Notes on the draft proposal for a benchmarking statement for
Masters-level degrees in Computing in the UK

My general comment is that this is a product of a philosophy that
tries to control academic developments and practices far too much
"from the centre" instead of depending on the professional
competence of external examiners and advisory boards (in some cases
industrial advisory boards) to ensure that standards are maintained.

Fortunately our coalition goverment claims to be in favour of
reducing centralised control. So perhaps they can be encouraged to
dismantle the QAA or at least give it a much reduced role.

What follows is in two parts

A. A short message about the draft benchmark sent to cphc and ukcrc
mailing lists in case the opportunity to comment on it had not been
widely enough advertised. This has caused some people in other
departments to read the document and circulate some comments.

B. My own detailed comments on the draft.

I think they whole thing needs to be done in a quite different
style, with more clearer acknowledgement of the scientific, as
opposed to the engineering, aspects of computing, and the diversity
of functions that Masters degrees can have.

Apologies for poor formatting. This is available in two forms:
http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/projects/cogaff/misc/qaa-computing-masters.html
http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/projects/cogaff/misc/qaa-computing-masters.pdf

I typed in the html version (with a purely textual layout) and used
html2ps and ps2pdf to generate the pdf version.

===================================================================

A. Message sent to  ukcrc+cphc about the draft

http://www.qaa.ac.uk/academicinfrastructure/benchmark/statements/Computing10.pdf

Points that struck me on a first quick reading:

Like many documents produced by computing professionals, including
responses to consultations about what should be taught in schools,
this has an excessively narrow view of computation as connected with
computers and computing technology (and the science thereof),
ignoring the large and growing amount of teaching and research on
other forms of information processing, e.g. in evolution, in
metabolism and other biological processes close to the cellular
level, in animal learning and development, in perception, in
communication, in ontology development, in problem-solving and
reasoning, in generation and control of behaviour.

There's no mention of work on novel forms of computation: e.g.
chemical computation, quantum computation and other things in the
remit of UKCRC Grand Challenge 7:

    http://www.cs.york.ac.uk/nature/gc7/

There's also no mention of important philosophical issues either
raised by computing or advanced because of developments in computing
-- e.g. the connections between old philosophical problems about
causation and the causal roles of virtual machinery; or the
potential relevance for old philosophical problems about mind body
relationships.

Those are not topics that can be left to other departments: at
present most of the other disciplines lack the knowledge and
competences required for deep theorising about information
processing systems if left to do it all on their own.
(That may change in future.)

There is similar narrowness of vision in the undergraduate computing
benchmark which caused considerable dissent when it was first
produced in 2000 -- last revised in 2007

    http://www.qaa.ac.uk/academicinfrastructure/benchmark/statements/computing07.asp

Though it does include a contrary view in the paragraph on AI.

(It still promotes the view that the notion of 'architecture' in
computing refers only to hardware.)

The masters document makes no mention of "conversion" masters which
played a very important role in computing education in the UK after
about 1984 (when they were initiated under the auspices of the Alvey
Programme) and should not be allowed to die, even if there are no
longer earmarked studentships for them. There are still graduates in
other disciplines willing to enrol in such degrees even if they
have to pay themselves, and this is an important source of
researchers with cross-disciplinary knowledge and competences.

The current draft will probably raise additional concerns for many
CS departments with an interest in masters degrees.

I expect the 'industry' viewpoint will mostly be different, though
some of the leading industrial research groups will share some of
these concerns.

Anther colleague here has drawn my attention to the wikipedia entry

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_science

which shows much greater breadth of vision than many documents about
computing, including quoting Dijkstra: "Computer science is no more
about computers than astronomy is about telescopes."

[end of message to ukcrc+cphc]
===================================================================

Note added 19:50 GMT 17 Dec 2010

I think the QAA is likely to be dismantled along with other forms of
central control, leaving universities the task of regulating
themselves and one another.

That's all to the good, as long as the diversity of universities is
acknowledged  -- not all are, or need to be, examples of the
traditional type of university, namely a centre for leading edge
research, doing teaching that is informed, if not always by the
content of that research, at least by the experience of doing it.

