Department of Computer Science



UNIT:                  CM50175 Research Project Perparation

Lecturer:            
  Dr. J. J. Bryson
Academic Year:      2003/04
Number of Students Assessed:    38



A:     Action taken in light of last year's report

  1. Next year marking will be made more transparent by handing out the marking sheet with the coursework, and by specifying that both marks will be worth 50% of the grade. This means eliminating the course marker as `moderator' to smooth discrepencies between supervisors, but was seen as the only practical recourse by the lecturer & the DoS.  This worked very well, there were no complaints.
  2. Feedback `too direct' --- to some extent this is due to it being the first real feedback the students had received. More care will be taken.  Again, no complaints this year.
  3. Students thought too research oriented.  This belief is strange considering that the majority of the examples were taken from engineering dissertatiations. Next year the examples will include an engineering proposal from this year's course that got near perfect marks. Will continue trying to emphasize that good argument is about writing and communication, not just science.  Again, no compaints this year.
  4. With respect to main goals, the handing out of the marking sheet should make the importance of understanding these clearer.  This worked too.
  5. With respect to attending the seminars, the unit description has been changed so that students will receive credit for attendance in an effort to increase it.  Attendance was superb.


B:     Issues identified by students (e.g. from questionnaires, SSLC meeting etc.)

Students had no complaints this year, except that some of the material was obvious if one previously had a research degree.  Action: Students are encouraged to be selective about which lectures they attend.

C:     Issues identified by the external examiner

The marks were far too high this year, because it was too easy to get marks by turning up to the seminars.  Action:  Seminar marks were lowered from 20% to 10%.  Marking has been changed so merely participating gets only 66% credit.


D:     Lecturer's Report (approx 100 words) (your view of for example: student response to the course, quality of in-course work, appropriateness of teaching methods, pace and content etc.)

The course went very well this year (the second year it was run.)  The experiment in marking was the main failure, which had to be corrected by scaling, but the course objectives were well achieved.  The main problem with this course is getting people to give their seminars, particularly people from electrical engineering.  There is also going to be an ongoing issue that some people need (for example) 5 slides on how not to plagiarize, while others find this deadly boring.  I think in the case of this unit only, it makes sense to teach to the bottom of the room.

There was a real problem with plagiarism this year.  Action:  many slides were added on the issue.


E:     Action to be taken as a cosequence of B, D or E (if, after reflection, there is no resulting action, please indicate `none')

I'm afraid I have put the actions with the individual points they addressed for clarity / lack of redundancy. See the above sections.




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