UNIVERSITY OF DUNDEE
LEARNING AND TEACHING COMMITTEE
A meeting of the Committee was held on Monday 13 March 2006.
Present: Professor J Calderhead [Convener], Mrs B Illsley, Dr K Peebles, Dr K Wilkie
(vice Professor S Hunt), Professor C T Reid, Mrs L Gillies, Dr J Elliott,
Professor G Fisher, Dr L Walsh, Ms P Elliott, Dr A T Davidson, Ms P Elliott,
Mr D R W George, Mr J Bagnall, Ms L Bibby, Ms J Koprowska, Mr S Blane
In Attendance: Dr E Monaghan
By Invitation: Mr G Nicholson
Preliminary Remarks: to welcome Mr Graham Nicholson, Director of the Careers
Service, to his first meeting of the Committee.
Presentation: Mr Nicholson delivered a brief presentation on the actions taken by
the Careers Service to promote student employability which he had
outlined in his contribution to a recent Court paper which the
Committee also received.
Mr Nicholson employed the ESECT definition of employability as a
set of achievements - skills, understandings and personal attributes
that made graduates more likely to gain employment and be
successful in their chosen occupation.
Careers education in the curriculum and specifically via Personal
Development Planning (PDP) formed the key action to promote
student employability. Student Services offered a wide range of
opportunities to assist student employability but the Careers Service
was the principal provider of these services through its involvement
Employability and Personal Development Planning through its
participation in the development of and support for the launch of
the My PDP online resource in September 2005. The Service, to
date, had cooperated with Faculties in the joint delivery of an
induction session on PDP to over two thousand undergraduate
Credit bearing Careers education via the delivery of two Level 2
credit-bearing modules on Career Planning and a pilot on
Internship. The former was open to students in the Faculties of
Arts & Social Sciences and Life Sciences and studies at other
universities had shown that students who had completed this type
of module were 32% more likely to gain a “graduate track” job
after their degree. The internship module was launched in
January 2006 with twenty-two students and student placements
included the Prime Minister’s Office and with Sir Menzies
Employability and Careers Information Services including:
1. the operation of the Job Shop in the Careers Service which had
succeeded in successfully placing a large number of
international students in part-time employment; over 1400
students were currently registered with it.
2. raising employer awareness through the arrangement of
Careers Fairs, Employer Visits and the free Vacancy Service
which had advertised around 14,000 vacancies for final year
students (access via www.dundee.ac.uk/careers)
3. a comprehensive range of careers information resources.
Employability and Careers Consultancy
1. through direct participation in the University’s Academic
Programme Approval and Review procedures.
2. responsibility for the management of the annual First
Destination Survey including the interpretation and analysis of
graduate labour market for specific Faculties.
3. careers advice provided by the 5 day week drop-in Careers
Advice Service for all students and graduates and the on-line
careers guidance service.
In 2004/05, the Careers Service had recorded over 9,300 visits, almost
treble the number from the previous year and the number of students
attending careers talks trebled. Similarly during the same period,
there were approximately 198,300 visits to the Service’s website
compared to approximately 104,600 during the same period in the
It was noted that the Career Planning module was only open to
students from two Faculties which raised an issue of student equity
though it was noted that Faculties approached employability in a
diversity of ways. The move to the new College structure could
provide students from a broader range of subjects with these
opportunities, provided that the relevant programme regulations
If the pilot of the Internship module proved successful, the present
cap of thirty students would be lifted. The high degree of co-
operation between the Careers Service and Alumni Relations in the
identification of placements opportunities for students including the
Downing Street example, and the active involvement of local
businesses were welcomed.
Resolved: to thank Mr Nicholson for his informative presentation.
Resolved: to approve the minutes of the meeting of 23 January 2006 which
Senate approved without comment.
2. MATTERS ARISING
(1) Assessment Reporting Scale Working Group
(1) Meeting of the Assessment Reporting Scale Working Group
The Committee received the unapproved minute of the Group’s
meeting of 24 February 2006.