There are now other kinds of university (previously called
Polytechnics) in the UK, whose tradition is closer to teaching and
technology transfer.

It is quite reasonable that the two sorts of university should
provide different sorts of bachelors and masters level degrees.
There should be no attempt to try to force them all to fit the same
mould -- not least because diversity is essential to effective
research and education in complex and diverse societies with partly
unpredictable future needs.

===================================================================

B. Further comments on the draft Masters Benchmark  proposal

General comment:

(partly repeating the above:)

The document says nothing about study of natural information
processing, which should be, and will increasingly be, a major part
of teaching and research in computing (as shown by conferences,
workshops, books, journals). E.g. recent book by a professor at
Imperial:

@Book
{shanahan-embodied,
  author = {Shanahan, M.P.},
  title = {{Embodiment and the inner life: Cognition and Consciousness in the Space of Possible Minds}},
  year = {2010},
  publisher = {OUP},
  address = {Oxford},
}

and a new journal related to that:

http://www.worldscinet.com/ijmc/

(along with many older journals).

Specific comments on the text follow.

My comments from now on are {{in double braces}} after extracts from
the document.

===

Foreword

    This draft new subject benchmark statement should be seen in
    part as a culmination of many years of effort, but principally
    it should be seen as a new and fresh initiative.

{{

It does not read like the result of many years of effort, and
instead of reading like a new and fresh initiative it seems to be
buried in an old and narrow view of computing and computing masters
degrees.

}}

===

1.1      Computing is the discipline associated with the structuring
and organisation of information as well as the automatic processing
of that information. The application of ideas from computing
underpins innovation across a wide range of activity, including
engineering, business, education, science and entertainment. The
application of computer technology has altered lives and its
continuing impact will be felt into the future.

{{

This should be replaced by something closer to the text in the
wikipedia entry, which shows a deeper understanding of what has been
happening in computing in the last half century:

[BEGIN EXTRACTS:]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_science

Computer science or computing science (sometimes abbreviated CS) is
the study of the theoretical foundations of information and
computation and of practical techniques for their implementation and
application in computer systems. It is frequently
described as the systematic study of algorithmic processes that
create, describe, and transform information. Computer science has
many sub-fields; some, such as computer graphics, emphasize the
computation of specific results, while others, such as computational
complexity theory, study the properties of computational problems.
Still others focus on the challenges in implementing computations.
For example, programming language theory studies approaches to
describe computations, while computer programming applies specific
programming languages to solve specific computational problems, and
human-computer interaction focuses on the challenges in making
computers and computations useful, usable, and universally
accessible to people.

Despite its name, a significant amount of computer science does not
involve the study of computers themselves. The renowned computer
scientist Edsger Dijkstra stated, "Computer science is no more about
computers than astronomy is about telescopes."

Computer science research has often crossed into other disciplines,
such as philosophy, cognitive science, linguistics, mathematics,
physics, statistics, and economics.
[END EXTRACTS:]

}}


1.2       To maintain and ideally enhance the UK's capacity to
innovate and to lead, companies and organisations need to be able to
recruit well-qualified graduates who are at the forefront of
developments in computing/IT and can play a leadership role in
sustaining and enhancing such developments across the wide range of
industrial sectors. Master's degrees in computing/IT are an
important vehicle whereby this can be achieved.

{{

Add something like:

To ensure the continued growth and development of knowledge about
natural and artificial information processing systems the UK also
needs to ensure that some of its ablest students are introduced to
the deep and difficult problems, concepts, techniques and
discoveries in the field. Masters degrees can help to produce a
stream of new researchers ready to begin PhD research. The need for
this is particularly great since unlike the older scientific
disciplines (e.g. physics, chemistry, biology) many new university
students start CS degrees with very little knowledge of the subject.
So they are correspondingly less well informed about the breadth and
depth of their subject by the time they graduate, and less ready to
begin PhD research.


