CSE Teaching Committee, Minutes of Meeting, 10 October 2007

The meeting commenced at 2:05pm.

Present: John Shepherd (chair), Alan Blair, Adam Brimo (from 2:20pm), Richard Buckland, Oliver Diessel (from 2:30pm), Aleks Ignjatovic, Gabi Keller, Rex Kwok, Ashesh Mahidadia (from 2:15pm), Maurice Pagnucco, John Potter, Arthur Ramer, Ken Robinson, Will Uther, Geoff Whale, Wayne Wobcke, Jingling Xue

  1. Review of foundation streams (COMP19[12][17], COMP2911) - Richard Buckland
    (revisions for these courses passed at Faculty Standing Committee)

    An extensive email discussion had already taken place on issues related to this item prior to the meeting.

    Richard talked about changes for the 12 week term as well as the impact from flexible first year. Our intake now consists of students with a wide range of backgrounds and motivations for studying computing, and we need to look at ways to split courses to accommodate these different types of student. Alan commented on his experiences with 1911 and how he had changed his course content to 12 week teaching to provide content, Gabi also commented on her experiences with 1911.

    A mark statistics breakdown for students taking 1911, 1921 and ENGG1811 from S1,06 to S1,07 was distributed.

    It was pointed out that Elec Eng students are not (necessarily) as interested in computing but are required to do it. (Similar considerations apply to Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronic Engineering students).

    Aleks and Richard argued for changing course names to more accurately reflect content, Ken disagreed with their suggestions for names (but not with the principle of changing names). Alan commented on the course descriptions.

    Adam queried the reasoning for having 1917 as a core requirement for CSE programs. Ken indicated that he was going to insist on 1917 as core for Software Engineering students.

    Arthur raised the problems (raised by EET) of EE students failing 'en masse'. It was pointed out that EE had originally had its students taking computing in S2 which meant that the S2 version of COMP1911 (or earlier incarnations) was taught slightly different to accommodate their requirements. Under the new flexible first year, EE has allowed/encouraged its students to take the S1 computing offering, which could be causing some of the problems.

    Richard showed a diagram of how he saw 1911, 1917, 1921, 1927 and 2911 fitting together, with bullet-point list of content for each course. Essentially, 1911 is a subset of 1917 covering "just" core programming. Similarly, 1921 is a subset of 1927, focussing on "core" data structures and algorithms. Richard also described how 1st year students will follow the streams of course.

    Alan agreed with what what Richard was describing, Aleks also agreed but argued that CSE students should still be able to take 1911, but pointed out the need for a "bridging" course after 1921 to allow those student a smoother transition into 2911. The approved proposal allows this transition after consultation with the 2911 LIC to determine what "catch up" each 1921 students needs. This transition, however, does not become an issue until 09s1.

    Adam pointed out that CSE students should be allowed to do 1911 or 1917, to accommodate the different types of student we have eg Comp Sci and Soft Eng. Alan disagreed about the intent behind the choice.

    Oliver queried Richard on what material will be taken out of the courses to fit into the new 12 week terms.

    It was discussed whether/how programs would be able accommodate two possible computing streams as well the possible extra course after 1921.

    Oliver again pointed out his concern over the possible content and how it will be accommodated in the 12 week term.

    Gabi had suggestions on how to set up courses to limit EE students access to 1917, Oliver questioned the need for two streams. Gabi pointed out at the pass rates as the reason.

    One of the issues raised for the split of COMP1911 was class size. ENGG1811 has been operating with much larger class sizes than COMP1911. Questions were asked about how ENGG1811 had manged this. There was also discussion on what impact the new COMP1911 would have on the ENGG1811 enrollments numbers. The concensus was that it may reduce them a little, which was probably a good thing.

    Richard raised the possibility of allowing students to take 1911+1921+1927 as a means of "bridging" from 1921 to 2911. It was considered that there was too much overlap between 1921 and 1927 to justify this.

    [Follow-up: this overlap was significantly reduced in the final version accepted by the Faculty and now this is the only route for bridging from COMP1921 to COMP2911]

    A name change for all four courses was raised and discussed, with Geoff looking into how this can proceed within NSS, etc.

    The discussion returned to the issue of changing the course names. Flow on problems from the name change in 08 and 09 were discussed. A vote was taken on changing the first year course names, the name change was passed with 8 votes for and 2 abstaining (this left at most 7 votes against, although a show of hands was not called for to establish this).

    The winning names were

    COMP1911 Applied Computing 1
    COMP1917 Computing 1

    COMP1921 Applied Computing 2
    COMP1927 Computing 2

    The name change will have to go through the Dean for formal approval.

    [Follow-up: the Dean did not accept the name change]

    Arthur raised his concerns about the new name with Aleks disagreeing

    Adam pointed out that 1911 need to be offered every session to accommodate INFS student

    It was broadly agreed on the need for a filler course that will allow students to do 1911+1921 and continue onto 2911.

    The possible options raised were:

    1911+1921+1927 then 2911   (unlikely, given the overlap between 1921 and 1927)

    1911+1921+"A New Bridging Course" then 2911

    1911+1921 then 2911 to be allowed for EE students   (as already approved by Faculty)

    The need for consistent content for the courses from session to session was discussed. (JAS: This must be followed up)

    Wayne expressed general concern about the process of course development and approval within CSE.

    The contact hours for 1917 was queried and discussed concerns were raised on how it is shown on the handbook and how it is advised to student when enrolling.

    1917 is now documented in the handbook as 7 contact hours rather than the 6 for 1911 due to an extra optional lecture. Wayne was concerned that the optional hour was being used (or not) at the discretion of the LIC each semester. The "optionality" was supposed to be the students' discretion, not the lecturers'.

    Possible week 0 activities were briefly raised in the context of ensuring that students enrolled in an appropriate computing course.

    Action: JohnS to take the proposed course title changes to the Faculty.

    [Follow-up: He did. They were rejected. The final (currently implemented) proposal for all of these courses was presented and discussed at the School Meeting in November.]

  2. Any other business

    Everyone was exhausted after the previous item and no further business was raised.

The meeting closed at 3:50pm.

On-going issues:

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

Last updated: