Computing Topics

Module aims

The aim of this course is to introduce new students to some state of the art ideas in Computing. It provides an opportunity for self directed learning in small groups.

Each topic will be introduced by a short lecture. Students are then encouraged to use their own initiative in finding reference material to expand their knowledge in one of the areas introduced by the lectures. Each group's findings are presented in a web article.

Learning outcomes

  • Develop self directed learning skills
  • Develop skills in web development
  • Build a visually attractive website
  • Communicate knowledge both in writing and verbally
  • Develop team working skills
  • Summarise technical information for a non technical audience

Module syllabus

  • Two afternoons of lectures in the different topics, delivered by DoC academics
  • Group work in investigating the topic and building a website
  • Support from the chosen Topic supervisor
  • WebPA assessment on group work
  • Submission of website and presentation
  • Assessed presentation at teh TopicsFest (end of term)

Course information can be found here

Teaching methods

Introduction to Problem Based Learning

Students will be given a Topic to research. As a group, they will build a website with information on the given Topic and give a 'conference type' presentation at the end of the course, building their research and communication skills.

Students will not be taught but will have the support of a supervisor.


 Students will be assessed on:

Topics contributes up to 55 marks towards the Part I Total, allocated as follows:

  • Research quality – 15 marks
    • how thorough does the group’s research appear to have been?
    • how accurate and complete is the science as reflected in the product?
    • is the material digested and examined critically, and does it give full references to quoted material?
  • Educational quality – 8 marks
    • how well would the product teach the topic to a technically-minded non-specialist?
  • Imaginative use of the web – 7 marks
    • how imaginative is the product?
    • does its web format help or hinder the presentation of the topic?
    • is navigation around it easy?
    • does its home page serve its function as anchor?
    • are its links, especially to external sites, used appropriately?
  • Operational quality – 5 marks
    • does it crash?
    • do any of its links fail?
    • do any of its image/sound/video features fail?
    • is it slow, or might it be slow to general users (e.g. through excessive use of images on the home page)?
  • Delivery – 10 Marks
    • clear explanations
    • appreciation of the audience
    • lively and entertaining
    • pacing and timing
  • Slides – 10 marks
    • visual material: diagrams and images
    • coherent and easy to follow
    • attractive appearance

Module leaders

Dr Thomas Lancaster