Staff Student Rep Meeting – 7th October 2020

Staff Student Rep Meeting – Wednesday 7th October 2020

In attendance: Bjoern Franke Director of Teaching, Neil Heatley Head of Student Services, Lisa Branney Student Support Officer, Gordon Reid Computing Support, Jade Gilhooly Deputy Teaching Organisation Manager, Kendal Reid ITO

Bjoern welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked the Reps for taking the position as Reps and explained that these meetings are to keep a level of communication open between the year reps and the staff in Informatics. Everyone then introduced themselves with their name, degree programme and year of study.

UG1

UG1 students are asking if it is possible to have to have some communication with the older students to advise them on various things being new students to the University to cover things such as how to help with the transisiton from School to University, things such as how to manage their workflow, deadlines. Paul Anderson has volunteered to try and organise something. It was advised that there is INFPals, CompSoc Academic Families, Hoppers and Informatics Connect that the students can go to.

UG1

UG1 Rep commented: While many of the first year students are beginning to settle into their routinely deadlines and studying habits, there is a considerable amount of first year undergraduates raising concerns about the tight deadlines in the Maths course: Introduction to Linear Algebra.
ILA runs on a unique schedule of Wed -> Wed. During the first part of its “week” (Wed -> weekend), students are given readings and lecture recordings to watch, as well as Q&A sessions to attend and optional discussion material to do. These are all relatively passive learning material.
However, during the latter part of ILA’s week (Mon -> Wed) is where it becomes much more hectic. A Practice Quiz and Assessed Quiz is released on Monday due Wednesday, and there are biweekly homework proof assignments, also released on Monday due Wednesday. To quote one
student, we “have to drop everything and focus on maths.” Although we are told that the deadlines are the same every week, the tight schedule in which the material is released two days before it is due, induces more stress than necessary.

I have asked Professor Chris Sangwin about this, and he said, “we have tested various methods, and this is the most effective way students learn.” However, with remote learning already creating enough chaos already, I believe it is wiser to release all the week’s material on Wednesday, and keep the deadlines as is, spread throughout the week.
Surely, the current 2-day span from release-to-due is not enough to judge the difficulty of assignment properly and assign scheduled time to focus on it. *Action Bjoern Franke he has spoken to Stuart King (DoT Maths) and he’s speaking with the ILA course organiser*

UG4

MLP

Lack of communication from MLP, feels like there’s very little Interaction with staff.

MLPR

Can be improved. MLPR has been difficult, not even support.

NC

Natural Computing lecture content doesn’t seem to be translating into the weekly quizzes and tutorials, they require a significant amount of external reading but resources are not being provided for this.

Terribly organized course. Audio issues, impossible to clearly understand the lecturer, no references to slide material (a book/lecture notes which we could read in such case).

Honours Project

Honours Project learn page is not being used, and all important deadlines such as for reports and surveys are only given through email- something which can be very easily missed.

The projects don’t account for the fact that setting up your machine to do the project remotely can take weeks.

General

Due to the rising figures of Covid-19 and confirmed cases within the University, if any students who are concerned the can use the link below to report concern about a person’s behaviour.

https://www.ed.ac.uk/students/academic-life/conduct/good-citizen-guide/good-citizen-guidelines-form

Some students are complaining they do not have their courses in person even though they have arrived Edinburgh. It was promised the hybrid learning, they are concerned about what time they can have face-to-face tutorials or labs. Some students find it is really difficult to have the labs online. Bjoern replied that although there are in house tutorials taking place the attendance has been very low, if no students at all.

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