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MEETING: RSCS Convenor Meeting

Meeting No. 2: Semester 1 2016

VENUE: N101 CSIT Building

DATE: Thursday 31st March 2016

CONTACT: Sandra Harrison

APOLOGIES: Cheng Ong, Peter Christen, Lexing Xie, Bob Edwards

ATTENDANCE: John Slaney, Ramesh Sankaranarayana, Shayne Flint, Lynette

Johns-Boast, Miquel Ramirez, Weifa Liang, Bindi Mamouney,
Alexei Khorev, Eric McCreath, Tom Worthington, Tony Hosking,
Sandra Harrison, Jochen Renz, Kerry Taylor, Thomas Huber

1. Formal Items (all items are confidential)

1.1 Report from the Chair

 Course Representatives: A meeting of Student Course Representatives

was held on Thursday 30th March. Not all courses were represented and
not all students had submitted reports for their courses. Ramesh is
planning to split future meetings so that each year level can meet at the
same time. Feedback reports that have been submitted will be filtered
and forwarded to course convenors. Wattle will be updated to list all
course reps.
General issues reported by students:
Some courses use multiple lecturers, which has resulted in a lack of
flow/cohesion as lecturing types differ.
Some course representatives have reported that lecturers are drifting off
topic (unrelated to the course content), which is causing lectures to run
Students prefer the use of document cameras over written
notes/drawings on the whiteboard as these tend to be clearer and
available with the lecture recordings for reviewing.
Some students have reported that one hour long tutorials aren’t long
enough, and would prefer these ran for two hours.
 2016 Exam Policy:
As of Semester 1 2016, to be eligible for central examination support,
examinations must have a minimum weighting of 20% for the course,
have a minimum of 20 students, and run for a minimum of 90 minutes
(including reading time). Small courses can be grouped together where
possible to meet the 20 student size requirement. The number of
examinations for each course is to be restricted to 2 per
semester/session and all mid-semester examinations must fall within a
mandated examination period.
Schools can request central examinations to facilitate examinations that
do not meet these requirements, but this will be on a cost recovery basis.
The school will bear expenses for invigilators.

 Lecture Recording Guidelines:

Where possible, all lectures are to be recorded, unless there are specific
reasons that prevent this from occurring. Some guest lecturers may not
wish to be recorded as the material they are presenting can be of a
sensitive nature, and not for public distribution. Some students have
been recording guest lectures and broadcasting these publicly, against
the wishes of the presenter. The question was raised whether students
are held to a privacy/copyright agreement upon enrolment that they do
not distribute materials without consent? Are students held accountable
if they share teaching materials outside of ANU? Student Services to
investigate and report back at next meeting.

 Year Based Convenor Meetings: Meetings for year based convenors to

be trialled. Year 1 and 2, Year 3 and 4, and Post Graduate Course
convenors will be grouped together with the aim of one meeting for each
group following the April teaching break.

1.2 Report from Convenors

 Lynette Johns-Boast
COMP8701: Course delivered via ANU College. Total enrolment of 70
students, of which 33 are CS students. 14 students have been identified as
being ‘at risk’. No major issues at this stage. Tutorial attendance is regular
and consistent. Not many students are coming to the tutorials prepares, first
assessment due week 7.
COMP8705: Course delivered by ANU College. Total enrolment of 60, of
which 42 are CS students. Lecture attendance higher for first lecture, with
minimal attendance for the second. Tutorial attendance is regular and
consistent, with active participation. Some students are not prepared, but
overall active participation on discussion forum though research content is still
developing. First assessment due week 5 – no results available yet.
COMP3120: Enrolment has settled at 108. Good attendance at lectures (50-
60%) except for week 7 where attendance dropped to 25%. Students appear
to be enjoying guest lecturers. Attendance at tutorials is almost 100%.
Students appreciate involvement of ASLANT in the course and tutorials
offered to help with report writing, and feedback and review. Four students
have been identified as being ‘at risk’. First assignment submitted week 6 –
no result available yet.
COMP4130: Total enrolment of 27 students. First half taught by Clive
Broughton has just completed. Second part of course will be taught over a 3
day intensive during week 2 of the break. Lecture attendance is very poor (4-
5 students). Tutorial attendance is acceptable (18-20). A small number of
students seem unhappy with the course. They do not attend lectures or
tutorials, do not access Wattle and are spreading some unrest and negativity.
Lynette met with the group last week to discuss issues and those who were
there were happy and reported no problems. Majority of students are happy
with the course and Clive’s teaching and support.

 John Slaney
COMP2620/COMP6262: All seems to be going well, although attendance is a
bit of a concern and John would like to see more students attending. Not all
students failing to attend lectures are accessing the recordings. Attrition is at
normal levels, with more Arts students dropping the course than Computer
Science students. A large number (50%) of Masters students pulled out of
the course early in the Semester.

 Antony Hosking
COMP1100/COMP1130: Most COMP1100 students attended the mid-term
examinations on Wednesday and COMP1130 examinations are scheduled for
Thursday afternoon. Lab attendance is reasonably good and lecture turnout
is at around 250. Most students are accessing the lecture materials via 360.
Combined COMP1100/1130 numbers have just dropped below 400. Hotseat
technology, allowing students to post questions, comments or discussion
points during lectures, could be introduced in future to make lectures more
engaging although this would require a second person to monitor.