There is also a deep need for "Conversion Masters" degrees,
originally identified during the Alvey Programme around 1984. These
degrees take in high calibre graduates in other disciplines and
given them an accelerated introduction to a subset of Computing,
usually culminating in a project which may relate to the topic of
their first degree. These students are also much better suited to
begin PhD-level interdisciplinary research than the bachelors
degree graduates in the relevant subjects.

Some commercial/industrial employers also find it useful to have
graduates with a deep understanding of more than one field, with a
masters level of maturity.

}}

=====

The European context

1.6 ...
The Bologna Process is intended to promote student and staff
mobility across Europe and to enhance the attractiveness of European
higher education worldwide.

{{

It is important NOT to require ALL degrees to give top priority to
the mobility goal, since that could produce a degree of uniformity
that could both stifle innovation and also reduce the diversity of
educational qualifications, thereby depleting the gene-pool of ideas
and competences for the future.

}}

======
Footnote 13 states:
    See www.equanie.eu

{{

Part of that web site states:

  http://www.eqanie.eu/pages/euro-inf-spread-project.php
  The Euro-Inf Project aimed at the creation of a framework for
  setting up a European system for accreditation of informatics
  education at the First Cycle and Second Cycle level (as defined
  within the Bologna process).

The system of accreditation of degrees in the UK alone has shown
(not only in computing) that there can be serious disincentives to
exploration of new topics and modes of assessment.

So no such accreditation system should be allowed to constrain the
content of degrees. At most it should be allowed to ensure that
the descriptions provided by degree providers are suitable for
communication across the EU (without obscurity or ambiguity) and
that the level of difficulty or sophistication of the degree course
reaches to what can be achieved in the time required for the degree.

}}


===

2.1       The discipline of computing/IT includes study of the
nature of computation, effective ways to exploit computation, and
the practical limitations of computation in application terms.

{{

Add:

The study of the nature of computation is not restricted to what can
be done with computers as we now know them, but includes various
kinds of natural information processing, including chemical
information processing which is the basis of all life, evolutionary
processes which transform designs of living system, developmental
processes which transform the information processing of individuals,
neural and other processes that support such processing, and various
kinds of collaborative and social information processing including
swarming, flocking and communication through changes to the
environment (stigmergy).

It also includes investigation of entirely new forms of computation,
such as quantum computation, new forms of chemical computation and
others investigated within UKCRC Grand Challenge 7
    http://www.cs.york.ac.uk/nature/gc7/

}}


Foundational issues

{{

This should include investigation of new forms of representation of
information, including attempts to find out how animals achieve
competences currently unmatched by machines.

Could also include

  - study of forms of computation involving closely coupled
    interactions between an information processing system and an
    arbitrarily complex environment (physical, chemical,
    psychological, social, ...) e.g. in chemical plants, airliner
    control system and human machine interfaces of many kinds.

  - the role of virtual machines of various kinds, e.g. for
    defining programming languages, for specifying a cpu
    architecture, for specifying an operating system, or network, or
    distributed computation, for co-hosting operating systems on the
    same hardware, ...

  - notions of explanatory requirements and ways of testing
    theories and models

  - study of different forms of computational specification, e.g.
    algorithm-based, rule-based, event-driven, neural, dynamical
    system-based, deterministic, stochastic...

}}

=========

o professional, legal, social, cultural and ethical concerns

{{

This should not be a compulsory requirement for a scientific masters
in computing any more than it should be for a masters in physics,
mathematics, biology, etc.

This does not belong under Foundational issues, nor under Major
technologies.

It should be a separate topic, perhaps a separate heading after
"Major technologies"

Which could have subdivisions that would be specially relevant to
certain types of masters degrees, e.g. degrees concerned with
business, medical, legal, educational applications of computing,
or with social issues related to advanced automation -- e.g.
de-skilling, or removing jobs, etc.

}}


Major technologies

 ....

 o  computer architectures, including multi-core processors and
    their exploitation; parallel and vector processing systems;
    distributed systems, cloud computing and grid computing

{{

"computer architectures" this expresses a restricted way of thinking
about architectures -- mostly limited to hardware. There are
software architectures and abstract (e.g. distributed) system
architectures.

