Draft Agenda for Teaching Committee Meeting - 16 August 2002

  1. Arrangements for combined BE/MEngSc (and BE/ME)

    The Faculty of Engineering (approved by Academic Board 3 July 2001 www.secretariat.unsw.edu.au/acboard/agendas/agenda_2001/abag701.rtf ) recently introduced a combined umbrella program for all BEs that allows students to complete a combined BE/MEngSc in 4 years + summer session + session 1 (i.e. 4.5 calendar years). This is achieved by double counting two year 4 electives (the phrasing, as I recall, is "substitution of two postgraduate courses for year 4 electives", a meaningless distinction in our case, but less so in other Eng Schools). In the summer session at the end of their final BE year, students in other Schools would enrol in the 12 uc project that is a mandatory part of MEngSc degrees in those schools. See page 185 of the Undergraduate Handbook for the official description of this combined program. Note that the fact that it is in the handbook means that we are legally obliged to make it available to any student who qualifies for it. See below for penalties if we do not offer it.

    In our School, the MEngSc does not include a mandatory 12 uc project. The project, if taken, is 18uc, and access to it is subject to achieving a 75% average in the first four courses in the MEngSc. Depending on your interpretation, students enrolling in this program would either:

    • have completed no MEngSc courses and so have no MEngSc average;
    • have completed two MEngSc courses (the two "substitutions") and so have an MEngSc average but only over two courses;
    • have in most cases completed four courses that would be acceptable as part of an MEngSc program.

    Typically only at most half a dozen MEngSc students per session go the 18uc project route at present: note that this has a low impact on project supervision load. If students were instead to opt for 100% coursework within the MEngSc part of the BE MEngSc, then the enrolment pattern would presumably be 2 substitutions + 2 courses in summer session + 4 courses in session 1 of the following year. Problem: we have only offered one summer session course at an "advanced" level in the past. (In recent years, this has been a version of Computer Graphics, or Image Processing and Applications.)

    Our options: We are in a cleft stick: the program described on page 185 of the Undergraduate Handbook contradicts the description of the CSE MEngSc on page 116 of the Postgraduate Handbook. I presume that any student who asks for the program described on p. 185 must get it (see below) with the PG Coordinator approving appropriate substitutions (e.g. of a 12 uc project for the standard arrangements). We could probably try to persuade the student to follow the standard pattern, but if they insist on what's on p. 185, we have to provide it (again, see below).

    Another relevant part of the Faculty Handbook is the BE MEngSc program rules at the top of page 164 of the handbook. Rule 3 states that a "minimum average of 65% in the first 3 years is required for consideration for entry to the combined degree program." Note that we normally require a higher cutoff than this. It is not clear what is meant by "consideration". Another nuisancy program rule indicates that no BE student (presumably who wishes to go the BE MEngSc route) may enrol in any graduate course until the first six semesters of the program are successfully completed.

    In the meantime, we have to decide on our desired revision to this combined program and try to get it into place ASAP. The BE/MEngSc scheme is desirable to provide access to the BE/ME combined program, which as Albert Nymeyer has pointed out, is a standard type of program in Europe, and according to Tim Hesketh is leading to significant interest from European students in spending part or all of their university time at UNSW. ME students will in future be *significantly* more attractive financially than PG coursework students, as the funding weighting for these is dropping to 1.6-1.7, while local ME (or MSc or PhD) students will have a weighting of about 4.7 (2.3 for internationals) (but then we've got to provide supervision, but then that helps our research output).

    How the BE/ME and BE/MSc work. [From p. 162, UG Handbook, 2002.]
    Admission Guidelines: An applicant for the BE ME or BE MSc program should, at the time of application, be enrolled in the 4.5 years fast-track Faculty of Engineering BE MEngSc program and have just completed the requirements for the BE component at a minimum of Honours Class 2 or equivalent. Applications to transfer to the ME or MSc degree should be made to the Registrar.

    Failure to honour an advertised program is likely to lead to an Ombudsman appeal. This has occurred, within a couple of weeks of introduction of the Ombudsman legislation, at UNSW, and led to the relevant School being "paralysed" for two weeks by the requirements of the Ombudsman's office. The legislation provides for fines for the institution in the million dollar range, and sanctions for individual staff members involved, as well. Source: Prof. Tim Hesketh (Assoc. Dean, Education).

    I am seeking Tim Hesketh's confirmation on some issues described above.

  2. Default electronic lecturer surveys: It is proposed that in the case of a lecturer not arranging for a survey of his/her lecturing performance during session, a default electronic survey will be instituted on the lecturer's behalf. As usual, access to the results would only be available to the lecturer whose performance is thereby rated.

  3. Summer session 2002-3. We need to confirm offerings and allocations.

    COMP1021Computing 1Bwho
    COMP9024Data Structures & Algorithmswho

  4. Review of COMP1001: After several years of popularity, enrolments in COMP1001 Introduction to Computing are falling.

    One possibility is to beef it up by amalgamating its content with that of COMP1091. The market for COMP1091 is mostly maths students needing a 1-session intro to computing with C. Another would be to alternate COMP1001 and COMP1091, although the declining numbers suggest that that might not work indefinitely.

  5. Administrative revision (new plan) for BSc Computer Science to cater for Co-op students. Proposal details are here.

  6. Working party to introduce combined programs for BE Bioinformatics.

    We need to have:

  7. Working party to review BE Computer Engineering
    To be chaired by Sri Parameswaran.

  8. Review of MEngSc Faculty-wide

    Details to follow. This was instigated by a Heads of Schools' retreat in July 2002. The main headline so far is that PG courses with less that about 64* students (including UG students in our case, I believe, e.g. COMP3231 + COMP9201) are not breaking even according to generous financial estimates. We have very few of these, and in most cases there are good reasons why they are small, or why they are desirable. [* the figure quoted by Tim Hesketh is 32, but this assumes that each academic teaches 4 courses (each 6 uc) per year. It also does not include the cost of class admin support, which however normally occurs only in classes with at least 100 students.]

  9. Discussion of Program Transfer Process

TC To-Do List

(not necessarily to be done by the TC, but teaching-related)

School of Computer Science & Engineering
The University of New South Wales
Sydney 2052, AUSTRALIA
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