LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY

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1 LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY Programme Specification Computer Science Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if full advantage is taken of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information on the learning outcomes, content and teaching, learning and assessment methods of each module can be found in Module Specifications and other programme documentation and online at The accuracy of the information in this document is reviewed by the University and may be checked by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. Awarding body/institution Department Teaching Institution (if different) Details of accreditation by a professional/statutory body Name of final award Programme title UCAS code Date at which the programme specification was written or revised Loughborough University Computer Science British Computer Society BSc(Hons)(+DPS) MSci(Hons)(+DPS) Computer Science Computer Science Extended BSc G400,G401 MSci G402, G403 August Aims of the programme: To inspire students to have interest and enthusiasm for subjects they have chosen to study, and to involve them in an intellectually stimulating and satisfying experience of learning and studying. To develop knowledge, understanding and skills in information technology. To give students the knowledge and skills needed to become effective professionals within the computing industries To provide students with selected specialised areas of study so that they can experience the frontiers of practice and research in information technology. To provide training, through a range of educational activities, to develop a range of transferable skills applicable to employment. To prepare students for further work and research in the field of Computer Science.

2 2 To give students the knowledge and skills needed to be able to provide computer science solutions to information technology problems. (MSci only) To prepare students for their career by both broadening and deepening the skills and abilities of the BSc programme. 2. Relevant subject benchmark statements and other external and internal reference points used to inform programme outcomes: QAA Computing Benchmark The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications Loughborough University's Learning and Teaching Strategy Departmental Assessment Policy and Assessment Strategy Annual and Periodic Programme Review External Examiners' reports Staff/student committees The particular specialisms of the Department of Computer Science staff BCS Accreditation Documents. 3. Intended Learning Outcomes Knowledge and Understanding: On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the following areas of the Computing Curriculum: Architectures Artificial Intelligence Comparative Programming Languages Compilers and Syntax Tools Computer Based Systems Computer Communications Computer Networks Computer Hardware Engineering Computer Vision & Image Processing Concurrency and Parallelism Databases Data Structures and Algorithms Distributed Computer Systems Document Processing

3 3 e-commerce Engineering and scientific principles applicable to information systems Graphics and Sound HCI Information Retrieval Information Systems Intelligent Information Systems Technologies Management techniques in a computing context Mathematical underpinning principles Multimedia Natural Language Computing Operating Systems Professional, legal and ethical issues Programming Fundamentals Security and Privacy Simulation and Modelling Software Engineering Systems Analysis & Design Theoretical Computing Web-based Computing Students on the MSci programme will cover the same ILOs as the BSc, but at a greater depth in at least one area of the above list of topics. In addition they will be expected to show knowledge and understanding of: Appropriate research techniques applicable to their specialised interest area. Professionalism and management in a commercial and economic context. Teaching, learning and assessment strategies to enable outcomes to be achieved and demonstrated: Most modules are allocated three hours of contact time per week, which are often used by the module organiser for two lectures and one tutorial. The style of lectures is very varied from the classic "chalk & talk" to complete presentations using data projection. Where staff load permits, tutorial groups are smaller than the lecture classes and usually discuss "problem sheets" related to recently presented material. Staffed practical sessions in the Department s laboratories are sometimes timetabled but it is more common to expect the students to organise their own visits to the laboratories. Some modules in all Parts of the programme require students to work in groups on structured assignments which may involve interviewing the 'customer'. Each group of students is given the opportunity to submit evidence of the relative work per group member. MSci

4 4 students, in their final year, are also given experience of assisting and supervising first year team work. Students are expected to attend all contact periods for their modules. They have access to the teaching staff by which they can also use to arrange personal visits. Students are supported by teaching materials on the departmental intranet. They also have rooms in which they can arrange meetings and discussion forums/ to allow electronic communication amongst themselves. Quantitative and qualitative feedback relating to assessment is made available to students as soon as possible. Assessment in all cases is by the most appropriate mechanism. This varies from groupbased project work for the analysis modules to written examination, where a student will be expected to show particular knowledge and understanding. A number of modules are assessed through presentation, where such skills are necessary to show understanding of the presented material. Subject-specific cognitive skills: On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to Modelling: use the appropriate knowledge and understanding described above in the modelling and design of computer-based systems for the purposes of comprehension, communication, prediction and the understanding of trade-offs. Requirements, practical constraints and computer-based systems in their context: recognise and analyse criteria and specifications appropriate to specific problems, and plan strategies for their solution. Critical evaluation and testing: analyse the extent to which a computer-based system meets the criteria defined for its current use and future development. Methods and tools: deploy appropriate theory, practices and tools, including engineering principles founded on appropriate scientific and technological disciplines, appropriate scientific principles and mathematical principles and notation, for the analysis, specification, design, implementation and evaluation of computer-based systems. Reflection and communication: present succinctly to a range of audiences (orally, electronically or in writing) rational and reasoned arguments that address a given information handling problem or opportunity. Professional considerations: recognise the professional, moral and ethical issues involved in the exploitation of computer technology and be guided by the adoption of appropriate professional, ethical and legal practices. Management techniques: use management techniques to achieve objectives within a computing context. In addition MSci students should be able to: Show critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights in their chosen specialist area. Deploy appropriate research techniques within their chosen field of specialism. Apply the professional and management techniques within a commercial and economic context.

