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Student Handbook 2015-2016

Department of Computer Science

Text Box: Reading this handbook
This handbook tries to be a fairly friendly way of explaining academic issues that may affect your life as a student in Computer Science.
Many of the resources pointed to in this document can be found at
http://www.aber.ac.uk/~dcswww/Dept/Teaching/ 
You can find information about resits at:
http://www.aber.ac.uk/~dcswww/Dept/Teaching/AdvisingResits/ 
and about Provisional Registration at:
http://www.aber.ac.uk/~dcswww/Dept/Teaching/ProvReg/ 

Questions about anything to do with advising should go to 
cs-exam-advice@aber.ac.uk

 

 

 

Text Box: Current copies of this handbook can be found at http://www.aber.ac.uk/~dcswww/Dept/Teaching/Handbook/

For final authority on any of the issues discussed in this handbook, consult the academic regulations on the web http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/student/ug-issues/
and/or email the undergraduate academic office ugfstaff@aber.ac.uk

 

 

 

Undergraduate Student Handbook 2015-16: Department of Computer Science

Edited by Lynda Thomas

Date:  August 1, 2015

Version: 15.0

 

Copyright © 2015 by Dept. Computer Science, Aberystwyth University

 

 
 

 



Table of Contents

   

Preface. 2

1. Communication with Students. 3

2. Changes of Registration. 3

3. Teaching Methods. 4

4. Attendance. 5

5. Practical Work. 6

6. Assessment and Progression. 9

7. Computer Resources. 12

8. Supporting Students. 13

9. Student Feedback. 14

10. Administrative Responsibilities. 15

 

 

Preface

This handbook is intended for all students in the Department of Computer Science. It has been prepared to help you understand how the teaching in the department is organised and, in accordance with the requirements of the University, to bring relevant rules and regulations to your attention.

It is structured as two parts. General Information, which is relevant to all students, and a series of Appendices that describe assessment criteria for different kinds of assessments.

Students following the Diploma/MSc in Computer Science in Aberystwyth may ignore the aspects that refer to undergraduate assessment – but will find other parts of the handbook useful.

Students registered for research degrees may find the rules for these degrees at http://www.aber.ac.uk/academicoffice/postgraduate/index.shtml

If you are following degrees with the Department, note that if you are taking modules offered by other departments they may organise their teaching differently and may have different rules about, for example, handing in assignments. Make sure you know what their rules and conventions are.

The contents of this booklet are available on the department's web pages

http://www.aber.ac.uk/~dcswww/Dept/Teaching/Handbook

A detailed description of every module offered at Aberystwyth is available on the University's web http://www.aber.ac.uk/modules.

You should ensure that you read the descriptions of all the modules that you take.

Descriptions of schemes offered at Aberystwyth are available on the University's web

http://www.aber.ac.uk/schemes.

The Department's programme specifications are at

https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/programme-specs/index.html

 

Note that this material is in addition to:

·           Academic regulations on the web http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/student/ug-issues/

·           Course  notes or handouts provided by the lecturers (accessible directly from the Department’s web site or Blackboard.)


1. Communication with Students

In the department we use electronic mail as the first means of communication with our students. You should therefore log into the system every day and read your e-mail. If you make any arrangements (such as forwarding), which mean that your e-mail service may become unreliable, that is not an excuse for failure to respond.

In certain cases messages for students will be left in the pigeon holes at the bottom of the stairs outside room B53. Messages for students of other departments will be sent to their department. Letters may also be posted to your local or home address. Important information, such as exam results and advice letters are sent to your ‘exam’ address, so you must inform the University of changes. You can do this by visiting your on-line personal file https://studentrecord.aber.ac.uk/en/login.php

You should look regularly at the information displayed on the notice-boards around the department on the ground floor corridor. They are used to display details of practical groups, assignment results, examination timetables, vacancies for industrial placements, etc.

 

2. Changes of Registration

It is very important that you are registered for the correct degree scheme and for the correct modules. The lecture timetable, examination timetable and monitoring of attendance all use information collected by the Academic Office about which modules each student is taking.

If you want to change the modules you are taking, you should usually speak to one of the Departmental advising team (see Section 10) and then fill in the Change of Registration Form from your student record. This must be done in the first 4 weeks for Part 1 and in the first 3 weeks for Part 2 students.

If you are changing scheme to or from another department you will need to complete the form on paper. See

https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/student/ug-issues/registration/changing/

It is difficult after the first few weeks of term to change department, but in the Department of Computer Science we try to maintain flexibility and allow students to change their scheme within the department. The rules for changing schemes and for being allowed to progress on your current scheme within the department are in Section 6.

It is your responsibility to liaise with your funding body/bodies. Changes of schemes almost always have implications for funding. This can be a simple process if it is done at the correct time.


3. Teaching Methods

Students should note that each 10 credits should correspond to approximately 100 hours of effort.
This includes lectures, tutorials, practicals, assignments and outside study and review.

The last 2 digits of the module code indicate the number of credits e.g. CS12020 is a 20 credit module.

Some modules have English and Welsh forms e.g. CC12020 and CS12020 – indicated as CX12020 here.

