Department of Computing : First Year UTA HomePage

2013 - 2014 Session

UTAs - PMT Helper FAQ

What does being a PMT UTA involve?

As a UTA PMT you will be helping a group of (between 6 and 8) students with their PMT exercises. The role involves marking the students PMT exercises most weeks and helping to run the weekly PMT meeting. You will need to enter the student attendance at PMT meetings and student marks into CATE.

What is the purpose of the PMT meeting?

Briefly the purpose of the PMT meeting is to help the students understand the material taught in the Logic, Reasoning About Programs (and for Computing Students additionally - Discrete Maths) courses. It is one hour (50 minutes) long and involves face to face interaction between PMT, UTA and students. Given the small size of the PMT group the meeting allows the students to receive a great deal of individual attention and detailed feedback on their exercises. The meeting should be a very valuable learning resource for the PMT students.

What courses does the PMT system support?

For Computing 1 the PMT supports Logic, Reasoning About Programs and Discrete Maths courses.

For Joint Maths and Computing the PMT supports Logic and Reasoning About Programs courses.

These courses involve a significant part of a firstyear student's timetable and are central to the understanding of Computer Science.

Can I get course notes for above courses?

You can get these from CATE by navigating to the 1st Year timetable, and selecting the appropriate notes section for each course.

How does the PMT fit into the structure of the above courses?

For each of the PMT courses the students copy weekly tutorial sheets from CATE. These consist of tutorial questions some of which are assessed. This will be labelled PMT. The students need to complete these on paper and submit them to the Student General Office (room 370).

The other (unassessed) questions the students work on in tutorials and in their own time - although you can, if you think appropriate, discuss these in the PMT meeting.

How do the students submit the assessed PMT exercises?

The students produce a cover sheet using CATE and submit their PMT submissions to the SAO (Room 370).

How do you collect the PMT work for marking?

The day after the students have submitted their PMT exercises you will need to collect their submissions from the SAO and mark them. Whan you mark the exercises you should provide as much feedback and comment as possible and give the exercise a mark out of 5. At the next PMT meeting you should return the marked exercises to the students. You should enter the student marks (along with the student attendance at the PMT meeting) into CATE.

The PMT meeting is central to the students' self monitoring of their progress and allows them to get individual teaching to ensure that they keep up with the course.

Some weeks there may not be an assessed PMT exercise, but you should hold a PMT meeting every week and decide what material to cover with the PMT in weeks where there is no assessed PMT exercise.

How do I get the material needed for the PMT role?

You can get a timetable of submitted PPT exercises from CATE. The exercises and sample solutions will also be available to you to download from CATE (through the G[iven files] button).

Through CATE you will also be able to get the course notes for a particular course if necessary.

The student submissions will be available in the SAO the day after submission and you can collect them from there.

When and where are the PMT meetings?

The PMT meetings take place once a week usually in the PMT's office. You should agree the time with the PMT and students at the first PMT meeting. The meeting takes up a one hour slot (50 minutes) and attendance for students is compulsory. You should keep a register of attendance at the meeting and enter it into CATE. The PMT should also attend the meeting - although he/she may delegate most of the running of the meeting to you.

How are PMT meetings run?

The details about the management of the meeting should be agreed between the UTA and the PMT before each meeting but will certainly involve the return and discussion of the previous PMT exercise. You should mark and comment the previous exercise and enter the mark (out of 5) into CATE. You may also discuss some of the unassessed PMT exercises (with the agreement of the PMT).

You should as far as possible make the meetings interactive and encourage the students to participate and ask questions. You should also discuss any particular difficulties the students may be having with the material in general and with the current exercise in particular. The students may have some weeks where they are not completing an assessed PMT and you should cover some of the unassessed material during these weeks.

Since there are a number of different ways of conducting a PMT meeting, you will need to discuss the organisation of each meeting with your PMT beforehand.

What is my role at the PMT meeting?

You will need to discuss your role with the PMT before the meeting but eventually you will be expected to take the leading role in running the meeting. This will involve giving students feedback on their previous exercises and presenting the current exercise You will need to correct any errors and provide motivation to the students to ensure that they work hard. Hence all criticism needs to be tempered with encouragement.

There are a number of possible ways of presenting the current exercise and it is this challenge that should make the UTA role interesting. The PMT should be an experienced academic and you can discuss your ideas for running the PMT meeting with him/her. You will see your students develop their skills in mathematical reasoning and this should give you satisfaction and provide feedback about the process of running a PMT meeting.

Why is it so important to record marks and attendance?

It is important that students get their marked and commented PMT submissions back a few days after they have completed them so that the feedback can be clearly understood. It is also important that we can track the progress of the students so that any student who is falling behind can be helped.

The Senior Tutor follows student progress via CATE and this is why it is important that the information it contains is as up to date as possible. Payment will only be authorized if the attendance and marks are up to date.

How do I record marks and attendance?

One of your duties is to record attendance at PMT meetings and student marks using CATE. To do this you should first load the CATE page containing the timetable for the term and year group in your PMT group. In the row with the exercises you enter the marks by clicking the H button for the exercise. CATE will automatically generate a form that allows you to input the marks. For the attendance you click the A button on the left hand side of the row for the course associated with the PMT exercise.

What should I do if a student misses a PMT meeting?

Students are expected to attend all PMT meetings. If a student misses a PMT meeting the PMT may bring this to the attention of the Senior Tutor. The PMT may wish to send the student an email and the student should provide a reason for their absence. It should be explained that they are expected to attend all PMT meetings.

Missed submissions are taken very seriously as we expect students to spend time working on every PMT assignment. We also expect them to take responsibility for organising their time so that they are able to submit every lab exercise.

What if a student is falling behind?

You should use your role as PMT helper to encourage and advise students if they need to do more work if they are to pass any tests and the final exams. There are other ways the students can get help. If they are falling behind you should make sure that they are attending lectures, tutorials etc.

How is the PMT material assessed?

The student submissions are marked but do not count towards the firstyear total. The material is however crucial for success in understanding Computer Science. The material will be covered in exams in the Summer term and also the Christmas Test. Additionally there may be course works and tests in some of the subjects and these will count.

Students need to do well to continue to the second year and get a good understanding of the subject sufficient to get a good degree so it is important that the students do submit every exercise and understand the material. Your role as a UTA is therefore vital in helping a future generation of students become successful.

How do I make a claim for payment?

You should use the TSC system as described in the UTA introductory page.