch of time required for the coursework and the coursework weight. Bjoern explained that time and weight are not related, but it’s the coverage of learning outcomes that determines the coursework weight. Some material and some learning outcomes are best learned and assessed in practical work, which often takes proportionally more time. Yet, if e.g. only one of five learning outcomes is assessed in a piece of coursework then it typically attracts around 20% weight, even though it may take up more than 20% of the time for that course. This acknowledges that learning outcomes and the time it takes to achieve those learning outcomes are not necessarily correlated and weighting credit by time rather than achievement would skew assessment unfavourably.

There have been concerns about the INF2D coursework marks. Some submissions have been re-evaluated due to mistakes. In a meeting with the year organiser the lecturer agreed to provide individual feedback such that students would be able to check where they lost marks and seek clarification if required. Up to this point this feedback has not yet been provided by the lecturer.

Apparently, contradictory information was provided, i.e. information confirmed by the TA was not what was considered at the time of marking. There is also some amount of inconsistency between marks obtained for similar submissions.

The students suggested that the INF2D exam paper should be carefully scrutinised to avoid ambiguities and confusion. Bjoern explained the School’s exam scrutiny process, where each exam paper is scrutinised by two members of staff. Additionally, the year organiser and Convener of the Exam Board are involved in this process, and exam papers are also scrutinised by an External Examiner. Details of the process can be found here:

AILP marks and feedback have now been returned.

marks have not yet been returned and are now overdue.

The IRP deadline has been moved by one day due to contradictory information on two different web pages, one of which the course organiser wasn’t aware.

There are no past papers available for IMC. Could the sample paper considered at BoS for course approval be made available?

There have been clusters of deadlines around the end of the semester. Whilst this is unavoidable to some degree and due to the short lengths of the semesters, this was subsequently discussed at Teaching Committee. We will investigate the provision of a coursework calendar such that students, lecturers and year organisers can get a better overview of deadlines and hopefully avoid setting deadlines to conflict with too many others.


It was reported that some students take food and drink into the computer labs and leave behind a mess. Whilst cleaners are regularly cleaning the labs it is ultimately the students’ responsibility to stick to the rules and keep facilities clean. Computing officers directly approach students found violating the rules, but students are also encouraged to remind fellow students to *not* leave behind machines in an unusable state due to food and drink “contamination”.

Students have asked about an update on Appleton Tower, especially when space would become available for MSc students over the summer.

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Staff Student Rep Meeting 05/04/2017

In attendance: Mary Cryan (UG3 Course Organiser), Rik Sarkar (UG2 Course Organiser), Carol Dow (Computing Support)

No reps were in attendance.

No reps were in attendance, but they had been in contact with Bjoern Franke about issues with the INF2D coursework 1 marking, the low marks and the lack of feedback. Bjoern is meeting with Michael Herrmann the lecturer and Rik Sarkar the Course Organiser. There is also a INF2B deadline due today 5th April.

Update: Rik has met with Michael. Some issues around INF2D marking have been identified and some submissions got re-evaluated. Michael has agreed to release individualised feedback to enable students to check where they have lost marks. As of yesterday (April 12, 2017) this hasn’t yet happened.

No reps were in attendance.

No reps were in attendance as the 4th Year Project deadline is tomorrow, Thursday 6th April.

IRP: There appears to be confusion whether or not the course is marked on a

Update from Mary: Slides online right now (from IRP introductory lecture) say
“numerical mark” for IRP. The MSc rep which talked about this thought that they were originally told pass/fail but slides have been *edited*. She also asked could there be a later IRP deadline in future years. I think it’s not *allowed* by Uni/CSE to go past week 12
(as I mentioned to her, it will of course help if we enforce our coursework deadlines to satisfy the rules we have for deadline-setting).

The students would like more example slides for revision for MLPR and RC.

Update from Mary: What they want is “Example questions with answers” as
these are theoretical courses (and the exam paper solutions are not published). (*) For MLPR I thought that getting solutions to
(a) coursework questions and
(b) 5 tutorial sheets
sounded like enough. *But* we may want to ask the MLPR lecturer(s) can they do more??

(*) For RC I will try to put up a bit more stuff, and have some office hours late April/early May.

SP only has a past paper from 2013/2014 available on the Library web page, Mary will will talk to the lecturer and see if any more can be available.

Update from Mary: Will ask him (sending email now)

It was asked if it was ok for students the use any open spaces in the Informatics Forum, and it is although some spaces can be noisier than others i.e. MF1 is quieter than MF2. There are also areas on all floors by the stairs that have chairs and plug sockets, students can also use the library.

The plan to move back to Appleton Tower will start in May, when level 5 will be opened up for students to use over the summer.

Students are still eating and drinking at the PC’s in the Drill Hall, which shouldn’t be happening, despite their being signs and emails sent out.


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Minutes of Meeting on 29/03/2017

In attendance: Bjoern Franke (Director of Teaching), Heather Walker
(Communications Officer, Jennifer Oxley (Computing Support)

Heather Walker opened the meeting with information on a Come and Meet the Graduates working in local Industry, this will be a Q and A session in the Informatics Forum, Room 4.31/4.33 on Monday 3rd April 2017 from 6pm – 7pm.