Perhaps rewrite as something like this:

 o  computing system architectures, based on different kinds of
    physical components, different kinds of connectivity, different
    forms of software integration, various mixtures of sequential
    and parallel computation, distributed computation or redundant
    computation, including various kinds of internet-based
    computing.

    Recent and not so recent developments that might be studied
    include raid arrays, multi-core processors and their
    exploitation; parallel and vector processing systems;
    distributed systems, cloud computing and grid computing

    Could also include new technologies used in connection with
    biological information processing and biological problems,
    e.g. genome sequencing, drug research based on Inductive Logic
    Programming, et.c

}}

NB
{{

Energy is nowhere mentioned. There are major issues connected with
(a) the amount of energy used globally by information processing
(and transfer) (b) the use of information to control many systems to
as to make them more energy efficient (e.g. vehicles, buildings,
factories, etc.

Andy Hopper's video presentations on this are outstanding but
presumably can't be referenced. But the issue should be.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LN4H6vk1xYA

}}


==========

Recognised specialisms and sub-disciplines

{{

The word "Recognised" suggests that there is some list of recognised
topics, and only things on it are acceptable. There cannot be such a
list because there is too much diversity of opinion and also because
the field is constantly changing -- mostly growing.

So that heading should be replaced, e.g. with something like:

    Example specialisms and sub-disciplines

}}

====

information systems, defined as 'what emerges from the usage and
adaptation of the IT and the formal and informal processes by all of
its users'.

{{

The restriction to usage and adaptation by ALL users is much too
strong.

Different things are used in different geographical areas, in
different professional and scientific communities, in different
social business groupings, and new things come into use
experimentally that should not be excluded just because they are not
accepted by ALL users.

Just drop the phrase "all of its users".

Perhaps add

    including novel and experimental systems not yet widely adopted.

That could be very important for some masters students going on to
do research.

}}

====

computer engineering ... as well as embedded and real time systems
whose operation may have safety or security implications

{{

It's bizarre to bring in "safety or security implications" just for
this context.

Safety and security issues are pervasive, and if mentioned at all
should be given a separate heading, not combined with some
arbitrarily selected sub-topic.

}}

===

artificial intelligence and computational aspects of linguistics,
cognitive computing and associated areas, including simulation and
modelling and decision support entertainment systems and computer
graphics, including animation

{{

This is a strange mixture.

Computer graphics should not be there. It is probably being
confused with "computer vision" which is a totally different topic
(though many people do confuse them -- including some of the people
who think they are studying vision when they are only studying
graphics).

There are other areas whose importance has been steadily growing and
are nowhere mentioned.

    biological modelling including computational neuroscience,
    evolutionary computation, cognitive robotics, robot models of
    insects and other animals.

Also important:

    manufacturing robotics, domestic robots, robots in
    rehabilitation, robotic surgery, robots for uninhabitable
    environments, ..

I understand that it is impossible to mention all topics. But if a
sample list of topics is provided then it should be as generic and
as representative as possible, and something added to indicate ways
in which the list can be extended including, for instance, topics
related to empirical investigation, theoretical work, mathematical
works, applications, and cross-disciplinary topics.

}}

===

Master's degrees may also be offered in areas such as e-science,
bio-informatics, medical computing, software project management,
e-commerce, and virtual environments, where students with a first
degree in science or mathematics, as well as some reasonable
background in computing/IT, may enrol for study.

{{

This is the closest the document gets to mentioning conversion
masters degrees. But it does so in a much too restrictive context.

Conversion degrees can be offered to outstanding graduates in a much
wider range of subjects (including philosophy, medicine, history,
archeology, economics, law, etc.)

After studying some aspect of computing (not just the ones listed
here) they may either go back to their own disciplines and help to
bring in new ideas, theories and techniques from computing, or else
stay in computing and enrich the fields with what they have got from
their first degrees.

