Carrying on in the time of coronavirus

Like everyone else we have closed down physical meetings, and have gone on-line for both teaching and research. We are still working out how to keep a community together, and different research groups are doing different things to maintain cohesion.

We at QMUL have taken the approach that we are providing teaching virtually, and there have been a lot of internal conversations about what is (and sometimes isn’t working). And we still have to work out how to do assessments so that students can graduate and progress. Some decisions have been taken at University level, but there is a lot of working out how to implement them on the ground.

In some sense there is good news. We have to change our practice and make better use of the tools we have available. Early feedback from those giving on-line lectures and webinars is that they can be more interactive than traditional classroom teaching and that the students who are there are more engaged and find them stimulating. And we are also being told that it makes a real difference for students to see that there is a member of staff there supporting them live.

I’d like to set up way of extending this conversation to the community. This is a blog post, I hope folks can comment to tell others what they are doing at their institutions. Please do. If it grows then we’ll need to spin off to separate topics.

EPSRC Balancing Capability: Call for Evidence Closes Soon

EPSRC has asked institutions for evidence to help in its review of its “Balancing Capability” framework. The call closes on 3rd June.

Colleagues will be aware that EPSRC is currently updating its Balancing Capabilities framework. This involves a relatively small amount of structural change (introducing or merging areas and changing definitions). It is also re-examining the classifications into grow, maintain and shrink.

As part of this, institutions have been asked to supply evidence. Please note, the call is to institutions, and the request is for a fairly tightly defined form of evidence. Put simply, evidence is a report (preferably published) written by somebody else. It is not a statement from an individual, no matter how knowledgeable or persuasive.

If you have knowledge of such a report, and would like it to be considered in the process, then:

CPHC is planning to make a small submission, and in the event that you can’t submit evidence through your own institution, then you are welcome to request that we forward it on your behalf. The phrasing is intended to discourage you from taking this route as easier than communicating with individuals at your own institution. And note that we are not guaranteeing to submit everything passed on to us.

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CPHC and Community Support for CAS

Over the past year CPHC has been helping to fund Computing at School.

Last year the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing donated about a third of its income for the year to support the Computing at School project ( Together with donations from member institutions, this allowed the CPHC to make a grant of £20k to CAS.

According to a report from Simon Humphreys, the funding has helped support the employment of Sue Sentance, the National Academic Coordinator for the Network of Excellence. CPHC’s charitable objective is to advance public education in Computer Science, and we are proud to be associated with with a programme contributing so substantially to that.

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HEFCE, BIS, CPHC to meet

CPHC has been invited to a meeting to discuss the outcomes of UK Computer Science degrees.

Colleagues at HEFCE are coordinating a roundtable meeting to be held in early autumn to discuss aspects of the provision of education in Computer Science. Representation is likely from BIS and e-skills UK as well as HEFCE and CPHC.

We expect the meeting to discuss (at least) what the DLHE and long DLHE surveys have to say about the migration of Computer Science degree holders into the workforce, and what we know about the alignment between the UK’s educational provision and the needs of industry.

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