3.1. Formal lectures

Lectures are used to describe and explain the topics covered by the course. Lecturers will frequently use visual aids to illustrate their lectures and copies of the displayed material, or other handouts, may be made available on the web  – often on Blackboard (http://blackboard.aber.ac.uk) or in the Department’s web space (http://www.aber.ac.uk/~dcswww/Dept/Teaching/CourseNotes/current)  At best, the displayed material is only an outline of the lecture content and you are strongly advised to make your own detailed notes to supplement any material that is made available. You should follow up on each lecture by reading your notes, reading relevant sections of appropriate textbooks, and then amplifying your notes. If there are still points that you don't understand, you should make a note of them, for discussion in workshops, or with the lecturer concerned.

Lecturers usually record their lectures but that is for unavoidable absence or revision.

It is not possible to obtain high marks simply by reading lecture slides or watching the lectures again.

3.2. Tutorials

The aim of the first year tutorials, which are associated with the modules CX12020, CX12320 and  CX18010 or CC18010,  is to promote deeper understanding and give you an opportunity to work in a smaller group.

Tutorials in other years are associated with specific modules (CX22120, CX39440, CHM5640, etc.) but also serve the purpose of a place where you can ask your tutor for advice with any of your modules.

Your personal tutor is assigned when you arrive in AU and can be found on your student record.

3.3. Workshops

Workshops may be associated with individual modules, and provide an opportunity for students to seek clarification on aspects of their work. In most cases exercises will be set by the lecturer(s) to provide a focus. The purpose of a workshop is to reinforce what has been taught in lectures.

3.4. Practical Work and Advisory

Most of the Part I modules have specific practical classes, to which students are assigned. Apart from first year, practicals are normally not timetabled for individual modules, except for those with special equipment or other requirements. You will be informed of such an exception in the lectures associated with the module.

The advisory service is offered in B57 and C56 through the skilled demonstrators on duty. Students are encouraged to use this facility as the primary mechanism for solving both practical and technical problems that they cannot solve alone. In addition to supporting practical work, the demonstrators on duty will also assist with any queries from the course as a whole, including revision for examinations. The skills of the demonstrators on duty are clearly advertised.

Students who leave their work to the last minute are likely to find a shortage of machines and/or skills. Please plan your work carefully.

3.5. Seminars and Invited Talks

We invite speakers from other research institutions and from the business community to give talks on their field. Attendance at such talks is not compulsory, but they can provide an interesting background to your studies, or a deeper insight into a particular field. You should note that a knowledge of relevant material presented in seminars and invited talks may help you to answer examination questions well in level 3 and M modules.


4. Attendance

Studying at University is a full-time job. You are expected to work on average 40 hours a week, and sometimes more. Lectures, practicals, workshops etc. are compulsory, and attending them is why you are here.

4.1. Timetables

You should receive an individual timetable weekly on-line. It may not include all your commitments – please pay attention to emails and other announcements about this.

In addition, the timetable for all departmental lectures is posted on the ground floor in the department at the start of each semester. It is sometimes necessary to make changes to the timetable and any changes will be posted on the relevant notice board. Because of the range of subjects that students study along with Computer Science, arranging the timetable to avoid clashes with other subjects is difficult. Students who find that they have a clash should immediately inform the timetable officer in the department who will try to resolve it.

4.2. Attendance Requirements

Attendance at lectures, tutorials, practicals and workshops is compulsory, as is attendance at meetings with your final year project supervisor and at meetings in connection with your group project. Tutorials will be arranged at the start of the module in such a way as to try to take account of students' other academic commitments.

You should note that the attendance requirements apply to the whole of the teaching period in each semester, as well as to examination periods. In particular, students from overseas should note that difficulties in obtaining travel reservations are not an acceptable excuse for missing classes. If you have a good reason for being unable to attend classes, you should inform the department in advance.

It is our experience that students who miss a significant number of their lectures fail. Copying someone else's lecture notes or obtaining a copy of the slides or watching a Panopto video is a very poor substitute for attending a lecture and absorbing its content. It is difficult to recover lost ground because lectures build upon one another.

If  illness prevents you from attending classes for more than a week, University regulations require you to present a medical certificate. Copies of this should be submitted to the department office along with a Special Circumstances form – please read the advice at http://www.aber.ac.uk/~dcswww/Dept/Teaching/AdvisingResits/spec-circ.htm

If, without good reason, you regularly miss lectures or other compulsory classes, or repeatedly fail to hand in assessed work, the department will initiate disciplinary action, in accordance with the Academic Regulation on Academic Progress. This disciplinary process can lead to your being excluded from the University:

·       If your overall attendance is less than 90%, then you will normally be required to meet with your year coordinator.

·       If no improvement is seen then you will normally be sent to see the Head of Learning and Teaching for the Institute.

·       If attendance still fails to improve we will start proceedings to exclude you from University.

Students with unjustified absences may be permanently excluded.

4.3. Absence from Examinations

If, without good reason, you fail to attend an examination for which you are registered, penalties apply.

If you have good reason for missing an examination, it is essential that you supply the Department Examination Board (through the department office) with documentary evidence of the reason. This should be done before the examination if at all possible. If your absence from the examination is condoned, you will be allowed to take the examination at the next opportunity. The only reasons for missing examinations that are normally condoned are your own illness or the death of, or sudden serious illness or injury to, a close relative.

Examining Boards are required to take into account any medical or personal problems that may have affected a student's performance during the course or in the examination. Again, this can only be done if the appropriate evidence is supplied, with a Special Circumstances form, to the Examining Board before its meeting.

