Minutes of Previous Meeting (14 Mar 2008)
Teaching Load, Course Offerings
Each semester, Jingling struggles to find lecturers to teach all of courses that we're offering. One conclusion: we're offering too many courses. What can we potentially cut back without affecting the range of subjects offered or the ability of students to complete degrees in a timely manner?
Jingling has an alternative view that the real problem is caused by constraints related to who wants to teach what with whom (or even who wants to teach at all), rather than on a lack of bodies to stand in front of classes.
Some stats: There appear to be around 45 non-project courses offered by CSE in 08s1. Five of the non-project courses are taught by NICTA. There are around 40 full-time academic staff available during this semester for teaching; 3 staff employed in research positions are involved in teaching; there are 6 staff on SSP this semester, and a further 2 on extended leave. (There are an additional 12 project-based courses (e.g. Thesis A, COMP9596 project) where presumably the load is spread evenly across the School, although we know that this is not true).
Assessment Load and 12-week Semesters
There have been some rumblings from students that they are more
overloaded with assignment/lab work than ever this semester.
Is this a true reflection of what is actually happening or is it
based on a
self-fulfilling perception that things were
going to be more difficult with the 12-week semester?
My impression from the Faculty exercise last July, where we were required to specify how our courses were going to change to fit the new semester length, was that most people were confident that they could fit the same amount of material in. Are we now seeing evidence that this approach has not worked?
There have been examples of poor timetabling outcomes from the UNSW Central Timetabling exercise over the last few semesters. Is there anything we can do about this in the short-term? (Apart from being extra-vigilant when the first draft of the following semester's timetable is released and reporting anomalies).
Instances of students "out-sourcing" their assignment work on sites like RentACoder have been detetected over the last couple of years. Suggestions for dealing with the problem, which looks set to grow over time if (a) on-line resources become more widely known and (b) if some students maintain their current mind-set that it's ok to pass without making an effort to learn. Quick background reading on Wikipedia.
CATEI Evaluations for 08s1
Several people have suggested that we ought to shorten the length of time that students have to fill out the CATEI surveys. Essentially, the idea is to get them done in the last week or two of semester. The rationale: (a) we can have an intense round of publicity to students to do the surveys, and hopefully improve completion rates, which are poor relative to the Faculty average; (b) allowing students to complete surveys after their exam tends to produce surveys that are biassed downward, primarily based on exam stress rather than on a real reflection of what happened in the course. Should we do this?
Minor Course Revision: BINF9010 - Bruno Gaeta
Bruno has a minor amendment to one of Bioinformatics courses:
modify BINF9010 for next year so it is taught
concurrently with BINF3010 which will be offered for the first time next
The course proposal for BINF3010 states that it may be taught concurrently
with BINF9010, but the BINF9010 proposal does not mention the converse.
Any other business
Future directions in CSE curricula: Computer forensics? Service-oriented computing?
Program Coherence Exercise: JohnS needs to collect data
Project Aardvark: CSE students building an academic advice prototype for UNSW IT
School of Computer Science & Engineering
The University of New South Wales
Sydney 2052, AUSTRALIA