Staff Student Rep Meeting – Wednesday 16th October 2019

In attendance: Paul Jackson Senior Personal Tutor of Informatics Student Services, Richard Bell Computing Support Officer, Kendal Reid ITO

Apologies: Stuart Anderson Director of Teaching, Neil Heatley Head of ISS, Iain Dornan Student Support Officer


There has been no complaints this week, all the students are busy preparing for the class text next week.

The CL lab was reported to be good this week, and some improvements have been made since last week’s meeting.


DMMR the course is  well-structured and not having assessed tutorial sheets means the students can focus on understanding the most difficult questions.

They feel that there is too much information during lectures, the lectures could focus on how to approach proofs, rather than just walking through solutions.  Tutorial questions are too hard, meaning there is no time to go over all questions during the tutorial, the reading guide should be more explicit as to what is examinable and what isn’t and there are no suggested exercises to help with the difficult tutorial questions.


The students feel that the contents of the slides are overloaded with details, especially in Proofs, there is a lot of Maths involved which can be overwhelming for students who didn’t do Proofs and problem solving (a year one course offered by Maths for all Maths Honours and joint Honours students) last year, the tutorial sheets also contain a lot of Maths.  The students only have slides to refer to and they feel the lecturer skips through quite a lot.  They would also like if the lecturer could specify what they should be reading from the textbook that is recommended.


The students are really enjoying the course and the lecturer makes the lectures interesting but he tends to be late arriving for the lecture.  The coursework is reported to be difficult and very long, they are covering C this week and the coursework issued last week involves writing C first then MIPS code.  They feel that C should have been taught before MIPS and due to this they feel it would have been better to have released the coursework a bit later so they had more time to prepare.  The students would like more demonstrators to be available in the labs and they also feel that the lectures and labs are not well connected.


DBS the lecturer is not covering all the slides in the lecture, he is only getting through around half of them, the students asked if the lecturer could speed it up a bit, and maybe reduce the number of examples, also maybe ask the students some questions to engage with them during the lecture.

IAML some students had issues registering for Gradescope which was used for submitting the coursework this week, this was due to them not receiving some sign-up email from Gradescope.  It seems that Gradescope was not provided with an up-to-date class list, the lecturer has dealt with this.  They feel that the amount of material covered by each lecture recording is not well balanced: sometimes there is a rather a lot, sometimes rather less.

ILP more lab demonstrators would be good to help with the coursework as there is only one at the moment.  Currently, the course organisers (Stephen Gilmore & Paul) have not succeeded in recruiting any student demonstrators and Stephen alone has been demonstrating each week. Paul will now come along to the weekly lab sessions from now on.

IVR there are no tutorials or exercises for this course, so the students can’t asses their level of understanding, they would like some exercises of questions made available to help with this.


Honours projects the students have now all been assigned to groups but some groups have not yet heard from their Supervisors about arranging the project group meetings.

It was asked about solutions for Honours past exam papers, Paul said that the School has a policy not to release these, Paul noted that lecturers are encouraged to make available sample answers to some exam questions.  Reps indicated that this would be very helpful – it would help students gauge how to organise their answers and the amount of detail needed.  Unfortunately, currently very few lecturers on Honours courses make such sample solutions available.

It was remarked by a rep that students on Better Informatics do sometimes create their own solutions in order to help other students with exam preparation.


IVC  there is no slides available only videos of lecture recordings which have sound issues, Can the reps give us specific examples of the sound issues?  That would help us then figure out how to fix them.  (e.g. is the microphone not working or the lecturer forgetting to turn it on?)

There is also no Piazza or discussion forum set up only an on-line tutorial to participate on, the lecturer did say they would set things up but nothing has been done.  The Blackboard page on Learn is also empty.  The “Course Information” section on Learn is also empty there is no information on the two coursework’s which together count for 30% of the assessment, exercises and what is examinable.  There was a surprise quiz last week and the students done badly!  The lack of slides and general support for students learning the material strengthened their adverse reaction to then being given an unannounced pop-quiz on the material. *Action Stuart*

AFDS the content of the course is good but the lecturer talks to fast, and the students would like them to stop and pause and let the students take in what has been said, on the lecture recordings you can’t see the board, you can only hear what is being said.

*Action Alex Burford* to check whether the recording system is configured correctly for recording both video and audio at all lecture times.


The Blog hasn’t been updated since 13th March 2019*Action StuartUpdated.

There has been no communication made to the students regarding the use of Tophat recording attendance, they would like some information on this.  *Action Stuart* Email will go out this week.

Can more monitors be set up on Level 9?  Computing Support responded that they agreed that they can install 4x free standing monitors to AT level 9 for students to use with their laptops and they don’t imagine it will take too long to get organised.

The layout of information on Learn pages is not consistent.  E.g. lecture recordings are found in different places on different courses, students find it confusing when all information is not on Learn – they like consistency.   It is worst when the Learn pages do not even link to the pages off Learn.  Paul asked if the reps could alert us to this when this is the case he was aware it was for the UG4 projects page up to a few days ago and gets the feeling there are still other Learn pages out there where this is also the case.


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