See http://www.aber.ac.uk/~dcswww/Dept/Teaching/AdvisingResits/spec-circ.htm

If you are taken ill or suffer an accident during, or before, the examination, you may be faced with the choice of taking an examination in circumstances in which you cannot do as well as normal or of not taking the examination at that time. If this is the case you should consult a member of staff – ideally your tutor, or cs-exam-advice@aber.ac.uk  

In any event, if you miss an examination, get in touch with cs-exam-advice@aber.ac.uk


5. Practical Work

You will be formally assessed by a variety of means during and at the end of each module.

The precise form of assessment will vary according to the nature of the module, and are explained to you in detail at http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/modules/

If in any doubt, ask your module coordinator, who will be happy to clarify anything you are unsure about.

It's important to note that at University, assessment is not only about demonstrating the range and depth of your knowledge. It is also an essential part of the learning process that actively helps you develop and enhance your skills in addressing problems, formulating arguments and communicating often complex ideas clearly and persuasively. These skills are a vital part of your degree programme, and are in great demand in all areas of the world of work.

The feedback you obtain from the markers on your assessed work will help you improve these skills as you progress through your degree programme. Staff aim to return feedback within 3 working weeks.

Assessment criteria may be found in the web Appendices to this handbook at:  http://www.aber.ac.uk/~dcswww/Dept/Teaching/Handbook/

5.1. Assignments and Projects

‘Project’ is a term reserved for larger pieces of work, specifically: the group project undertaken in the second year; the final year projects for undergraduates; and the MSc project typically undertaken during the summer following the taught part of that scheme.

‘Assignments’ are smaller pieces of work.

Assignments and projects are a very important part of many modules offered by the Department. They contribute to your learning and they provide some element of assessment.

The description of each individual module tells you exactly what proportion of the assessment comes from coursework. It is important to realise that, if you don't submit the coursework, you will get no marks for it; this will have a serious effect on your mark for that module as a whole. It is much better to hand in coursework that is incomplete than to hand in nothing at all.

Failure to submit coursework, just like missing an examination, may be regarded as grounds for reporting your progress as unsatisfactory, in accordance with the academic regulations on academic progress.

5.2. Worksheets

Worksheets are given primarily as learning and self assessment exercises. They may play a small part in module assessment. (If so, this will be explained in the module description).

There may be a mechanism for handing in completed worksheets or for having them “signed off” by demonstrators. Such mechanisms are designed to provide feedback to you on your progress and understanding and to provide encouragement to stay abreast of material.

The Department is anxious to strike an appropriate balance between assessed and un-assessed practical work. It is most important that you take seriously exercises such as worksheets, where you have an opportunity to develop skills and understanding without the pressures and restrictions of assessment. The Department takes a dim view of the attitude that only assessed work is worth doing.

5.3. Helping one another in coursework

You are encouraged to help one another in practicals (this does not mean doing the work for someone else), but assignments and projects are assessed on the basis that they are your own work. The department provides tutorials, workshops, practical classes, and an advisory desk to help you, in addition to members of staff. You can get help simply by asking, and will lose no marks by doing so. Conscientious students who care enough about their work to seek help often create a more favourable impression than those who stumble on in partial understanding.

We encourage students to discuss problems and ideas, but there is an important difference between students helping each other to learn and helping each other to complete their work. If you do collaborate with someone on a piece of work, it is very important that all parties involved clearly indicate in the work submitted the extent of the collaboration – see also Section 5.7.

It is regrettable that some students feel the need to copy work and attempt to pass it off as their own. Such attempts are quite easy to spot, and the Department and the University take a very serious attitude to such practices (see Section 5.7).


5.5. Procedure for handing in coursework

From September 2014, Aberystwyth University is moving to e-submission for text-based word-processed assignments. You'll be asked to submit your work through AberLearn Blackboard using one of the
e-submission tools built into Blackboard. Your lecturer will tell you when and where to submit your work, but here are some helpful tips to get you started with e-submission:

·  If you have a chance to practice using e-submission, take it. Some staff set up a practice submission so that you become familiar with using it. Have a go before your first real assessment, so you know what to do when you submit your work.

·  If you are planning to use your own computer to submit work:

o    Check you have a supported web browser on your computer http://www.inf.aber.ac.uk/advisory/faq/636/  - if you don't, please contact is@aber.ac.uk for advice;

o    Use this computer when doing your practice submission;

o    If you encounter any problems on your own computer, you should use the university computers available in a number of locations across the University.

·  Watch a video on how to submit: (http://www.inf.aber.ac.uk/advisory/faq/524/ ).

·  Don't leave it until the last minute before submitting your work - if you are stressed and working right up to the clock, mistakes are easier to make. Give yourself some extra time and submit your assignment early. That way, you won't risk missing the deadline. You can find the university policy on late submission on the AU website here (http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/student/ug-issues/)

·  Follow all the instructions on screen whilst you are submitting, including details of file size, file format etc. Please use a short file name (15 characters is a good length).

·  If you are using the Turnitin tool, keep the receipt that will come to your AU email account. Please note that for all of the e-submission tools, you can also check your receipt of submission by clicking the link where you originally submitted the assignment.

·  If your tutors are using e-marking, you may be able to receive your feedback through the same link. Please check with your tutors to find out how you will receive feedback.