She also asked the Reps if they are aware of any issues of laddish behaviour, in which they said they were not aware of any situations but sometimes people can take things the wrong way depending on their personalties.  The School will shortly be conducting Staff and
Student culture surveys to look at the culture of Informatics from a diversity and equally point of view.  The last student culture survey was 2014.

Everything is going well, the INF1-OP and Calculus Mock exams are starting next week.

No Reps attended this week.

No Reps attended this week.

ALE is now one month late, Bjoern will talk with the lecturer.  There was some concern over the labs being shut next week due to the INF1 mock exams as the 4th year Project deadline is on Thursday 6th April.

The weighting for MLP seems to be unbalanced, the 1st coursework is worth 10, 2 and 3 are work 25 and the last one is worth 40, they feel that if they do badly on the final coursework they could potentially fail the course.

Bjoern is still in talks with Gillian Bell (ITO Manager) about anonymous marking. Students feel that they are spending too much time on TNLP which is a 10 credit course, Bjoern will also talk with the lecturer and give him an opportunity to reply to the Blog.

Jennifer said that Alison Downie would like to thank the students for paying attention to the information she has sent out about running jobs in the backgrounds. Although some students are still blocking machines and/or using the student gateway machines (e.g. SSH or NX servers), they have been advised to use a cluster or compute server. It was also asked that students DO NOT unplug the machines.  Computing Support are also trying to keep an eye on the cleanliness of the machines, but some student insist on eating and drinking at the machines, and this is not suppose to happen.

Study space was mentioned, there is limited space within Forrest Hill but the students can also utilise the space in Appleton Tower, the main library and the Informatics Forum.

The University has licensed, in which students can search video lectures
on various topics and information on Java, C Programming and many other topics.


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Minutes of Meeting on 22/03/2017

In attendance: Bjoern Franke (Director of Teaching), Paul Anderson (UG1 Course Organiser), Neil Heatley (ISS Manager), Lindsay Brown (Computing Support)

Background: For several years Schools across the University have arranged Staff-Student Liaison Meetings towards the end of each semester, giving student reps the opportunity to feed back issues to year organisers and course lecturers. Within Informatics have felt this setting wasn’t ideal since course improvements could only be considered for the next year, whereas earlier and more regular meetings could initiate more immediate action. For this reason we have started our weekly meetings with the student reps, which turn out to be effective in identifying and eliminating course delivery issues. For consultation: Since the end-of-semester staff-student liaison meetings appear to have become redundant with the introduction weekly DoT/student rep meetings, should we discontinue with them?

No issues. The ,ock exam dates are out for INF1-OP and there aren’t any complaints, just the last date of the exam is the Monday after the week of teaching ends.

No Reps in attendance – due to deadlines

No Reps in attendance – due to deadlines

No Reps in attendance – due to deadlines

There are a lot of coursework submissions due this week. This is unfortunate, but it is up the to the student to manage their time to enable them to submit on time. Lecturers have limited options to stagger deadlines due to the short duration of the semester. The ITO could look into creating a submission calendar for students to see when they have to submit, this could be looked into for next year.

Forrest Hill is now being cleaned more regularly on a daily basis, but as the toilets are cleaned my males the female toilets will now be closed off when cleaning is in process enabling the cleaners to clean the toilets properly without interruption.  The cleaners have asked that no toiletries be left in the toilets, if they are they will be thrown away.
There will also be cleaning done on a Saturday and Sunday.

The dog stroking session has only 50% slots filled, if these slots are not filled by Informatics, it will be advertised to another School allowing for all the slots to be filled.

Bjoern is in talks with Gillian Bell (ITO Manager) to discuss the options of the students collecting their returned coursework in a more confidential way.

Neil is in talks with the MSc Students regarding the design of the new Hoodies.


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Minutes of Meeting on 15/03/2017

In attendance: Bjoern Franke (Director of Teaching), Christophe Dubach (UG3 Course Organiser), Paul Jackson (MSc Course Organiser), Jennifer Oxley (Computing Support)

Bjoern said that the some of the 10-credit point courses are soon coming to an end of their

No Reps in attendance.

No Reps in attendance but the UG2 Staff Student Liaison was held in the morning.

No Reps in attendance.

AGTA the last coursework is due on the same day at the 4th year Project hand-in, Bjoern will talk to Kousha Etessami the lecturer.
ALE coursework 2 was 5 days late in being realised and the coursework is the same as last year, it hasn’t been updated. Bjoern will talk with the lecturer Helen Pain.
CN coursework 2 is quite overloaded with having 4 literature papers to read, the students feel it could be a bit more refined.

MLP deadlines was extended as there was an authentication error and the students didn’t have access to the cluster, so it made sense for the deadline to be extended. It was asked about the impact these deadline changes have on part-time students, Bjoern will look into this.

