Department of Computer Science

Learning and Teaching Strategy

Curriculum Development

Curriculum development deals not only with identifying areas in which new programmes may be needed but also in ensuring that existing provision reflects newer areas and relevant technologies. In keeping with the University's standing as a research-led institution, a significant factor informing the process of updating and reviewing programmes is in ensuring that teaching curricula are designed and modified in the context of cutting-edge research. Curriculum development is informed by the QAA Subject Benchmark for Computing and BCS accreditation guidelines. Modfications to existing modules are considered in the light of responses from students (via module and end of year questionnaire feedback) and module coordinators (through end of module reports). Proposals for extending the range of modules available and/or removing modules are considered by the Board of Studies in the light of factors such as continuing relevance, the need to reflect current research expertise within the department, appropriate input via the Departmental Industrial Liaison committee etc. Authoritative external input to curriculum development is provided via external examiners and by the responsible professional organisation British Computer Society (BCS).

At undergraduate level the Department offers eight single Honours degree programmes including an MEng, plus a joint Honours programme which is run in conjunction with the Management School. At masters level, the Department offers three MSc programmes and is also involved in the teaching of MSc and MRes programmes run by the Faculty. In order to ensure continuing relevance of all programmes against an enviroment of continual evolution, the Department monitors and directs necessary modification to its provision through the following mechanisms:

  1. Feedback from students as elicited from module and end-of-year questionnaires, reports from the Staff-Student Liaison Committee.
  2. Input from external reference points such the British Computer Society.
  3. Feedback from staff via module reports.
  4. Recommendation from external examiners.
  5. Input from potential applicants.

The principal group through which curriculum development initiatives, programme and module changes are reviewed is the Board of Studies in Computer Science, which considers information collated from (1-4): individual modules are reviewed at the end of each semester and decisions respecting changes agreed and minuted. The module coordinator(s) effect the agreed modifications by editing the formal module specification on Tulip.

While these processes work effectively at the level of module provision, it is recognised that a broader perspective is needed in order to ensure programme structures remain relevant and continue to reflect current practice. A sub-group of the Board of Studies (comprising the UG and PG Directors of Studies, Assessment Officer, Chair and HoD) deals with programme structure reviewing overall provision and interaction of programme components on a year-by-by year basis. Factors influencing programme changes range from recognition that core material should be introduced at earlier stages (e.g. as advised by external review or necessitated through introduction of advanced topics in final year), feedback from students expressing interest in increased coverage of given specialist areas, etc. Major factors in the development of new programmes have been in reflecting growing specialist research groups within the department (programme in e-finance), perceived demand as identified from feedback from applications and employer interests (G402).