·  If you have any problems, contact your department straightaway with details of what happened. Technical problems can be reported to bb-team@aber.ac.uk. Please take screenshots of any error messages.

·  If you believe that your submission has not gone through correctly, have a look at the Failed Submission Policy at http://nexus.aber.ac.uk/xwiki/bin/download/Main/guides+%2D+Blackboard/failed%2Dsubmission%2Dpolicy.pdf

Please note that computer problems are not considered by the University to be special circumstances for late submission (http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/student/ug-issues/ ).

 

For major pieces of work you may be asked to hand work in at reception during a specified period and you will be given a receipt that will show the number of documents handed in. If you have more than one document you should put all pieces of work in a folder and compile and hand in a list of the separate documents.

The University require us, as far as possible, to mark assessed coursework and examinations anonymously. 
Of course, there are some things that cannot be marked anonymously so there are exemptions from the anonymous marking requirement that have been agreed by the University.

1.         Coursework associated with tutorial modules, since much of the assessment in tutorial modules is done by the tutor this cannot be anonymised.

2.         Coursework involving computer code, since we insist that students submitting computer code identify the author of each code module.

3.         Group projects, since adjustments may be needed to the marks of individual students based on information provided by the supervising member of staff or by the members of the group.

4.         Modules involving presentations, clearly!

5.         Project-based modules, where students submit a properly bound project report or dissertation.


5.6. Late Hand-ins – Extensions (red text is slightly amended from printed handbook)

Under the University Rules, extensions can be granted where there are clear medical or personal circumstances (supported by independent documentary evidence) that have affected your ability to submit coursework on time.

If that is the case you should follow the University policy and fill in the appropriate form, which may be found at http://www.aber.ac.uk/~dcswww/Dept/Teaching/AdvisingResits/Late-assignments-extension.pdf and which should be submitted to the Departmental reception desk or, in the case of unavoidable absence to

cs-office@aber.ac.uk. Staff will arrange for it to be considered by your year tutor who is the Extension Officer. You may be asked to met with this person to discuss your situation and plan a strategy for recovering from your lost time. If an extension is granted, the work will be marked as normal and feedback given within the normal period after the actual submission.

Note: if an extension is granted, you cannot also claim that you have special circumstances for that hand in.

Work handed in late without an extension will still be marked and feedback will be given, but you will be marked as absent from that assessment and no marks will be credited.

5.7. Plagiarism and Unfair Practice

Unfair Practice includes more than just plagiarism. We have been asked to include a link to the University Statement on Unfair Practice available with other information about rules governing examinations and assessment:  http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/academic-quality-records-office/unfair-practice/

As you see, it is important to indicate clearly in your own work where you have included the work of others. In Computer Science this could include reuse of designs and programs as well as copying or quoting text. Make sure you understand how to acknowledge the work of others in all your submissions. Ignorance of how to do this is not a valid defense.

The following simple guidelines are intended to help you avoid straying from legitimate and desirable co-operation into the area of plagiarism:

·         append a bibliography to your work listing all the sources you have used, including electronic;

·         surround all direct quotations with inverted commas, and cite the precise source (including page numbers, or the URL and the date you accessed it if the source is on the Web) either in a footnote or in parentheses directly after the quotation;

·         use quotations sparingly and make sure that the bulk of the work is in your own words;

·         even if you do not use direct quotations, important ideas should still be credited;

·         if you use code you have found on the internet, then acknowledge it in the comments;

·         remember that it is your own input that gives a piece of work merit. Whatever sources you have used, the main thrust of it should be your own. Including someone else's work (essay or code) in your own is readily detectable because the style will be different.

Keep a sense of proportion, and exercise common sense and judgement. For example, it is not necessary to attribute to a source, statements which have passed into the public domain and become commonplace. If in doubt, make sure that you properly quote and cite material in order to avoid any suspicion that you are trying to cheat, and ask for advice if you are not sure.

5.8. Assignment and Project Classification

Unless otherwise stated, projects, assignments and worksheets will be graded according to this scheme. Note that these marks may not correspond to marks you received in school!

     

Grade

Percentage

 

Grade

Percentage

 

Grade

Percentage

A

70 - 100

 

C

50 - 59

 

E

35 - 39

B

60 - 69

 

D

40 - 49

 

F

0                 - 34

5.9.General

Methods of assessment for individual modules are described in the module description. Individual lecturers are happy to give feedback to students on coursework. Personal tutors are able to discuss general examination performance with the intention of providing feedback on technique.

Assessment criteria are provided in appendices to this handbook (See Assessment Criteria). Specific criteria may be handed out with the assessment.

You have the right to be assessed through the medium of Welsh. Please inform the department as early as possible so that we can arrange it. If you wish to sit examinations in Welsh, notify Academic office.


6. Assessment and Progression (undergraduates)

Students should note that a pass mark is 40% for levels 1, 2 and 3 and 50% for level M modules.

6.1 Progress

The first year of our schemes is formally known as Part I. The rest of the years comprise Part 2.

Students must complete Part 1 before they begin Part 2, and must be in a position to obtain a degree before they may enter the final, or subsequent, year.

Resits are discussed in Section 6.3.

6.1.1 Progression from Part I to Part 2

To progress from Part 1 to Part 2 you must pass 100 of 120 credits and have an average of 40%. If you have failed 30-60 credits, you will be given an opportunity to resit during the summer (the supplementary period).

Students who have passed Part I may be advised to transfer to another scheme within the department if they show some area of weakness. This is best done at the end of year 1 but may be done later under some circumstances. If you fail more than 60 credits in year 1 (even if for medical reasons) you must resit the year.

6.1.2. Gaining a degree and progression from Year 2, including onto an Industrial Year

In order to obtain a Bachelor’s degree students may fail no more than 20 credits in Part 2.

For BSc and BEng students this means they must pass 220 of 240 credits. This means that students who fail more than 20 credits in year 2 cannot progress without resitting in some way, normally in the summer.

MEng students must also pass 220 of 240 credits at levels 2 and 3 and 100 of 120 credits at level M.

Resits are discussed in Section 6.3.

BCS accreditation will be given to honours students who pass the project (CS39440 or CC39440)  at the FIRST attempt.

6.1.3. Degrees with a year in Industry

If a student fails their sandwich placement, then they must change scheme to one for which they have appropriate core modules and which does not require a sandwich placement.

6.1.4. MEng Progression rules

To progress to Part 2 of MEng in Software Engineering (G601) students are expected to achieve an average of at least 60% in first year Computer Science modules. To progress from year 2 to the industrial year, MEng students must again achieve an overall average of at least 60%.

Students who achieve 60% but have poor performance in some areas (e.g., a bad mark in CS12320, or CS21120) may be advised to change from MEng to BEng or BSc.

Students on other schemes with the right modules choices may normally transfer to MEng if they have achieved the 60% average. Note they must sort out the funding implications.

Students may leave the MEng programme at the end of year 4 and take a BEng degree if they are qualified.  However, students wishing to do this must formally change scheme and let the academic office know in good time for graduation.

Note that the pass mark for level M modules is 50%

6.2 Degree Classification

For general information on class of degree etc. see:

http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/student/ug-issues/exam-assess/conventions/

Degrees are classified as I – called a ‘first’, II(1), II(2), III and Pass.

All marks in Part 2 count towards your degree, but results are calculated using an algorithm called ‘the Cascade’ which puts more emphasis on higher level modules than on lower level modules.

A ‘cascade calculator’ will appear on your Student Record in the last semester of your studies. The nature of the cascade means that this would have little validity until that point, but we present the calculations here for illustration.

Module marks are placed in bands:

Band 3

Best 80 level 3 credits, with a weighting of 3

Band 2

Next best 80 level 3 and level 2 credits, with a weighting of 2 (Note that level 2 modules cannot go in a higher band than level 3 modules)

Band 1

Remainder of level 3, 2 and 1 credits, with a weighting of 1

 


6.2.1 An Example

Suppose you are in G400 and received marks on your level 3 modules of:

70,70,70,70,70,70,70,70,60,60,60,60

(perhaps you received 70 on your CS39440 project, in which case we have counted it 4 times)

On your level 2 modules you received marks of:

60,60,60,60,50,50,50,50,50,50,50,50

Then you would calculate your final mark as:
  ((70*80) * 3  +                (60*80)*2       +                    (50*80)*1)   /       (80*3+80*2+80*1)
  Band 3                              Band 2                                   Band                      to obtain weighted avg
  (top 80 level 3s)              (bottom 40 level 3s             (bottom 80          
                                             +top 40 level 2s)                  level 2s)                                                                Your final average would be 63% which is a II(1)

6.2.2  Three year + 1 schemes

Some degree schemes include an obligatory, assessed year in industry. This is called a sandwich or industrial year. Degree classification for schemes which include this year involve a variant of the standard method - marks are arranged in the standard cascade but an additional Band S comprising 120 credits from the sandwich year assessment is weighted at 0.25.

 

For example, suppose that you are a G401 student with the module marks as in the example above and an Industrial Year mark of 75%. Then your overall mark would be:
 (70*80*3 + 60*80*2 + 50*80*1 + 75*120*0.25)/
(80*3 + 80*2 + 80*1 + 120*0.25) = 64%

As a rule of thumb, you can think of your industrial year as being ‘worth’ one good level 3 module.

6.2.3  Four year + 1 schemes (MEng)

For schemes involving 4 taught years plus a sandwich year, marks are arranged in a 4-band cascade (each band containing 90 credits, with weightings of 4,3,2 and 1) with a Band S comprising 120 credits from the sandwich year assessment weighted at 0.25.

 

6.3. Supplementary and Resit Examination Policy

The following provides a very simplified view of this topic. Students should consult the University’s policies, which may be found at: http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/regulations/contents/modular-degrees/  

Students should note that a pass mark is 40% for levels 1, 2 and 3 and 50% for level M modules.

Resits are capped at 40% in Part 2 (unless they are ‘H’ resits)

There are several flags that may accompany a failed mark. The main ones are

·           ‘F’ failed – may be resat for a maximum of 40% (50% level M)

·           ‘H’ (or ‘M’ in year 1) may be resat for full marks – there may be no fee charged if completed during the summer or externally  – check with the fees office.

When results are released the department will send you an email containing our advice to help you progress (see Section 6.1). If you do not get such an email within a few days of your results please get in touch (and make sure that your contact addresses are up to date).

If you are in any doubt about what you need to do to retake an assessment, or progress with your degree, you should email: cs-exam-advice@aber.ac.uk 

6.3.1. Supplementary resits

Resits may take place over the summer (supplementary) or in the following academic year.  Students are not allowed to complete more than 60 credits of supplementary resits. First year students with more than 60 credits of fail must resit during the following academic year. Part 2 students may not take more than 60 credits of resit in the summer.

Students are normally expected to resit assessments by “resitting failed examination and/or resubmission of failed/non-submitted coursework components or ones of equivalent value.”  Usually that means that they need only resit the failed pieces of assessment. The department will tell you of exceptions.

6.3.2. Resits during the academic year

Resits during the academic year may be ‘external’ meaning students do the assessments only, while living anywhere; or ‘internal’ meaning they attend lectures etc. in the normal way. Students who resit internally can sometimes substitute modules and change degree schemes.

It is possible, for students at the end of year 2 to put off resits, and resit up to 20 credits of year 2 modules while doing their third year by just doing the assessments. Such students must be very careful not to let ‘fixing year 2’ affect year 3.        


6.3.3. Resits during the ‘following’ summer for people on Industrial year

Sometimes students on a sandwich placement wish to complete their resits neither during the summer after the second year, nor during the industrial year itself. It is acceptable to complete the resit during the ‘following summer’. Unfortunately the academic office has no way of offering those resits automatically, but if that is what you wish to do contact cs-exam-advice@aber.ac.uk  within the first 2 weeks of July and we will approve it.

It is even possible to resit during the final year of study – but remember that a long time since the module will have passed by then.

6.3.4. ‘H’ resits and illness during examinations

If you are ill, it may be better to postpone taking an examination, but you should always discuss this with the department first. Where appropriate, special examining arrangements can be made, such as extra time or separate seating, to alleviate the effects of medical problems.

If, however, you decide not to take the examination, you will need to take it during the August/September examination period.

Students with any illness that effects their studies should complete a Special Circumstances form (see 4.2) with evidence.

The Examining Board will try to make allowance for illness in one of three ways:

·         Recommending an H resit (ie. for full marks) that may be taken in the summer, or

·         By returning ‘39H’ which allows you to resit for full marks, even if you have passed with a low mark due to your illness. The department will contact you before recommending this mark, or

·         By carrying forward the circumstances to be considered at your final exam board. These will then be considered if you are borderline between two classes of degree.

6.3.4. Clean Slate

Students may resit year 2 with a clean slate. If you have failed a lot of credits and need to be in a less technical scheme this might be a good plan, but there are various requirements that you should note.

See: http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/quality-assurance/mod-study-schemes/page2/

Students who take this option must be very careful that their funding will allow it.

6.4. Prizes (undergraduates only – subject to change - correct as of summer 2015)

The Glyn Emery Prize, named in honour of the founder and first head of the Computer Science Department, is awarded every year to the first year computing student with the highest average. The prize is £100.

The group that produces the best group project in the second year is awarded a prize.

A number of prizes are given at graduation. These include:

·               Best major project by a student in CS39440 or CC39440,

·               Best Web-based final year project  by a student in CS39930,

·               Highest BSc or BEng cascade average,

·               Highest MEng cascade average,

·               Best Progress prize,

·              A number of free BCS memberships for one year.

A number of other bodies, such as the BCS and Microsoft, offer prizes for student projects. Students have done well in these competitions in the past. Notices about such competitions will be displayed in the department and information about them circulated by e-mail.


7. Computer Resources

The department believes that the computing facilities available to our students are more than sufficient. Furthermore, the University Information Services facilities, which are closely integrated with those of the department, are available to all students. Even so, availability is not unlimited and there may be occasions when difficulties arise. Students are asked to be understanding in such cases and to comply with any requests the department may make over the use of resources. The Computer Science Department takes no responsibility for the correct functioning of any equipment or software, nor for the security or integrity of any stored program or data except as required by the Data Protection Act.

Do not leave assignments until the last minute. Computer problems are not an excuse for handing in an assignment late.

7.1. Use of Personal Computers

If you own a personal computer, you will enjoy considerable advantages of flexibility and convenience. You must, however, be careful not to let these advantages turn into a disadvantage.

After the first year, some of the practical work set by the department requires, explicitly or implicitly, the use of UNIX; unless you become thoroughly familiar with UNIX, you may have difficulty with the practical work. If you are sensible, you can gain a lot of advantage by becoming familiar with UNIX. Not only will this make you attractive to potential employers, but it will also give you a deeper understanding of a lot of the issues in software engineering.

A second danger that can arise from using your own computer is that you become isolated. You can learn a lot from working in the company of other students and discussing your work with them. If you always sit in your room working at your PC, you will lose the opportunity for doing this.

Finally, departmental facilities are maintained and backed up by support staff. If you depend on your own private machine, your work may suffer if it malfunctions. It is your responsibility to make sure that you take adequate precautions to back up your important work.

You may use a laptop in lectures subject to the department’s policy:

Students can find it very helpful to be able to use laptops during lectures.  Some students take lecture notes directly on their laptops, and laptops can be used to find information from the Internet in support of the lecture.  However, using a laptop can be very distracting for the other students who are sitting near or behind the laptop user, and for the member of staff giving the lecture. If possible use laptops on the left of lecture rooms.

It is not acceptable to use a laptop for anything not directly in support of the lecture.

Please be considerate when using a laptop in lectures and do not disturb others.