5 5 Teaching, learning and assessment strategies to enable outcomes to be achieved and demonstrated: These cognitive skills are based on the knowledge and understanding taught in the modules throughout the programme. All modules generally have set coursework consisting of exercises, essays, presentations or mini-projects to enable the students to consolidate their learning and develop their cognitive skills in the subject area. Many of the modules have a timetabled tutorial or supervised lab session to further enable the building of these skills. The coursework may or may not be directly assessed. In some modules examinations test the skills developed during the module and other skills are only assessed during the separate project modules. In many of these modules the students have the opportunity to increase their marks by displaying additional information they have researched. The projects in the third and fourth years require students to understand and contribute to the building of complex computer solutions to realistic problems. This will require research and development, which students will undertake with guidance mainly from their project supervisor but also from the project coordinator in a series of lectures given throughout the duration of the project. In most cases the project will build on a foundation of knowledge obtained from other modules taken. The second year team projects also require students to research and apply their knowledge to produce complex systems relevant to an industrial computing environment. Guidance is given during the team projects module by a module team of lecturers and support staff. In modules with a laboratory content students are expected to investigate and learn possible solutions to problems with help being available from laboratory supervisors as required. In other modules the students are required to solve a variety of problems building on the knowledge acquired during the module and supporting modules. MSci students are given additional research experience through the thesis project and additional professional and management experience through the group project and management modules in Part D. Subject-specific practical skills: On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to: use appropriate processes to specify, design, implement, verify and maintain computer-based systems, including working with technical uncertainty. investigate and define a problem, identify constraints, understand customer and user needs, ensure fitness of purpose and manage the design process and evaluate outcomes. evaluate systems in terms of general quality attributes and possible trade-offs presented within the given problem. deploy effectively the tools used for the construction and documentation of computer applications, with particular emphasis on understanding the whole process involved in the effective deployment of computers to solve practical problems, including applying the principles of appropriate engineering, scientific and mathematical disciplines. operate computing equipment effectively, taking into account its logical and physical properties.

6 6 In addition, MSci students should be able to: Apply appropriate research techniques Develop and apply new technologies Show originality and innovation Identify and manage cost drivers Make general evaluations of commercial risk Teaching, learning and assessment strategies to enable outcomes to be achieved and demonstrated: These topics concern the application of computer science and as such are taught formally in modules, where examples and exercises in lectures and tutorials cover the practical application of the theory taught. In modules with a laboratory content students are expected to investigate and learn possible solutions to problems with help being available from laboratory supervisors as required. In many cases the skills are directly assessed by coursework or, where appropriate, by examination. Some practical skills are only assessed in the project modules. The third and fourth year projects and the Part B team projects allow students to consolidate their knowledge by practical application and to research and develop new knowledge and skills. Consideration of structure, reliability and usability are taken into account when marking these projects. Instruction is given in the Software Project Management module on planning and managing projects which students are expected to follow in their final year projects. For MSci students, the group project and management of IT modules of the final year give experience of an industry based project to further develop practical and professional skills, including cost evaluation and risk, and the thesis project gives experience of research techniques and new technologies giving an opportunity to show originality and innovation. MSci final year students are also given practical leadership and managerial experience in working with first year teams. Key/transferable skills: On successful completion of these programmes, students should have the following skills: The ability to make concise, engaging and well-structured presentations, arguments and explanations of varying lengths by using various media The ability to work as a member of a development team, recognising the different roles within a team and different ways of organising teams. Effective information-retrieval skills (including the use of browsers, search engines and catalogues). Numeracy in both understanding and presenting cases involving a quantitative dimension. Effective use of general IT facilities. Communication skills in electronic as well as written and oral form to a range of audiences.