Concern was expressed regarding the accuracy of the unapproved
minute. Reference was made to the item on the exemptions granted to
the Faculty of Education & Social Work on use of the Type 1 scale and
the corresponding resolution. The Group had in fact agreed that the
only restriction on the use of the Type 1 scale was that it may not be
used for modules that contribute to Honours classification and that
the relevant section of the policy statement (paragraph 29) be
amended accordingly. The draft amendment suggested by the
Academic Secretary in the minute was considered too narrow to
reflect the Group’s views.
On minute 3(2), page 6, it was noted that the departments concerned
were English and Philosophy and not English and Psychology, as
In response to minute 1, the Committee received a paper from Ms
Elliott outlining current policy and practice on the recording of
students’ assessment on the Student Management System (SMS) to
seek to clarify the existing arrangements. The processes relating to
the reporting of final module grades and honours classifications and
to the recording of module grades and individual assessment
components were described. The former was a continuation of
approved University policy for recording and publishing student
assessment, while the latter actions were primarily the responsibility
of academic departments, under Registry guidance.
The significant change to previous practice was that departments
were expected to use the SMS for the purpose of recording students’
assessments centrally, rather than the previous system of multiple
‘local’ databases. Once recorded on the SMS, the results were
immediately published via eVision. It was noted that while some
departments had still retained their own ‘local’ databases, others had
replaced them by the SMS, in line with University policy, in terms of
its significant investment in the SMS.
While the above brief description of the SMS processes was clear,
some of the actual operational aspects of entering, manipulating and
reporting assessment data using the SMS required clarification and
improvement with regard to ‘user friendliness’. The University had
introduced a new SMS and a new policy on the assessment of taught
provision during essentially the same time period. There was a need
to disentangle the policy aspects of reporting students’ assessment
which was the task of the Assessment Reporting Scale Working
Group, from the operational aspects of implementing that policy. The
latter was included in the remit of the SITS User Group but it had not
met for some time.
(i) to endorse the Group’s recommendation that to avoid
confusion amongst students and staff, there should be no
change to the reporting and aggregation scales this academic
session, until the operational experience gained from the main
Summer diet of examinations was available for the Group’s
(ii) on the aggregation scale, to note that the Group, following its
review of the outcome of the Summer diet of degree
examinations, would consider whether the MF grade be
increased from 8 to 9 points to ‘better reflect the “marginal”
nature of the fail’;
(iii) to ask Dr Monaghan to arrange a further meeting of the Group
immediately following the final meeting of Boards of
Examiners, to review Faculties’ and Schools’ experiences of the
operation of the new reporting and aggregation scales;
(iv) to ask the Committee’s Faculty and School representatives to
collate Faculties’ and Schools’ views on (iii) above, for
submission to that meeting of the Group;
(v) to ask the Academic Secretary to consult the Convener on the
drafting of the amendment to the Type 1 scale, in line with the
Group’s wishes, and to ask him to submit that text to the
Committee’s meeting of 15 May 2006; and
(vi) to ask Ms Elliott to consult Faculty and School Secretaries to
arrange a meeting of the SITS User Group involving the
relevant faculty and departmental staff, to discuss the
operational aspects of the implementation of the new
assessment policy and to identify problem areas for resolution
before the assessment data for the forthcoming main
examination diet was recorded onto the SMS and to ask Ms
Elliott to report the outcome of that meeting to the
Committee’s meeting of 15 May 2006.
(2) Guidance on e-Vision for Students on the New Reporting Scale
The Director of the Registry, Ms P Elliott, submitted a paper by Mr M
Glover, Registry, describing briefly how students were able to view
provisional assignment and module results by running reports in
eVision. The reports queried the SITS database and displayed the
provisional grades. Students were then able to translate the grades
against the appropriate assessment scales and qualifying codes which
were listed at the end of the report. Queries concerning grades were
directed to the relevant department. Screenshots displaying what a
student would see on eVision were included in the paper.
In response to the Group’s request, the third screenshot included new
text explaining the procedure for the recording of a zero mark due to a
Medical Certificate (MC) or a Certified Absence (CA).
Resolved: to note the paper.
