Teaching Retreat Notes - 10 February 2003 Little Bay

Attendees: Adnan Amin, Mike Bain, Boualem Benatallah, Alan Blair, Richard Buckland, Manuel Chakravarty, Paul Compton, Kevin Elphinstone, Kai Engelhardt, Bruno Gaeta, Annie Guo, Mahbub Hassan, Peter Ho, Achim Hoffmann, Aleksandar Ignjatovic, Gabrielle Keller, Tim Lambert, Xuemin Lin, Piyush Maheshwari, Nadine Marcus, Steve Matheson, Ron van der Meyden, Amir Michail, Tony Papagelis, Sri Parameswaran, John Plaice, Arthur Ramer, Mohammad Rezvan, Ken Robinson, Arcot Sowmya, Andrew Taylor, Geoff Whale, Bill Wilson, Daniel Woo, Jingling Xue

NICTA adjustments

Current plan is as follows:
if (high level of NICTA secondment)
then if (teaching a small course)
  then share an associate lecturer or course manager;
   {already have an associate lecturer or similar;
    also get a teaching assistant to help prepare tutes/assignments;
else { arrangements will remain as at present;
  /* i.e. admin assistance if enrolment is over 100 */
   BUT associate lecturers might be asked to help with assigns/tute prep;

Teaching Clusters

Draft teaching clusters

BioinformaticsBINF1001 BINF2001 BINF3001
First yearCOMP1011 COMP1021 COMP1711 COMP1721 COMP1001 COMP1091
AlgorithmsCOMP2011 COMP2711 COMP2041 COMP3120 COMP3121/COMP9101 COMP9103 COMP3421/COMP9415 + Advanced Graphics
ArchitectureCOMP2021 COMP3211 COMP3221/COMP9221 COMP4211/COMP9211
Software EngineeringCOMP2110 COMP3111/COMP9008 COMP3141 COMP9116 COMP9117 COMP3710 COMP3720 COMP4001
SEng workshopsSENG1010 SENG1020 SENG2010 SENG2020 SENG3010 SENG3020
TheoryCOMP2411 COMP3151/COMP9151 COMP4002 COMP4141 COMP4412 COMP4415
Professional Issues
COMP2920 COMP4920 SENG4921
SystemsCOMP3231/COMP9201 COMP4132 COMP9242 COMP9243 COMP3131/COMP9102 Advanced Compilers COMP3511/COMP9511
DatabaseCOMP3311 COMP4011 COMP9311 COMP9314 COMP9315 COMP9316
NetworksCOMP3331/COMP9331 COMP9332 COMP9333 COMP9334 SENG9338
COMP3411 COMP4411 COMP4416 COMP9414 COMP9416 COMP9417 COMP9444 COMP9517
Intro PGCOMP9020 COMP9021 COMP9022 COMP9024 COMP9025
ThesisCOMP4910 COMP4911 SENG4910 SENG4911 BINF4910 BINF4911
PG ProjectsCOMP9596 COMP9912 COMP9930 COMP9945
OutsourcedCOMP9231 COMP9790 COMP9791

Cluster characteristics, responsibilities

UG Thesis supervision and marking issues

Thesis library made available to esp. new academics, and this fact to be advertised on academic staff FAQ page.

Plagiarism Management

Encourage COMPSOC to re-start mid-session meetings

to review problems with courses and/or facilities

Aspects of Teaching

Ken noted that the broad area of teaching could be subdivided into four facets:

Curriculum | Teaching | Management | Assessment


Casual tutor training
Admin training
Academic staff professional development

Dealing with student enquiries

It was pointed out that, particularly when help desk operations grow beyond what can be managed by a single individual (for example, in several large classes student enquiries are fielded by a number of casuals on a roster basis), the software developed by the CSG for managing enquiries to SS (called ss-mail) can be useful e.g. for making sure that all queries get a timely answer. ss-mail is currently used (at least) by SS (obviously), the CSE Help Desk, and COMP1021.

Other suggestions in this area, not necessarily confined to large classes, included providing all answers via the web, so that (a) students are encouraged to check the web before firing off an e-mail; and (b) all students get access to the information available - individual answers to questions about assignments, particularly, may give the students who receive them an unfair advantage.

The use of webCMS (see John Shepherd) was also recommended.

Phrases and Notes

Scale - some teaching problems arise from large class size
Early feedback minimises exceptions
Assessing quality to measure improvement
Consistency of thesis marking
Timeliness of thesis marking
Spreading thesis supervision (& marking load)
Introduce opportunities for self-assessment by students
Consistency from session to session
Class representatives
More class managers / assoc lects
Permanent class managers / assoc lects
Fixed term e.g. 5-year class manager /assoc lect positions (in view of NICTA uncertainties)
Associate a class manager with a set of courses, e.g. DB teaching cluster
Possibility of using an educational consultant to assist academic
staff with course design.
Teaching courses (cf. RichardB's comments)
Regular discussions with tutors as a way to find/fix problems early on

School of Computer Science & Engineering
The University of New South Wales
Sydney 2052, AUSTRALIA
Phone: +61 2 9385 6876

Last modified: 11 February 2003