The potentially useful combinations are too varied to be listed: no
suggestion should be made that only some small list of subjects can
fruitfully be combined with computing. Doing that could prevent
departments with unique combinations of talents from introducing
pioneering new masters degrees.

At least one message sent to CPHC STRONGLY supported conversion
masters degrees.
}}


===
3.2
....
interdisciplinary degree programmes which involve advanced
scholarship in the use or applications of computing

{{

This seems to be an attempt to meet the previous point but is too
narrow. It suggests that the role of computing is only to provide
applications to help the other discipline. It doesn't allow for the
possibility that computing could be expanded by using ideas from
other disciplines, or that a new kind of synergy could advance both
disciplines (as is happening in computational neuroscience, for
example, and has happened for decades in computational linguistics).

}}

==

For the generalist degree it is important that:

    in their conception there is a focus on employment needs

{{

WHY NOT a generalist introduction for researchers???

(as opposed to specialist Masters, e.g. in security, or networking,
etc.)

}}

  o the topic and learning outcomes are identified and defined
    clearly, and their relationship to the subject of computing is
    carefully captured in the title of the award

{{

Could stifle innovation.

The justification could be in the description. The title might be
innovative.

}}

====

  o the relevant theoretical underpinnings (which may or may not
    be mathematical in nature) are identified and should result in
    emphasis on those fundamental aspects of a subject which do not
    change in the context of rapid technological development

{{

"do not change" is unnecessarily restrictive
Could stifle innovation.

}}

====

  o there is an apparent ethos that reflects an integration
    between theory and practice as well as the planned development
    of a set of attitudes and an appreciation of a range of
    applications and their impact on users


{{

first part is either vacuous or too constraining since a scientific
masters need not have any such ethos.

the second part is far too constraining, and probably irrelevant to
many masters degrees. "planned development of a set of attitudes"
... etc. is probably not part of most computing masters in most of
the world. Why should the UK hobble itself this way.

}}

====

o all master's degree programmes will meet the outcomes of the qualification
  descriptor identified in The framework for higher education qualifications in
  England, Wales and Northern Ireland (2008) or The framework for qualifications of
  higher education institutions in Scotland (2001)

{{

Should say where to find these descriptors

Otherwise mentioning them is useless.

Whether they are acceptable restriction depends on what they state.

(Perhaps current governmental moves to reduce centralised control
will apply to this sort of thing also.)

}}

===

  o where credit is used, national guidance identifies a typical
    minimum of 180 credits for a master's degree, of which at least
    150 will be at master's level. A typical minimum of 480 credits
    (600 in Scotland) is identified for an integrated master's
    degree, with at least 120 at master's level. 16

{{

Pointless in a national document, though it might make sense for
accounting purposes within an institution.

Minimum workloads could be mentioned, but trying to legislate in
such detail at national level is excessive and unnecessary control.

It should be enough that external examiners (and where appropriate,
industrial advisory boards) regard the balance of work as
appropriate.

Perhaps this is a complaint that needs to go to the QAA not this
panel.

}}

====

    4.2      Integrated master's degrees (such as MEng or MComp)
    should possess a strong appropriate ethos and orientation
    reflecting professional practice and/or applications within the
    discipline, and this will typically include attention to:

{{
over-stresses the technology

undervalues the science

expresses a very narrow view of computing.
}}

====

    4.4       For all students, choosing to study for a master's
    degree represents a real commitment and, for some, perhaps even
    a change of direction for their studies. For all students it is
    important that there is a strong opportunity for progression
    through to employment or further study. Approval of master's
    degree programmes by institutions should reflect this concern.

{{

too restrictive. Why not allow masters degrees to have educational
value for people who just want to learn more?

Must all education be justified in utilitarian or economic terms?

(Not in a civilised society.)

}}


5     Subject knowledge, understanding and skills

    Subject knowledge and understanding
    5.1

{{

This is appallingly narrow and fails to allow for scientific masters
degrees.

Needs to be completely rewritten.

}}

===

    5.4       For any master's degree programme it will be essential
    to identify both the technical and the transferable skills that
    are particular to the programme of study. The technical skills
    will also depend on the orientation of the programme but
    acquiring new skills with a range of up-to-date software will
    often be a key requirement.