(3) Improved Guidance for Boards of Examiners
Resolved: in the Academic Secretary’s absence, to defer
consideration of his paper on improved guidance for
Boards of Examiners on the new reporting scale and
their role in the assessment process until the
Committee’s meeting of 15 May 2006.
(4) Penalty Points: Draft University Policy
The Committee received a paper from the Academic Secretary
providing recommendations on an institutional policy on penalty
points for the late submission of students’ coursework and for
students’ non-attendance at tutorials. The final policy would not be
applied until the beginning of the next academic session.
Some expressed the view that the recommendations were too harsh
but it was agreed that more time was required to consult colleagues
on the full implications of the recommendations. On recommended
penalties for non-attendance at tutorials, the difference between
students’ simply attending tutorials and actively contributing to
tutorial discussions was noted. On the corresponding
recommendations for the late submission of assessed work, guidance
would be required on the interpretation of what constituted
“acceptable” in the phrase, “where there is no acceptable reason”.
(i) to ask the Committee’s Faculty and School representatives to
submit the paper to Faculties’ and Schools Learning &
Teaching Committees for comment;
(ii) to ask Ms Bibby to submit the paper to the DUSA Students’
Council to obtain their views; and
(iii) to ask that the above comments be forwarded to Dr Francis by
Monday 1 May 2006 and to ask him to submit these comments
to the Committee’s meeting of 15 May 2006.
(5) Students’ Views on the New Reporting Scale
The Committee received an oral report from the DUSA President, Ms
L Bibby, on recent student feedback on the introduction of the new
assessment policy for taught provision.
After some initial confusion, the Students’ Council had indicated that
students were generally satisfied with the new policy. However
Honours students at Level 4 required a reassurance from the
University that the transition between the two reporting scales would
not have an adverse effect on their final degree classification
particularly for those students on the borderline between two classes
of Honours degree. The University’s position on this issue must be
transparent to students and staff.
Resolved: it was agreed that in line with common university
practice where a change in assessment reporting placed
a student on a borderline, the Board of Examiner’s
discretion would normally be in the favour of the
(2) European Diploma Supplement (EDS)
Ms P Elliott tabled a paper outlining progress with the development of an
institutional EDS (now known as a Europass) by the Registry in consultation
with the Director of Quality Assurance, Dr A T Davidson. The Registry had
embarked on a project to produce and manage the datasets using SITS web-
based functionality, to create the institutional Europass. Given the scale of
the project, it was not expected that the new system would be fully
operational until the academic year 2006/07.
Any student graduating this Summer would receive, on request, a copy of a
Europass, in addition to his/her individual final academic transcript.
The paper included a copy of an example of this transcript reporting the new
assessment reporting scale and the supporting explanatory text together with
details of the previous reporting scale.
(i) to ask Ms Elliott to keep the Committee informed of progress with the
development of the SITS related system to deliver the Europass; and
(ii) on the reference in the final academic transcript to credit awarded
under “APL”, to ask Ms Elliott to include a reference to the relevant
Scottish Qualifications Framework Level of any credit awarded in the
final version of the transcript as well as the University’s level
3. LEARNING AND TEACHING STRATEGY
The Committee received the latest draft of the University’s Learning & Teaching
Strategy and the associated action plan.
The following observations were made on the draft strategy;
references to the word “new” in the phrase “new technology” were no longer
on page 4 in respect of the reference to the “University’s principal aim”, to ensure
that this “Aim” was consistent with the other relevant University documents and
to suggest that the phrase “within the strategy” might be added after that phrase.
(i) to ask the Convener to incorporate Dr Davidson’s points relating to quality
enhancement into the draft documents before they were circulated to
Faculties and School’s Learning & Teaching Committees for comment; and
(ii) to ask the Convener to submit Faculties’ observations on the draft strategy
and action plan to the Committee’s meeting of 15 May 2006.
4. STUDENT REPRESENTATION WORKING GROUP: PROPOSALS FOR A CO-
CURRICULAR STUDENT LEADERSHIP MODULE
The Committee received a paper from the Student Representation Working Group
on its revised proposals for a pilot co-curricular student leadership skills module.
