Reps Meeting 25/10/2017

In attendance: Stuart Anderson, Director of Teaching, Neil Heatley, ISS Manager, Kendal Reid, ITO.
Stuart updated the Reps from the issues of last weeks meeting:

  • Professional Issues the course slides are now available on the course page and indications of what chapters of the book have to be read.
  • Stuart will talk to the Programming Club about the use of the main lab on level 6 and taking up the space and evicting students from the lab while it is on.
  • Attendance recording in MLP via Tophat, this is purely done as an engagement process to target any students that don’t show to classes due to any course or health issues etc.
  • Print credit will be looked into by Computing Support, especially for tutors and UG4 students working on their 4th year project.

The students have just had the INF1-FP mock exam and the feedback from it was good.

The reps are going to put together a questionnaire to give out to the students to get feedback regarding INF1-CL and INF1-FP, they are going to talk to the course lecturers.

INF1-CL the students would like more support for this course, it was suggested it would be good to maybe have a couple of sessions a week in Infpals to be dedicated on INF1-CL, it was also suggested that the students could email the Infpal leaders asking them what they would like to be covered.  Also INF1-CL only provides slides and the students have requested that there are more resources are made available a reading list would be useful, Stuart will talk to Mike.  Students could also look at the past papers on the library web page

INF2A coursework one has been released and it was reported that it is well written and understandable.

The deadline is tomorrow Thursday 26th October and all appears to be well with this.

AILP: the students asked why this is called Artificial Intelligence Large Practical when it doesn’t cover anything in AI.  This will be raised with the course lecturer.

The feedback from part one of Compiling Techniques has not been returned to the students and part 2 is due tomorrow (Thursday 26th October), each coursework for this course is dependant on one another and they relay on the feedback first to enable them to complete the next part correctly. Stuart will talk to the lecturer.
Extreme Computing has not released any coursework dates to the students, Stuart will talk to the lecturer.

No issues.

  • Neil explained that if any students are picked up on our system as using Bitcoin mining, using the School or University’s resources for personal wealth will be given a fine, these kind of things are picked up when monitoring a students data use.
  • The ladies toilets on level 4 the door locks are still missing or broken, Neil will look into this as he thought it had been fixed.
  • Neil will talk to the UG4 students about their ideas on designing final year hoodies.
  • The exam timetable will be issued on Thursday 26th October.
  • Stuart thanked the students for going along to the Coffee morning in the Forum last week, it was well attended and good for the students and staff to mingle.  There was a suggestion by Neil of a mulled wine and mince pie event nearer Christmas and some dates were asked but not agreed, but the students felt before the exam diet starts would be a good idea.
  • Computing Support has asked the students not to unplug any of the machines in the labs.
  • The School has a budget for students who wish to apply to attend certain events such as computing competitions, Neil will develop a proposal for an application process and consult.  We need to identify suitable events:  Could reps identify any events that would be worthwhile?
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Followup to Reps Meeting 18/10/2017


  • Programming Club excluded people from the lab because they were doing a mock interview exercise.  This was for one week only.  We will look at timing any such events better in future.
  • Professional Issues should be up to date now.


  • School is revisiting the issue of print credit and will resolve this shortly – in particular pruning to support tutoring/demonstrating will be covered.


  • We take attendance to help monitor engagement so we can identify students with issues that should be contacted by their tutor.  No event in Informatics is compulsory and the attendance is only taken to monitor engagement.


  • The blog is operating now – there were some issues in it being taken over by the new director of teaching.
  • The lifts will be a problem until all the work in the Appleton Tower is complete.  When three lifts are operating the system seems to work well (for those who are able, using the stairs is a healthy option…)
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Reps Meeting 18/10/2017

No issues

No issues

There was complaints about a Programming club being held in the main lab on level 6, Room 6.06 on Friday 13th between 11am – 1pm, none of the students were able to access the room and there was coursework deadlines, the ITO are looking into this.
Professional Issues the students who have bought the book which was recommended have still not be told what chapters they are meant to be reading.

The students were asking about print credit some of them are tutors and have to print off documents for tutorials and they don’t appear to have an extra free credit.

Computer Graphics the students feel one lecturer is very good and the other is unprepared, Alan said that if the students feel the content of the course is not be covered correctly, then talk to the lecturer.

MLP it was asked why the lecturer is taking attendance in the lectures, the lecturer has decided to do this as there is no tutorials for this course to record attendance, so he is using Tophat to record attendance as an engagement point for the course.

The Reps were asking when the blog would be updated, and there are still complaints about the lifts.

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Reps Meeting Wednesday 11/10/2017

In attendance: Reps, Alan Smaill, Deputy Director of Teaching, Neil Heatley, ISS Manager, Kendal Reid, ITO

INF1-CL and INF1-FP had lectures slot swaps at the start of the Semester and although the students were informed by email and the information was on the course web pages, some students taking the course optionally didn’t get an email! INF1-FP there was ATOM issues with Haskell.

There is an issue with DMMR with the dot-cam and the sound, students at the back of the lecture theatre cannot hear or see the screen.  It was asked why the DMMR weekly submissions have been changed from a weekly paper submission to electronic submissions, this was changed due to the amount of admin the weekly submission was to the ITO.  It was asked if the ITO could consider having allocated tutor group boxes for them to submit?  Some tutors also said they find the pdf files that are submitted are quite hard to read.  Alan will talk to the lecturers.

The question asked at last weeks meeting regarding the lack of available machines or use of the machines when classes are on, is when Level 7 re-opens there is a plan to install some machines in there and also possibly installing wall mounted machines on level 9. Level 9 will only be open to final year students around mid November and MSc students during the Summer period while they work on their Dissertations, this space will hold roughly 70 people.

IQC is not being recorded, the School is not obliged to record lectures, it is up to the lecturer, the students can request this but the decision lies with the lecturer.

This course has a new lecturer but when the first coursework was released it was a slide deck and had no specification, extra tasks which are vague are still being added and the students still have no real idea of what is expected of them for this coursework.  Alan will talk to the lecturer.

IRR some tutorial groups still do not have any tutors, the ITO is aware of this and it is a staffing issue, it is being dealt with.

Computing Support are looking at putting together a web page that indicates what labs are being used and when, allowing students to see what is available and if the labs will be at full capacity while the classes are on.  Currently Appleton Tower does not have any defined study space but the students can go onto MYed and find find bookable rooms within the University.

There are no locks on the ladies toilets doors on level 4, Appleton Tower.  Neil will look into this.

There is still an issue with the lifts, one is being used solely by the contractors on level 9, but the plan is for level 9 to be handed back to us soon, then the use of this lift will be fully functional, the other lift is still under renovation and hopefully be back in use by December.

The Reps asked if it was necessary to sign in and out of the Forum every time, Neil explained that this is for security as the Forum is a research facility is it essential that everyone signs in and out, so we know who is in the building but he could look into the possibility of just showing their student ID instead.

Microwave this has now been cleaned by a volunteer students, this will be situated on Level 4, kitchen area, as no food or drink is allowed on level 6.  If this is not kept clean by users then will be permanently removed by the ITO.

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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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