7 7 Managing one's own learning and development including time management and organisational skills. Appreciating the need for continuing professional development in recognition of the need for lifelong learning. Teaching, learning and assessment strategies to enable outcomes to be achieved and demonstrated: Many of these transferable skills will be acquired while developing the cognitive and practical skills associated with the programme. Information retrieval skills are obtained while researching subjects for many modules, including project work. Numeracy skills will be acquired in the mathematical modules. General IT skills are obtained while developing software solutions and preparing presentations and reports. The management of one's own learning is achieved when balancing the workload within and between modules. The appreciation of the need for continuing professional development is achieved through the exposure of students to the latest technologies and methods in the final year. These skills are not directly assessed though graduating from this programme would not be possible without these skills being obtained. However, the ability to work in a team is directly considered in the marking of the Team Projects module and communication skill is directly considered in the marking of the final year project. In the Team Projects and the final year projects students are assessed on the demonstrations/ presentations they make. 4. Programme structures and requirements, levels, modules, credits and awards: The honours BSc consists of three academic years with an optional additional year in industry between Parts B & C leading to the supplementary award of Diploma in Professional Studies. The MSci award is identical to the honours BSc programme (including the optional year in industry) but with an additional academic year consisting project work with some management work. Full details can be found in the Programme Regulations. 5. Criteria for admission to the programme: Admission to the programme is usually on the basis of 280 A level points for the BSc degree or 300 points for the MSci Degree. In both cases at least 50 of these points must be in Mathematics. Other relevant qualifications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 6. Information about assessment regulations: Most modules are assessed by a mixture of written examination, coursework and some will include practical assessment. Part A and Part B assessment is for progression to the second and third year respectively. Part A and B results are weighted 1:3 for the BSc degree in calculating final degree classification. For the MSci degree the weighting of parts B, C and D is 14:43:43 (approx 1:3:3) respectively. Students follow modules weighted at 120 credits per year. In order to progress to the next year of the programme, or to be awarded a degree at the end of Part C, students

8 8 must, each year, accumulate at least 100 credits (120 credits for MSci students). A Pass mark of 40% is applied to each module. Any student who fails to meet these module requirements has the automatic right of reassessment on one occasion only. Students who have achieved a minimum of 60 credits for the year can opt for reassessment in either the September following the end of the academic year or during the course of the following academic year. Students with less than 60 credits must wait until the following year to be reassessed. Students who are reassessed in the following year may choose to take the reassessment with or without tuition. Students who are reassessed with tuition are required to take both coursework and examination components of the module (and the new mark supersedes the original mark). Students who are reassessed without tuition may be allowed to carry forward the component which has been passed. The overall mark, averaged over coursework and examination, for reassessed modules is capped at 40%. 7. What makes the programmes distinctive: In the last 3 years that the National Student Survey has run, the Department of Computer Science has consistently been at or near the top of the tables. Three labs of around 50 computers each, provide support for student work. We are one of the first universities to adopt a triple-booting Windows/Linux/MacOSX environment providing experience of all major platforms. The department maintains two student study room and is located very close to other amenities on campus. An Intranet provides access to all learning resources for our students, together with other information. Lectures and other sessions are presented in University supported pool rooms, all equipped to high standards, many with data projection facilities. All students are supported by a comprehensive support structure including Personal Tutors, Year Tutors, Programme Tutors and a Senior Tutor. Our programmes support both three- and four-year taught variations leading to a bachelor (honours BSc) or masters (MSci) degrees with specialisation available through project work in both the 3rd and 4th years. In addition all students can undertake a sandwich year in industry, where the department provides support both during the year and in finding placement opportunities. The programmes have been recently restructured. This has created an IT core that concentrates on key computing learning outcomes for all students, and a Computer Science specialist addition for single- honours programmes. The former allows the student to learn requirements analysis, system design and the creation of web-based systems. The latter concentrating on the foundations of computing, AI, graphics and advanced IT topics. Development of our programmes has take place with input from the Department's Industrial Advisory Committee which meets regularly in order to keep our programme content up-to-date with the needs of industry. Several companies offer prizes to students as individuals and groups, the department also funds prizes for the best students. Our programmes are regularly accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS) and our aim is for all programmes to receive accreditation by the BCS and the Engineering Council. On their most recent visit the QAA awarded the department the top possible grading for its programmes and their delivery. The final year optional modules are based on the research strengths of the department's staff. This gives a set of modules truly reflecting the skills of the department. The quality

9 9 of the Programme is endorsed by the external examiners who are consulted at each stage of the examination process who view and comment on papers, coursework and undertake viva voce examinations during their summer visit. 8. Particular support for learning 8.1 Departmental Support The department has an integrated structure for the management, appraisal and planning of teaching and learning. This is comprised of the Teaching Coordinator (who manages the Learning and Teaching Committee and has overall responsibility for teaching matters); the Senior Tutor who is responsible for student welfare and arranges social events for the students to take part in; Programme Directors who have responsibility for the academic content and the general organisation of the course, and the academic welfare of the students); Year Tutors who monitor students performance and attendance; and Personal Tutors who are responsible for matters relating to academic welfare. On the first day of their academic studies, students receive information from the department directing them towards the departmental intranet site which contains important information including the management structure of the department, programme and module specifications and general points relating to coursework and examination. The students are also assigned a personal tutor who is responsible for their personal welfare who arranges to see them during the first semester. Thereafter the personal tutor arranges to see their tutees at important times, such as after examinations, at the start of a new year or when problems have been raised in respect to the tutees by Year Coordinator, Programme Director or Teaching Coordinator. The department runs its own computer labs specifically for the use of students on its own programmes. All material related to programme learning and administration is available on the departmental intranet. In addition, the department provides several study areas for student use during the semester. 8.2 University Support For further information please see: 9. Methods for evaluating and improving the quality and standards of learning For information please see:

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