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School of Computing

Teaching and assessment

Learning and assessment - Undergraduate - School of Computing

You will be taught by academics at the cutting edge of their field who are research active and have extensive knowledge and expertise accumulated over time, many of whom are leading experts in their fields of specialisation. Our research feeds directly into our teaching, which means you'll learn about the latest developments within your subject from world-class academics who will challenge, encourage and support you.

You will experience a variety of teaching approaches that are designed to assist learning and maximise achievement.

Individual modules help you to develop sound theoretical knowledge and high-level practical skills. You will undertake formal written work, applied and technical assignments, interim progress checks, and both group and individual project work. Preparation for examinations is supported through coursework, revision sessions, and even mock exams.

Lectures are the primary form of teaching and these are supported by small group sessions and workshops. Many modules require laboratory-based classes and project work is supported through tutorials and individual supervision meetings. Skill development is encouraged through group work, presentations, problem solving activities and a focus on time-management.

Lectures are one of the ways to help students develop an understanding of key aspects of the subject. We have modern lecture theatres, equipped with the latest audio-visual and computer-based teaching aids, such as WiFi networking and voting handsets. Lecturers use a variety of techniques to enhance their teaching including group discussions, frequent opportunities to ask (and answer) questions, short tests and in-class solution of problems. Lecture material is available online through the university Virtual Learning Environment.

Laboratory classes
Laboratory classes are an integral part of the taught courses to put the theoretical into practice and develop the technical skills required to work in the IT industry. The school's own computer laboratories provide state of the art equipment for both individual and small group work supervised by lecturers and demonstrators.

Tutorials and example classes
Small group teaching encourages active participation and understanding and is often used in addition to lectures to enhance learning and provide additional support.

Example classes also provide the opportunity to discuss problems with lecturers and demonstrators on a one to one or group basis. Individual, personal tutorials provide pastoral support focusing on professional development, the wider academic context and general well-being.

Project work
Through your course you will undertake both individual and group projects. Project work is an excellent opportunity to explore and develop essential skills such as problem solving, communications skills, time management and teamwork. Project work develops, as you progress through the course, from guided activities to role-based group work to individual research projects.

Computing ethics
As a student in the School of Computing, you will study computing ethics as part of your programme of learning. At Leeds, ethics is taught using real life case studies, with input from specialist ethicists as well as your tutors and lecturers. The team responsible for the ethics taught in computing have produced educational material used to stimulate debate in class about topics such as ethical hacking, open source software, and use of personal data.

This ethics teaching will enhance your reasoning and decision making skills which are crucial to employers, and will help you identify and respond effectively to ethical dilemmas that you will encounter in your professional life in the IT industry.

Student staff forum
We have an active Student Staff Forum chaired by the students with student representatives from all years of all courses and staff, including the Head of School, representing the main School functions. Focus groups of staff and students are used to discuss proposed developments in assessment, curricula and the School environment. The School, Faculty and University Student Education Committees all have student representatives. There is an active Computer Society (CompSoc) run by our students.

Our current students often say that project work is one of the most satisfying and challenging aspects of their course. It provides an excellent opportunity for you to explore a subject further and to develop essential personal skills such as problem solving, communication and teamwork, vital to success in any career.

Projects are particularly important in the Professional Development module in the first year, Software Engineering in the second, the third-year research project and the fourth-year group project.

Our close links with industry mean that you will benefit from industrial input into design projects at a variety of levels, from setting projects to more direct involvement in discussions and consultancy. Recent examples of final-year individual projects include:

  • • Automatics Detection of Cancer in Lymph Nodes – a system capable of diagnosing a slide showing a section of lymph node as either healthy or cancerous.

  • • Eye Tracking with State-of-the-Art Radiography – using a head mounted eye tracker to help assess the way radiologists view and report on images taken with a state-of-the-art technique.

  • • Numerical Algorithms for Predicting Sports Results – details specially created algorithms which make use of data in order to predict the outcome of American Football games.

  • • Image-based Location Recognition for Navigating the University Campus – an image recognition system capable of detecting a specific location from a selection of photographs.

  • • Data Mining Tool for the Extraction of Concert Programme Information – demonstrates automated methods to extract 19th century concert information from plain or semi-structured text.

  • • Enhancing Online Photo Sharing with Location, Event & Family Tree Information – a web based photo sharing system that uses specific information to provide enhanced categorization of querying capabilities.

  • • Building static robots to solve manipulative puzzles – Can a robot solve a manipulative puzzle faster than a human?

  • •‘Eyes Wide Open’ – Finding Closed Eyes in Digital Photographs – detects closed eyes in digital images and replaces them with open eyes.

  • • Surveillance for the General Public - experiments with different ways to represent motion in the screen, in particular through colour.

You will be assessed by a variety of means including examinations, laboratory practicals, and reports. Progress is monitored and feedback provided through the regular submission of coursework, worksheets, laboratory exercises, and mock exams. Examinations can take the form of traditional, unseen papers, but often will take the form of a practical, laboratory based test, or an open-book paper designed to test the application of curriculum content.

Final written module examinations are used to assess around 60% of a typical degree course. They vary in length from 1 to 3 hours and can be closed or open book examinations. The content can be in the form of multiple choice questions, short answer, discursive, analytical or design questions. The content and form of the written examination reflects the requirements and level of the module and the examinations in latter years will be more open ended and searching than those in earlier years. As with all assessments the intention is for students to demonstrate their understanding and competency in respect of the module objectives.

In-module tests
These are more often used in the early years of a programme to help students develop an understanding of material and to help them gauge their progress and manage their time.

Assessed example sheets
These are more often used in the early years of programmes, as for in-module tests. They usually consist of a few problems to be solved, the solutions being marked and corrected and returned to students to help them develop their understanding of the course. Detailed feedback is often provided in Example Classes.

Practical work
Laboratory work may be assessed by the submission of report or a demonstration of the work in the laboratory. Reports may include a description of the methodology, the end-results and, most importantly, critical analysis and discussion of the output. Demonstrations might be used to show how some software you have developed works or to present the results of your experiments.

Through the course there will be a number of opportunities for you to present your work both individually and as part of a group and develop your presentation skills. A student symposium is held each year for final-year students to present the findings from their individual project work.

Group and individual projects are assessed through dissertations to develop communication skills. The scale of the dissertation varies considerably, from a narrative description of the management of a group software project to a 60-page individual report on the final year project. The work is assessed under various headings, for example understanding of the problem, the development of the solution and evaluation of the work completed.

We have an excellent student support team, located close to where you work and study, who will help you with anything, from academic advice and guidance, online module enrolment and registration, timetabling, results and progression requirements to coursework or project submission enquiries.

Our personal tutorial system will provide additional academic and pastoral support. You will have a designated personal tutor throughout your studies at Leeds. He or she will be an academic member of staff: you will have weekly academic tutorials with your tutor throughout your first year, in your tutor group (of typically 5 students), as well as one-to-one meetings twice per semester.

The web-based student portal will enable you to access the University’s student services and information and the University’s virtual learning environment (VLE) allows you access to your personal timetables, academic and social groups, and much more.