7.2. Printing

Information Services provides printers for students to use. You will find that, to print all the teaching materials and project and assignment work you want, you will need to budget a substantial amount for printing, especially at certain times in the semester. When you are issued with an assignment make sure you know what is to be handed in and, if that includes printed copies, in what quality.

For some assignments, you may find it cheaper to learn how to use the various facilities available for fitting more than one document page on a single side of paper (‘multipaging’).

If there is a queue in B23 look at http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/is/computers/rooms/ to find other printers. A queue at the last minute is NOT an excuse for late hand-in.

7.3. Regulations for the Use of Equipment

All students are required to abide by the rules laid out by Information Services at:

 http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/is/regulations/

In addition, students are expected to abide by such further conditions concerning the use of the resources as the Department may impose.

If, in the opinion of the Head of the Computer Science Department, a user's use of the resources contravenes any University rules, or is in breach of any rules promulgated by the Department, access to the resources may be summarily withdrawn from that user.


8. Supporting Students

See under Section 10 for the list of staff currently responsible for each major role mentioned below.

8.1. Student Support

Located in buildings both on Penglais Campus and opposite the campus on Penglais Hill, Student Support provides a range of services to support your academic success.

For information and full details of the range of support services available please visit the Student Support web pages http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/student-support

8.2. Careers

The university operates a very active and helpful careers centre. See http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/careers/.

8.3 Arranging to see a member of staff

Most members of staff in the department do not restrict the times they are available to see students to a few hours a week, but neither can they be available all the time. If you need to speak to a member of staff, the best way to arrange an appointment is to e-mail them a day or two in advance suggesting a few times which would be convenient for you. Members of staff will typically advertise, on their office door, times when they are available. Computer Science Reception will normally be able to tell you if a member of staff is expected to be away for more than a day. Do not expect an answer during unsocial hours.

The CS office is open Monday-Thursday 9-5pm and Friday 9-4.40pm

8.4. Personal Tutors

Each student taking a degree involving the Department of Computer Science is assigned a member of staff as a personal tutor. Your personal tutor is assigned when you arrive in AU and can be found on your student record.  The main role of the personal tutor is to help with non-academic problems, such as difficulties arising through illness, personal problems, financial worries, accommodation problems, difficulty with organising academic work etc. Such problems often require specialised help and your personal tutor will be able to put you in touch with specialised counsellors.

There may be occasions on which you would prefer to deal with someone other than your personal tutor. If this happens, you should feel free to approach any member of staff.

Students with disabilities should make these know to the Disabilities Officer.

If you are unhappy with your personal tutor you should contact the Director of Teaching.

8.5. Mature Students' Tutor

We welcome the enthusiasm and commitment that mature students bring to the Department, but are aware of the particular problems they may face in returning to education. Apart from their personal tutors, mature students may wish to speak to the Mature Students' Tutor.

8.6. Overseas Students' Tutor

The Overseas Students' Tutor is available to help any student not normally resident in the United Kingdom with any problems relating to the difficulties encountered when living and studying in a foreign country.

8.7. Welsh Students' Tutor / Tiwtor Cymraeg

Os hoffech chi gael tiwtorialau trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg, maen nhw ar gael.  Bydd y Tiwtor Cymraeg yn cynnal tiwtorialau drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg. Gellir addasu'r tiwtorialau i gwrdd â gofynion y myfyrwyr, ac wrth drafod pynciau technegol, gellir ei gynnal yn ddwyieithog.

8.8. Year and Course Coordinators

There is a year coordinator for level one modules, level two modules, the industrial year, level three modules, for the Diploma/MSc courses and for fourth year MEng students. They coordinate teaching and administration within their area of responsibility. The year coordinators are listed at the end of this booklet.

8.9. Industrial and Sandwich Years

Undergraduate students are strongly encouraged to spend a year with an appropriate company and we help students find suitable places. This year comes between the second and the third (taught) years of the course. Students placement  vary from small software houses to multi-national engineering companies, in some cases abroad. Such a year is compulsory for some schemes, it is then known as a Sandwich Year. Most schemes have a version with, and a version without, a Sandwich Year. Each student on a year out is allocated to a member of staff of the department. Sandwich year students will normally be visited once or twice during the placement. We do our best to visit optional industrial year (sometimes called YES placement) students.

8.10. Study Abroad

The university maintains links with other universities throughout the world. Detail may be found at the study abroad web site (http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/international/study-abroad/ ). Students who wish to take up this opportunity normally do so for their second year. The application process is in first year, so if you are interested you should contact the study abroad office fairly soon in the year.

8.11. Learner Support

Learner Support is available to support your studies. If you have special needs, wish to be evaluated, or just find out more about their services, it is a good idea to make an appointment with them. They are situated in the Student Support centre and information can be found at

 http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/student-support/assessmentcentre/

8.12. Other Services

Your general handbook gives you information about the facilities provided by the Student Union, the Student Support Office, the Careers service etc.. Students who get the most out of University life are usually also those who put in the most. If you have any problems, remember that staff in the Department care about you. Come and talk to us and we’ll do our best to help.

8.13. The University Complaint Procedure

The Department always tries to do its best to resolve any problems that students may experience, but if you feel that you have been treated unfairly in any way, you have the right to complain.

The University Complaint Procedure is described in an Appendix to the Rules and Regulations for students, and is available on the Web (http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/regulations/).