It was also asked about the late submission policy, at the moment these guidelines are set by College but each School has wiggle room in their own policies. Teaching Committee will discuss our current 0 mark for any late submissions, but the School is looking at ways to define “substantial parts of assessment” for which a 5% deduction per day of being late can be applied.

PM and CQI are very good.

It was asked if IRP tutorial attendance is mandatory, Bjoern will also look into this.

RC was discussed off-line with the lecturer.

The students are not happy when they collect their coursework from ITO, as some lecturers require the students to put their names on the front and other students are able to see their marks, Bjoern will look into this.

It was also asked if students were able to find out where in the ranking do they fall in the coursework marks being returned. The School deliberately does not provide this information for (at least) two reasons: (a) It does not support or enhance the students’ learning, and (b) it potentially increases pressure on vulnerable students, e.g. suffering from anxiety or other mental health issues, which could be exacerbated through continued comparative information related to one’s individual academic standing with respect to the overall student cohort.


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Minutes of Meeting on 08/03/2017

In attendance: Bjoern Franke (Director Teaching), Christophe Dubach (UG3 Course Organiser), Neil Heatley (ISS Manager), Alison Downie (Computing Support)

Bjoern informed the Reps that the late return of the AILP mark has now been escalated to the Head of School.  IRR feedback has now been released – this was late due to some tutors returning their marks late.  There was a Theon error that caused there to be a problem with the distribution of the ATFD and PM marks, this has also been fixed.  The April exam timetable has now been released.

No issues.

There was a problem with the INF2D coursework 1, the files were not up to date and this caused some confusion, the students had tried to contact the TA and lecturer with no response. It was asked if an extension could be given. Bjoern has now spoke to the lecturer and an 3 days extension has now been granted until Tuesday 14th March.

The Reps are happy with the exam timetable being quite spaced out between exams.

No Reps attended, due to a coursework deadline.

No Reps attended as the UG4 Rep meeting was being held with the Course Organiser.

The Reps felt that the RL coursework was difficult and very time consuming, and should be reviewed for next year.  Some students did not realise that the IRR course was just a pass or fail.  MLP coursework 3 has been returned but the students would have liked to have more feedback on the marking and the grades issued.  Steve Renals has emailed the DoT with more information on the marking – please contact the lecturer if there are specific questions.

The bins in Forrest Hill are overflowing, it was asked if there could be more supplied.  There is some concern over the well-being of some students. Neil will send out a general email about students taking care of themselves in the lead up to the exams.  It was also asked if showers will be available in Appleton Tower, but this would need to be looked into.

Neil also said that K9 (canine massage clinic) Scotland has invited Informatics to take part in a 20 minute dog stroking session, this would be held in Teviot with 100 slots available to book possibility around the 14th April.

There is still issues with students running jobs in the back ground on the PC’s, Computer Support have been checking the labs and kicking people of the PC’s who are stopping others from using them.  They are currently updating the CS web page with information on how students can log people of on their own and will put up more posters.

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Minutes of Meeting on 01/03/2017

In attendance: Bjoern Franke (Director Teaching), Paul Anderson (UG1 Course Organiser), Neil Heatley (ISS Manager), Alison Downie (Computing Support)

All appears to be running smoothly and the students have no issues.

Everything is running smoothly, INF2D coursework 1 was late in being released, it appeared to have information in it from last years coursework and the PDF was confusing.

AILP feedback has still not been returned to the students, Bjoern will talk to the lecturer again.  Software Testing lectures are running a week behind due to staff illness, Bjoern informed the Reps that all courses have additional room booking slots, that can be used to catch up for missed classes, revision slots etc.  COMN there was confusion about the submission due today on the course web page and Piazza page at 4pm, Bjoern suggested the Rep talk to the lecturer as soon as possible.

RLSC coursework had some issues and although the TA had replied to individual students, it was felt his responses would have been better being sent to the class.
There is a voluntary thing for the 4th years to produce a poster and Informatics would print them, as part of a demonstration of their 4th Year Project, but they would have liked more time to do this as the turn around was 3 days.

The project allocations have now taken place, and roughly 75% out of 350 were allocated one of their top 3 choices, despite extreme popularity of projects in Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning and limited members of staff covering these areas. To create more supervision capacity the School has allocated Teaching Assistants to assist the supervisors.  A few students didn’t not get their choice and they are currently being assisted. The Reps said they didn’t receive an email to say that their projects were allocated, Bjoern will look into this.

The students are still waiting on their IRR feedback but the ITO is still waiting on some tutors returning their feedback.

IRP: Students would like more topic tailored groups and examples specific to the topics. Bjoern said the students should talk to the Supervisors.  The School is looking at IRP structure for next year, maybe a split cohort between students who want to do either industry oriented development projects or research projects.

RL deadline was due on Monday 28th and then moved on Monday afternoon to Thursday 2nd, this was due to the environment having a bug, the students had asked on the Piazza page but there was no response from the lecturer.

AFTD the feedback is late and the students need it back as soon as possible so the can go ahead with coursework 2 and the students feel the lecturer is a bit unapproachable.

The flies in the Drill Hall are still a nuisance, Neil Heatley will talk to Estates and Buildings again.

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