These revised proposals incorporated Faculties’ earlier comments and reflected
strong student demand, expressed via DUSA, that a module of this type would be a
real incentive to motivate and encourage students to engage in co-curricular
activities. The pilot module was simply a recognition of the student contribution and
achievement which was already present in a variety of co-curricular student
activities including student representation, sports clubs, students’ societies and
volunteering. The module would be optional and would be available to students
who were studying at level SHE2 /SCQF 8 or beyond, and who were participating in
co-curricular activities that would allow them to engage with the module, and who
met the specified intake requirements. It would not affect the credit accumulated by
a student throughout this/her degree and would also support and reinforce effective
use of the e-portfolio, the on-line MyPDP electronic resource, and build on the
University’s leading edge expertise in e-learning.
The Module Leader would have responsibility for student enrolment. Students
might be denied the opportunity to take the module if the Leader following
consultation with the relevant academic staff, decided that a student might
jeopardise the successful completion of his/her degree programme by enrolling on it.
The pilot module would probably comprise 10 credits, equivalent to 100 hours of
notional student effort on learning activities, extending over two semesters, at SHE
Level 2/SCQF Level 8. The Learning Enhancement Unit (LEU) had agreed to lead
the delivery of the module, working closely with DUSA. This was subject to the
availability of the necessary funding (as outlined in the LEU’s draft costing) for the
proposed three year pilot commencing in September 2006. The Group would
identify a Faculty to oversee the quality assurance aspects of module approval,
review and external examining. LEU staff would provide all day-to-day
administration of the module.
The Committee recognised the advantages of the proposals but expressed concern on
the identification of the funding required by the LEU to deliver the three year pilot.
(i) while recognising the merit of the Group’s proposals, to ask it to consult the
CEM on their potential involvement in the pilot module and to ask the Group
to report the outcome of that discussion to the Committee’s meeting of 15
May 2006; and
(ii) to ask the Convener to consider during his current review of the Centre for
Learning & Teaching whether any resources might be identified to fund the
5. ACADEMIC QUALITY COMMITTEE (AQC)
The Committee received the unapproved report of the meeting of 27 February 2006
and a copy of the Howells Report: Learning to Improve was tabled.
The Committee considered minute 1.2(1) of the report in relation to the AQC’s
discussion of staff student ratio derived from HESA data and the related information
published in the Guardian. The Convener noted that the unapproved minute
required correction in this area prior to its submission to Senate.
For its part, the Committee also expressed its concern on the perceived inadequacies
of the University’s procedures for cross-checking the accuracy of institutional data
submitted to HESA, at the departmental and Faculty level. Inaccuracies in any of the
personnel, student and finance HESA datasets could have an adverse effect on the
value of the management information provided to Colleges to inform their operation
and development. This included the operation of staff workload models as proposed
in the draft learning and teaching strategy. These inaccuracies would also have a
significant negative effect on external perceptions of the University’s standing in
certain subject areas.
(i) on minute 1.2(1) of the report concerning HESA data, to ask the Convener to
consult Mr D R W George (Mr George had left the Committee’s meeting by
this point) on the University’s procedures for cross-checking the accuracy of
HESA data at the Faculty and departmental level and to ask him to report his
findings to the Committee’s meeting of 15 May 2006;
(ii) on minute 1.2, to ask Dr A T Davidson to discuss his views on improved
guidance for external examiners and related institutional policy on Boards of
Examiners with Dr Francis, as the minute was incomplete in this area, to
allow Dr Francis to address these in his paper for the Committee’s meeting of
15 May 2006;
(iii) on minute 1.4, to note the main outcomes of the thematic overview of annual
monitoring of taught programmes for 2004-05;
(iv) on minute 1.5 concerning the QAA follow-up to the University’s ELIR, to note
that the University’s submission to the Agency would be submitted to the
next meeting of the AQC, in advance of the University’s annual discussion
with that body;
(v) on minute 1.7, to note the publication of the Howells’ report
(vi) on minute 2.2, to note a summary of recent external developments and
activities relating to quality assurance and enhancement
6. SUB-COMMITTEE ON THE FLEXIBLE DELIVERY OF LEARNING
The Committee received report of the Sub-Committee’s meeting of 22 February 2006.