One of the general principles of that procedure is: “Disputes should be resolved at the lowest level possible in the procedure. In the interests of harmonious relationships informal procedures should, so far as is reasonably practicable, be exhausted prior to entering the formal procedure.”

If you do not understand why you received particular treatment, you should first seek clarification from the member of staff involved or the module coordinator. We hope that any problem can be resolved at this point, but if you still feel that you have been treated unfairly, you should contact your year coordinator. If the situation is still not resolved, put your complaint into writing and follow the official complaints procedure through the Head of the Department.

If any of these members of staff is in any way involved in your complaint you may pursue your complaint directly to the next level. You can expect to receive a written response to your written complaint.

 

9. Student Feedback

The department tries hard to keep the quality of its courses as high as possible. In order to do this it looks for input from employers, professional institutions, colleagues in other universities and, most importantly, from its students.  Our courses, in their current form, have benefited from student input over the years; please play your part in making them better for future generations of students. Remember, however, that we often get conflicting comments - employers, professional institutions and students do not always agree with each other. We also need your help if problems arise with equipment or timetables. If we know about a problem, there is a good chance that we can solve it quickly; if we don't, there's nothing we can do.

9.1. Staff/Student Committees and Questionnaires

Groups of students will be invited at the start of each academic year to elect representatives to these committees. Those students must make themselves known to and available to their constituents. The committees meet once a semester, and provide a platform for discussion between staff and students about any relevant matters. Staff are normally represented by the Director of Teaching, Head of Support, and each of the year coordinators. Formal minutes of the meetings are taken and posted on the departmental notice board and the web, and details of any actions taken as a result of the meetings are posted.

You will also be invited to complete a questionnaire providing feedback on each module that you study within the department. These questionnaires provide both quantitative and qualitative data. Anonymous questionnaires are given exactly the same consideration as ones with names on them.

In the final year you will have the opportunity to complete the National Student Survey (NSS) - a national survey, which has been conducted by Ipsos MORI annually since 2005.

9.2. Other feedback

The department encourages students to email cs-feedback.aber.ac.uk at any time with issues they think need addressing. This email address is monitored by an administrative member of staff and any feedback will be anonymised before being directed to the appropriate person.
10. Administrative Responsibilities 

Administrative responsibilities are distributed among various members of the department.

Roles relevant to students are noted below.

From a telephone on the campus network, you need only dial the 4-digit extension number; such calls are free.
All these extensions can be dialled directly from outside the campus by dialling 62 before the extension number, for example 01970 62 2424 is the number for the Department Secretary.

cs-office@aber.ac.uk will give you the main office and cs-exam-advice@aber.ac.uk will give you advice.

Responsibility

 

 

Room

e-mail

Ext.

Head of Department

Dr. Bernie Tiddeman

B43

bpt

1777

Director  of Learning &Teaching

Prof. Chris Price

E48

cjp

2444

Director  of Research

Prof. Reyer Zwiggelaar

B61

rrz

8691

Director of Infrastructure

Mr. Dave Price

B45

dap

2428

Dep’t Head of  L’ning and T’ing

Dr. Thomas Jansen

E45

thj10

2445

Year 0 Coordinator

Dr. Wayne Aubrey

C54

waa2

2421

Year 1 Coordinator

Mr. Chris Loftus

E38

cwl

2422

Year 2 Coordinator

Dr. Angharad Shaw

B44

ais

2215

Year 3 and 4 Coordinator

Mr. Neil Taylor

C47

nst

1528

MEng (Year 5) Coordinator

Dr. Edel Sherratt

Phys 117

eds

2448

Dip/MSc Coordinator

Dr. Edel Sherratt

Phys 117

eds

2448

PhD Tutor

Dr, Myra Wilson

C52

mxw

2928

Tiwtor Cymraeg

Dr. Wayne Aubrey

C54

waa2

2421

Mature Students' Tutor

Dr. Edel Sherratt

Phys 117

eds

2448

Overseas Students' Tutor

Dr. Elio Tici

C51

elt7

2537

PhD. Administrator

Ms. Michelle Symes

B53

mis37

2232

MSc. Secretary

Mrs. Miranda Capecchi

Phys 219

mlh

8406

Department Secretary

Mrs. Margaret Walker

B50

zzy

2424

Departmental Advisor

Dr. L. Thomas/Dr. P. Shaw

B62

ltt/phs

2452

Staff/Student Committee

Dr. Harry Strange

C54

hgs08

8532

Disabilities Officer

Mrs. Meinir Davies

B53

met

2439

Timetable Officer

Ms. Michelle Symes

B53

mis37

2232

IS and Library Representative

  Dr. Jun He

C38

jqh

1787

Industrial Year Administrator

Mrs. Myfanwy Cowdy

Phys 219

mmm

2802

Industrial Placement Coordinator

Dr Neal Snooke

E42

nns

1782

Employability \Coordinator

Dr. Amanda Clare

E37

afc

2429

Schools Liaison Officer

Dr. Wayne Aubrey

C54

waa2

2421

Web and Computer Support

Mr. Sandy Spence

B59A

axs

2430

Health and Safety

Dr. Dave Langstaff

Physics

dpl

1913

Examination Board Chair

Mr. Nigel Hardy

C53

nwh

2434

Examination Officers: David Smith, Stephen Humphries