Minutes of Teaching Committee Meeting 18 March 2005


Present: Rob van Glabbeek, Carroll Graham, James King, Brad Hall, Bruno Gaeta, Aleks Ignjatovic, Charles Willock, Richard Buckland, Paul Compton, Ken Robinson (chair)

  1. Require COMP2011 as prerequisite for COMP4910, BINF4910, and SENG4910, SENG3010, SENG3020. AndrewT

    This was uncontroversial and approved subject to clarification of the reason for SENG3010 and SENG3020 being on the list.

  2. Require 12 point fonts for exam papers. CarrollG

    There was general acceptance that this is a reasonable requirement, although there was some reservations about being too prescriptive.
    The proposal was approved.

  3. Proposal to change the name of COMP3431 from "An Introduction to Intelligent Agent Architectures" to "Robotic Architectures" to avoid confusion between COMP3431 and COMP4416 Intelligent Agents. WillU

    No discussion. Approved

  4. Should all CSE courses (COMP, SENG, BINF) be considered in determining prize winners for top performance. At present the Faculty awards "Dean's List" on the basis of overall WAM, and the School makes its awards on the basis of performance only in COMP courses. This was done originally on the basis that not all students are able to enrol in SENG and BINF courses. Ken's point of view & Brad's statistics & Andrew's point of view.

    Discussion raised the following:

    1. Current rule leads to inconsistency: COMP4920 is counted; SENG4921 is not. This would have affected the award outcome this year for 4th year students.
    2. Why do the CSE Awards distinguish between any courses?
    3. Perhaps there could be awards for each program (CS, CS, BINF, SE) based on different computing course mixes
    4. Discussion before the meeting had raised the question of comparability of course results. This could lead to unfairness, and also puts ranking of awards into question.

    Because of the number of conflicting issues and shortage of time, it was decided to leave this item on the agenda.

  5. New course proposal: COMP3171 Analysis of Algorithms. Proposer: Toby Walsh. Toby won't be able to attend, but Carroll Graham may be able to provide some background. More details on COMP3171 proposal | Comments from Maths

    Toby wasn't present. Paul and Carroll explained the genesis of this proposal:

    The Coop students who have their own, slightly different program (plan) needed an advanced course. It was decided to ask NICTA to propose a course and Toby took up the challenge.

    Discussion: there was general approval in principle of the proposed course. The presumed general emphasis of the course was enthusiastically supported. There are problems in the course proposal and it was agreed that more work needed to be done on the proposal to clarify a number of issues:

    1. The Justification of the proposal needs clarification. It does not give a clear idea of the intended objectives of the course and is even contradictory.

    2. Relation with other algorithms courses should be clarified.

    3. Paul suggested that enrolment in this course would be capped, but it is open to students in all computing programs. The intended implementation of enrolment numbers should be clarified.

    4. Suggestion that students who have taken COMP3171 be excluded from COMP3121, but allowed into COMP3121 advanced.

    5. Suggestion that the name of the course be "Foundations of Algorithms"

    6. Course could be at 200 level?

    7. Suggestion that Richard, Aleks and Hossam meet with Toby to revise the proposal.

  6. Other business.

    The meeting did not have time for other business, but Charles Willock delivered this item for discussion at a later Teaching Committee meeting.

    "My perception is that in computing, engineering, physics etc, if asked, each School/Faculty etc would say that they are teaching 'Problem Solving' ...

    ... and yet what seems to happen is that they teach not so much problem solving but:

    "How to *do* a specific task" in the sense of "if you do this task you will solve this specific problem".

    What seems to be missing is a higher level of 'problem solving' such things as problem 'awareness' (early alerting of: have we got a problem, what exactly is it?), problem type classification (which can be very helpful in solution classification) idea/option generation, option testing, ... implementation [which most Schools do very well] ... testing, evaluation etc.

    All these sorts of thing are what an experienced engineer/scientist does implicitly - that one acquires 'by osmosis' - but there would appear to be significant advantages from teaching it explicitly.

    Maybe a gen-ed subject, ... maybe in time something a lot more."

The meeting closed at 1505.


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The University of New South Wales
Sydney 2052, AUSTRALIA
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