Department of Engineering

IT Services

Computing-related Information for CUED Teaching Staff

Computing Facilities

Available machines

The teaching system mostly comprises dual-boot machines (they can be Linux or Windows), though some are Linux-only or Windows-only. Some of these machines can be used by students without them needing to be on-site. See our Offsite Access page.

Available languages and document preparation packages

C++ is the main programming language taught. Octave (like Matlab) is being introduced to all 2nd year students too. Setting coursework that requires students to use other languages is not recommended unless the students are well prepared. Short courses on C++ and fortran are sometimes available during October. The Languages page lists available programming languages.

All students are introduced to Creo. The Programs page has links to lists of other programs available.

The Unix Teaching System has LaTeX and OpenOffice for document preparation. Many (though not all) students have access to PCs and Macs in their colleges.

Setting up experiments

  • 'start' set-ups - The start facility provides an easy way to run computer-based sessions. Files can be copied, menus set up and applications started to suit your course. See The "start" command on linux for information about how to set the facility up.
  • Teaching-related files - These go under /export/teach. Linux-specific teaching-related files go under /export/teach/linux.
  • Unix Groups - Students can be put into "unix groups". This means that a group of students can share certain files without other groups having access to those files. Mail user-admin with your requirements (the groupings and the amount of disc space they might require).
    A user can only belong to 16 unix groups. If that's too restrictive, the administrators can use "ACL" to control file/folder access.
    If you want students to choose their own groups online, a form like http://www-h.eng.cam.ac.uk/help/tpl/php/grouper/ can be created. Mail tpl@eng.cam.ac.uk with information on the group-size and when you want the form replies to be processed.
  • Shared Filespace - Folders can be created under /homes/groups that can be accessed only by students in particular unix groups. This is useful for group project work. Mail your requirements to helpdesk
  • Booking Sheets for lab/marking sessions - Noticeboards like those for IIA experiments in the EIElab can be replaced by web pages. See the CUEDle page.
  • Multiple Choice Surveys - The Teaching Office run an online survey to cover years 1 to 3. Smaller online surveys can be produced using Swift, a facility within CamTools. For a locally produced alternative, see Multiple Choice Surveys - instructions for staff
  • Saving Paper - Paper can be saved by
    • putting handouts on the WWW - a version of Distiller is on the operators' PC to convert Word files to PDF.
    • making instructions on how produce hardcopy clear and easy.
    • discouraging students from producing unnecessary amounts of hardcopy.
    See the Printing page for further information.
  • Fast Feedback - A feedback icon can be provided as part of the start set-up to give users an easy way to offer feedback via our Fast Feedback Facility.

Booking computers

In order to avoid timetable clashes and unexpected loading on the computer system, a booking system exists for those running computer-based courses during term time.

Courses should be booked via Viv Bateman (vgb24). Stephen Mounsey should be advised of computer loading/software requirements. Copies of the proposed DPO, and EIE and timetables for the coming term are posted in the DPO.

Those running computer-based courses this term should check and advise Viv Bateman if any changes/additions are necessary. If you anticipate that the load your course will place on the Departmental Computing System will increase significantly this term, please advise Stephen Mounsey (e-mail sjm, tel: 48211) as soon as possible.

For conference bookings see the Use of CUED Computing facilities by conferences page.

Installing courseware

  • Programs - Mail helpdesk in good time if you have a teaching-related program that needs installing. The point of contact for licensing issues is helpdesk.
  • Maintaining source code - We strongly recommend that you store your programs in SRPM form, so that source, programs, and installation instructions don't become detached from each other. See our Writing Programs for local installation page.
  • Documentation (Lecture Notes, etc) - Online documentation (on the World Wide Web, for instance) offers a convenient way for many students to access lecture material. Supplementary notes can be installed too. See the Getting your files onto the WWW, Free Engineering/teaching images, Screencasts and Movies pages.

    Several commercial packages exist to convert Word and PowerPoint documents to online e-learning material

    Most of these can create AICC- and SCORM-compliant content, which means that the results should be easy to incorporate into systems like CamTools.
    Matlab has facilities to help with presentations and producing Web pages. See the Matlab, presentations and publishing page.

Writing and acquiring Courseware

Locally,

Also there's
  • Jorum - a free online repository service for teaching and support staff in UK Further and Higher Education Institutions
  • MERLOT - a free and open resource designed primarily for faculty and students of higher education. Links to online learning materials are collected here along with annotations such as peer reviews and assignments.
  • Open Source Advisory Service (JISC)
  • WebCT ("Aside from facilitating the organization of course material on the web, WebCT also provides a wide variety of tools and features that can be added to a course. Examples of tools include a conferencing system, on-line chat, student progress tracking, group project organization, student self-evaluation, grade maintenance and distribution, access control, navigation tools, timed quizzes, electronic mail, automatic index generation, course content searches and much more.")
  • TLTP (Teaching and Learning Technology Programme)
  • Ultralab (Anglia Polytechnic University's learning technology research centre).
  • tuning in: infusing media networks into professional writing curriculum (Alex Reid; from Karos 12:2)
  • Ed-Cast ("Higher Education Podcast Repository")
  • OER Commons
  • apple.com/education/mobile-learning (a link to iTunesU, etc - it's useful to have iTunes installed )
  • MIT's OpenCourseware (according to the Higher, each course costs over $10k to put online and the site costs $3.5 million/year. 35% of MIT students say that the site played a part in their choice of university)
  • Open Courseware Consortium
  • The Open University's free material
  • ccLearn (a division of Creative Commons dedicated to support open learning and open educational resources)

Lecture Theatres

The main lecture theatres have PCs and projection equipment. Contact Audio Visual Service for details. The PCs have some presentation software installed. By default the machines are likely to start Windows.

Under Windows there's an icon to log into the x-access machine. This will bring up SuSE Unix which by default will boot into gnome (as on the DPO terminals). Users can however use KDE etc. if preferred.

If you use a WWW browser, it's suggested that you use the Clear private data option (in the Tools menu) at the end of the session.

Note that the Lecture Room machines have 1024x768 displays (the best the projectors can display) whereas the DPO's screen are mostly 1920x1080. See the Lecture Theatre/Room PCs page for further information.

Teaching Office Information

Note that you'll be able to access past papers, etc., but supervisors and demonstrators of your courses might not be able to. If they're not CUED teaching staff they may need to contact teaching-office to be added to the right lists.

Journals and Education Policy