Teaching Committee Minutes

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Teaching Committee Minutes

1.10 PM, 26 November 2008

1. Plagiarism Detection discussion: Student consensus was that it would be a good idea to put all essays through the plagiarism detection software, as is now standard practice in many other departments. They suggested that this could be done quite easily via MOLE, which JS will look into. At the urging of EO and RH, they will discuss the issue further with classmates and report back to JS if significant concerns arise.
2. Dyslexia policies: Students’ main concern here was about whether or not those who need dyslexia support are aware of what’s available and able to get it. All agreed that it’s very important to make sure that those in need of support are actually receiving it. They will discuss this further with classmates and report back to JS on what they learn.
3. Departmental advice on essays, exams, etc. Students felt that the DOLT lecture on this topic was useful, even if sparsely attended. For future years, they suggest (1) Announcing the date and time at the start of the year, so that students can take this into account as they make reading week plans; (2) having module lecturers remind students of the event. JS noted that Reading Week was to be spent studying while attending the University, and that it should not be considered a period in which students should plan to be away. However, she agreed to advertise the lectures at the start of the year, and to encourage colleagues to remind students of them
4. Essay tutorials: (1) Students felt it would be perfectly acceptable to make 3rd year essay tutorials optional, as long as lecturers make it clear to students what the tutorials are and why they are useful. (2) Students reported that at least one lecturer was only allowing 10 minute tutorials and not allowing sign--ups in advance. JS to deal with this.
5. Feedback: (1) Students noted that feedback was often too vague to be helpful-- they would appreciate more comments actually on essays, pointing out specific places where they’ve gone wrong. (2) Students noted that it would be helpful to have comments pointing out what they’ve done right, as well as what they’ve done wrong. (3) Students would like to find a good balance between speed and quantity feedback, noting that as long as they have feedback on previous essays 2 weeks in advance of the next essay they’re happy to wait longer in order to have fuller comments.
6. Facilitating Student comments: Students suggested that we should email all students with information on who their course representatives are and how to contact them, and put this information on the website. They have also set up a Facebook group and would like the department to help them in publicising this. RH noted that students running the Facebook group would need to monitor content, ensuring that e.g. particular lecturers are not mentioned by name, rumours aren’t put about, and so on. Students assured him they would do this. JS to do publicising, in consultation with students running the Facebook group.

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