CSE Teaching Committee, Minutes of Meeting, Friday 31 July 2009

The meeting commenced at 2:05 PM.

Present: Arcot Sowmya (chair), Paul Compton, Richard Buckland, Alan Blair, Wayne Wobcke, John Shepherd, Eric Martin, Wang Wei, Arthur Ramer (scribe)

Late Arrivals: N. Parameswaran, Bruno Gaeta, Ken Robinson, Malcolm Ryan, Tim Lambert, Peter Ho, Oliver Diessel

Apologies: Bill Wilson, Cassandra Nock

  1. Minutes of the previous two meetings held on 15 May and 3 July were approved.

  2. Actions following from Minutes


  3. Report on Academic Matters

    AS reported on

    1. Ethics Teaching Survey: President of the Academic Board (AB) has requested information on all `ethics teaching' throughout the university, with a view to holding a special session of the AB on the topic. AS is currently compiling a list of CSE courses with ethics content for this purpose, and a partial list was circulated for comment.

      It was noted from the floor: COMP1921 (LiC - N Parameswaran) and COMP1917 (when taught by R Buckland) include some elements of ethics. There was general discussion on the courses (with ethics component) that are required for students in different programs. It was observed that the Graduate Attributes may include some ethics issues.

    2. A simplification of the Special Consideration requests arising from assessments is being considered, and feedback is being requested by the relevant committee of the AB. The current proposal is to make the system completely online, and there is a requirement for Faculty level oversight, which is a concern.

    3. AS reminded academics about the deadline for AEEA (Australia Education Engineering Award) teaching awards already circulated.

    4. Flexible pathways for students, including 3+2/4+1 models similar to the recently approved EE model, with accelerated entry to postgraduate programs, articulated programs, with possible accreditation are currently being considered. PC commented that with the advent of the Bologna model and developments at UniMelb and UniSyd, the movement appears to be in that direction.

  4. New Updated Course Proposal Information Retrieval and Web Search

    WeiW presented the proposal. AS stated that all new elective course proposals s face the following queries at the Faculty Education Committees: reasons for a new elective, how it relates to existing courses in the same disciplinary area, effect on enrolment in the other electives, course assessment plans.

    General discussion (NP, AB, RB, AS, WW) occurred on the merits of having addition standard textbook (C Manning. Introduction to Information Retrieval, 2008) is rather too advanced. The discussion continued (NP, EM, WW, WeiW, AS) on whether other courses cover this subject already. AS stated that the justification for the proposal needs to be strengthened; NP expressed a similar sentiment. In response to PC's query on timing, AS stated that while the deadline for the new edition of the online handbook was mid Aug, new entries could be made to it any time, and the aim should be to get it in before students re-enrolled in early December. AS asked about projected enrolment numbers, and effects on Data Mining course.

    ACTION: It was recommended that the proposers bring back a revised proposal to the next meeting.

  5. New/revised courses: effects on elective lists

    AS brought up this issue at the request of Sanjay Jha. Whenever new elective courses are approved or existing ones revised, elective lists maintained by the school office should be updated, to ensure that students had access to all available courses at enrolment time.

    JAS noted that there was a project underway (jointly between CSE and Academic Admin) to build a new academic proposal system that would check such things and then lead on to automatic generation of the Handbook. If this system were to eventually be accepted by UNSW, there would be no need to maintain School lists.

  6. CS Honours Policy Revision

    The current CS Honours program makes no provision for Honours Class 3. AS stated that a recent case tested this, and the Faculty has advised program revision to cater for any future cases. Cassandra Nock has searched and found at least a few other Science schools which do award this class. The revision was approved.

    ACTION: CS Honours revision to be submitted to Faculty UGEC.

  7. 2010 course and program initiatives
    1. Co-teaching in lower years: AS invited Rb to talk about this initiative. RB stated that he was proposing co-teaching for lower year courses, for example 4 weeks taught by a second lecturer. This would provide much needed relief for the LIC of a large class, allow conference attendance during session, and also enable easier changeover of lecturers / introduction of new lecturers between sessions / years. AS observed that this was quite standard practice in the 1990's and PC agreed. There was some discussion on the matter (RB, AS, AR, PC, TL,BG): it was pointed out that there are pedagogical problems in changing the lecturers mid-stream, and problems in splitting the evaluations/assessments.

    2. Specific priorities for 2010 and beyond: AS gave a quick sketch of issues to be discussed in the coming meetings. It is desirable to regularise the overall revision/review cycle for programs to about once every five years, to roughly coincide with the accreditation cycle; the next accreditation review is to take place in 2010 (dates not announced yet).

      The rate of course revisions should be discussed.

      AS suggested that TC out on hold any further course and program revisions this year, to allow itself time to consider strategic issues related to teaching matters.

    Meeting closed at 4:05 PM.

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

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