Computer Laboratory

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Supervisor support in the Computer Laboratory

The scheme described below was initiated in October 1997. It is designed to support supervisions on the Computer Science Tripos. It eases the task of supervisors, particularly new ones, and also allows supervisions to be better geared to what is going on in the lectures. It does not usurp the Colleges' role in teaching, but aims to provide a better link between lectures and supervisions in the simplest way possible.

It has two objectives:

  1. Students and supervisors should have compatible ideas about what extra reading, discussion topics, exercises and past examination questions are relevant to each stage of the course.
  2. Supervisors should have easy access to sample answers, and any other information (e.g. known trouble spots) which is not given to students but which can ease and improve the supervision task.

To this end, the following is required of each course lecturer:

  1. The lecturer gives the students a Learning Guide, covering the first point above. It may be very short – no more than a page. It could be incorporated in the lecture notes or provided on the course-materials web page. If it is listed per week of the course, or even per lecture, then it helps supervisors to phase their supervisions.
  2. The lecturer also prepares a Supervision Guide, covering the second point above. It complements the Learning Guide.

The Supervision Guide is usually provided in a Raven-protected supervisors/ subdirectory of the respective course-materials web page, linked via the tab “Information for Supervisors”. Supervisors who still lack access should remind the Director of Studies who recruited them, or the Teaching Administration Office in case of supervisions arranged by the department, to add them to the Lookup group cl-supervisors, to gain access to these pages. (Alternatively, the Supervision Guide can be kept in folders in the Teaching Administration Office, available to staff and supervisors only.)

Solution notes to past exam questions, produced by question setters for the internal and external Examiners, have been available online to students since 2012. Therefore it is important to provide students with a separate set of exercises, and sample answers for these to which only supervisors have access.

Solution notes for exam papers from 2014 or later now also remain Raven protected and limited to cl-supervisors for two years after the exam. (Teaching Management Committee, 28 April 2014, item 5)