 Eric McCreath
COMP2100/2500 & COMP2300/6300: Mostly going well. Some students
completing assessments were affected following a server failure over the
Easter long weekend. This issue was dealt with as best as possible. Some
students were reportedly not happy but there was no reason for extensions to
be granted.

 Shayne Flint
COMP3530/COMP6353: A large number of masters students withdrew from
the course. This may have been as a result of their expectations not
matching the course outline. Some students expected more programming.
All seems to be going ok. Students are engaged and participating (they
receive 1 mark for attendance at labs). Lecture attendance is higher than
2015. Some students are not happy with the learning portfolio aspects of the
TechLauncher: Going well. The biggest issue at the start of the semester
was lack of communication – students weren’t reading or accessing the
information that was made available to them. Wattle is used only for
submission of assessment; Piazza and Redmine are used for all other
communications and program information. 100% penalty applies for any late
submissions. Students score a ‘0’ for any assignments submitted late.

 Thomas Huber
COMP3320/6464: Attendance is quite low, and some of the cohort very
vocal. In class feedback however, was quite positive so complaints may be
coming from students who do not attend. Masters students have been able to
enrol in the course without having met prerequisites. Would be interested in
feedback from class representative.

 Tom Worthington
COMP7310: Automated quizzes and peer based assessment are well
received. Wattle broke down last week which caused some minor disruptions.
Tom plans to make a case to lower the level to a 6000 series course and as a
result become an undergraduate offering. Would also like to see an increase
in female students as there seems to be a bit of interest.

 Kerry Taylor
COMP2410/COMP6340: A large number of students are non-computing
students. Enrolments have decreased to around 142. Lecture attendance
has dropped over the past 2 weeks. This may be due to assessment due
dates. Held first guest lecture this week. Students are being proactive during
classes, and Kerry is appreciating the interactive nature of the lectures.
Would like to thank Bob and David for their help and assistance with the set-
up of the first assignment, which is due this week.

 Alexei Khorev & Henry Gardner

COMP2140: Enrolment numbers seem to have settled at around 58 with not
much attrition. Henry notes that this is a great cohort, who are very engaged,
are asking a lot of questions and are a pleasure to teach. Mid-Semester
exam quizzes are being held this week. Henry is loyal to Wattle but there are
two websites which may be a bit confusing.

 Jochen Renz
COMP2550: Small number of students enrolled in this course and Jochen
prefers teaching this class in a round table discussion, rather than lecture
format. Has offered additional lectures to students but they have not taken
up/responded to his offer. The first assignment has been marked and there is
a large discrepancy between the results. Some students have scored very
highly, whereas others have barely passed.
 Miquel Ramirez
COMP3620/6320: Has noticed that some students don’t have a strong
technical background but are insistent on completing the AI course
regardless. There is some concern that students are enrolling in the course
lacking the basic knowledge required. As such, either the course content, or
the requirements (pre-requisites) may need to be reviewed. Some master’s
students are concerned about requests for write-ups. There are multiple
lecturers – each module is taught by an expert in that particular field.

 Ramesh Sankaranarayana
COMP2410 & ENGN2219: All is going well. Attendance has decreased over
the past few weeks but course feedback is mostly ok. A mixture of students
think that the assignments are either too hard, or are meeting their
expectations. Some students have requested a different lecture format, and
more interactive engagement by tutors. ENGN students reportedly do not like
the vagueness in assignment instructions, and have requested more specific

 Class assignment extensions – Full class assessment extensions
cannot be granted without prior approval by the Associate Dean
(Education). This does not apply to individual student requests; in
instances where a student requests an extension they must submit the
request directly to the course convenor along with any supporting
documentation. The course convenor can decide whether to grant an
extension or not. Late enrolment in a course is not a valid reason for
an extension request. In most instances students are advised of this
when enrolling. Assignments due on Friday that are not submitted until
Monday will only receive one days late penalty as weekends are not
counted as ‘working days’. Some course convenors are electing to
apply a ‘zero’ score for any assessments submitted late. Not too many
students have complained about this.
 Some students have reported that there are too many platforms from
which to access course content. Some courses are using up to three
different methods (e.g. Wattle, Gitlab, Piazza etc.) which students are
finding confusing as courses all vary. Those students who are not CS
students and are used to only using Wattle may have issues with other
platforms. Some cohorts also have preferences depending on what
they are used to using. Year 4 students for example, do not like
Piazza, whereas Year 3 students do, as they have used to since the
beginning of their studies.
 Henry noted that the beginning of the Semester was a little stressful as
there are no clear guidelines regarding expectations of convenors and
instructions on what is required. Some convenors are new or haven’t
taught for some time, so may be lacking some knowledge on how/what
needs to be done. He suggested an “Idiots Guide” for how to do things
such as:
 Using STREAMS and FAIS
 Organising labs
 Organising tutors
 Running lab exams
 Posting to CS Course Web pages
 Finding and accessing Wattle support
 Checking for plagiarism
 Articulating CS policies
All in attendance agreed that this was a good idea, and suggestions on
where to keep this information included a wiki site or a Piazza page for
staff. Piazza seems to be the preferred platform. Further discussion
on how to proceed/set up a site will need to be held.