Professor Ward drew the Committee’s attention to minute 6 concerning the Director
of e-Learning’s report on the latest LEU developments for the further enhancement
of the University’s e-learning infrastructure. The Sub-Committee had endorsed Dr
Parsons’ recommendation that funding be identified for the appointment of a
technical support officer to enhance the level of ICS/LEU technical support for My
Dundee and Questionmark, the computer aided assessment system, given the critical
importance of these systems for the delivery of learning and teaching.
It was noted that the University had not yet signed up to the new Copyright
Licensing Agency (CLA) photocopying and scanning licence reportedly because of
the high costs of the central administration, monitoring and reporting requirements
for the new licence. The University was covered legally in this area until 31 July
2006, under the terms of the existing Higher Education Digitisation Agreement.
After that date, the University would be able to use the HERON service to clear
digital copies of UK publications on a transactional basis except that HERON would
now have to deal directly with rights holders rather than through the CLA.
It was estimated that approximately 50% of UK Universities had so far signed up for
the new CLA agreement. The University could still opt into the scheme, either in
August 2006 or February 2007. The Sub-Committee’s Faculty and School
representatives were asked to note that My Dundee should be cleared of materials
digitised under the current agreement by July 31st at the latest. Even materials
cleared through HERON recently would only have clearance until August 2006, at
the latest, so anything required for the first Semester in the 2006-07 session would
need to be requested again before the semester commenced.
(i) on minute 2(3) of the report concerning the item on progress with the re-
introduction of an on-line service to replace Webalumnus, to promote and
maintain contact with University alumni, to welcome Mr George’s oral
report that a company had now been identified to provide the necessary
(ii) on minute 4 on the development of a new My Dundee resource to support
staff in the development and delivery of distance learning programmes, led
by Dr G Manwaring, Faculty of Education & Social Work, to congratulate the
advances made by Dr Manwaring on this important project;
(iii) on minute 5, to welcome the first stage of the development of a new Freshers’
website aimed specifically at supporting distance learning students;
(iv) on minute 6, concerning the Director of e-Learning’s report on the latest
developments to enhance the University’s e-learning infrastructure, to
endorse fully the Sub-Committee’s recommendation for additional technical
(v) on minute 9, concerning the University’s position on a subscription to the
new CLA Higher Education Digitisation Licence, to note Faculties’ concern
about the implications of not subscribing.
7. ACADEMIC PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
The Director of Academic Professional Development, Dr L Walsh, provided an oral
report on the following recent developments in her area of responsibility:
the new Higher Education Academy’s National Professional Standards
Framework for Standards in Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher
Education (http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/news/20_4263.htm refers);
a flyer reporting details of the Honorary Graduates' Award for Innovative
Teaching for 2005/06
a tabled flyer providing details of the second one-day annual Academic
Professional Development (APD) conference on “Supporting Learning
through Assessment” on Tuesday 20 June 2006 in the Westpark Conference
Centre which would be hosted jointly by APD and the School of Nursing &
Midwifery but would be open free of charge to all staff involved in teaching
the University’s recent successful bid for funding to the HEA’s Change
to note Dr Walsh’s role as the primary point of contact between the
University and HEA and the Academy’s recent actions to promote better
liaison with institutions through the appointment of a senior advisor for
Scotland, Dr A Ross, and the publication of a new on-line newsletter for
(i) to thank Dr Walsh for her report and to ask her to submit details of the
successful bid to the HEA’s Change Academy to the Committee’s meeting of
15 May 2006; and
(ii) to encourage the Committee to promote the Honorary Graduates’ Award for
innovative teaching and to note that the closing date for applications to Dr
Walsh was Friday 28 April 2006.
1. DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Resolved: to note that the Committee's next meeting would be held on Monday
15 May 2006 at 2pm.
Professor J Calderhead
22 March 2006