{{

Why is it necessary to make this kind of stuff part of a national
specification?

It's too vague to be of use, but risks being interpreted too
narrowly by committees or individuals judging masters degrees.

Best to omit, and leave such things to the judgements of external
examiners and advisory boards/committees.

}}


====

    5.5       Master's degree programmes in computing/IT should seek
    to include development of the following generic skills:

    o  those required for the creation of the lifelong learner, who
    can set goals and identify resources for the purpose of learning

{{

All very worthy but has nothing specific to do with MSc in
computing -- and should be listed as generic, not subject specific.

Allowing 'lifelong learning' as a motive contradicts the narrowness
of some other parts of the document.

}}

===

    o leadership skills, which tend to be characterised by acquiring
    a vision (based on sound technical insights) coupled with the
    ability to encourage others to share in that vision and to
    ensure that this will not be to their detriment.

{{
WHY include this?

A masters degree in computing does not need to be a degree in
management.

Would you want that to be a requirement for a degree in a degree in
physics, or mathematics, or chemistry?

}}

===

    6.2   In keeping with the nature of a continuously evolving
    subject, currency of a master's degree programme in computing/IT
    can be demonstrated through association with external points of
    reference, such as developments in pedagogy and/or subject
    research.

{{

Omit. There's a serious danger of holding back pioneering new
masters degrees.

}}

====


    6.3  Students on master's degree programmes typically enter from a
    variety of backgrounds. In order to enable all students to become or
    remain up to date, there is merit in having a resource centre that
    includes hardware as well as software-related materials. In most
    cases, a range of modern up-to-date software will be required. This
    will provide convincing evidence of attention to recent developments
    at the forefront of the subject. In short, there should be easy
    access to a set of resources from which students can benefit and
    learn.

{{

either vacuous or too constraining.

These are details to be checked by external examiners.

Whether they are relevant constraints will depend on the type of
degree.

}}

====


    6.4  Given the diversity of possible master's degrees, there
    will be considerable scope for variety and variability in terms
    of pedagogy.

{{

Good emphasis on flexibility -- but inconsistent with other aspects
of the document which express a very narrow view of a computing
masters.


Most of the rest of the paragraph is pretty vacuous stuff: such as
might come from "experts" in education who don't know much about any
particular discipline.

}}

===

6.5 Learning and teaching

{{

Better to omit this paragraph altogether instead of wasting space on
vacuous wording.

}}

===

The major individual activity

6.8      In many institutions, major projects are seen as providing
an opportunity for students to apply a systematic approach to
solving a substantial problem and this typically builds on a variety
of classes/modules. The range of skills required to successfully
complete such an individual activity is often considerable and
students invariably benefit from the experience. In the context of
master's degrees, such activity provides a rich and interesting set
of possibilities.

{{
Waffle.

What's wrong with the well understood word "project"?

A project can take many forms -- software development, analysing the
IT requirements of a small local business, inventing a new
programming language or other formalism, proving a theorem.

Remove the waffle.

invariably benefit ??

Not in this universe.

}}

====

6.9     There are additional ways in which students at master's
level can demonstrate the achievement of master's level outcomes,
for example:

{{

Additional to what??

These are not additional to 6.8: they are special cases of 6.8.

}}

===

Threshold level

7.2      All students graduating with a master's degree in computing
are expected to be able to have demonstrated:

{{

What follows is either too specific (i.e. should not be required of
ALL students) or too general, i.,e. not particularly relevant to
computing as opposed to other subjects, and should not be required
for all computing masters.

Comments on individual bullet points follow (they should have been
numbered):

}}

===

    o a systematic understanding of the knowledge of the domain of
    their programme of study, with depth being achieved in
    particular areas, including both foundations and issues at the
    forefront of the discipline and/or professional practice in the
    discipline;

{{

Not specific to computing.

}}

===

    this should include an understanding of the role of these in
    contributing to the effective design, implementation and
    usability of relevant computer-based systems

{{

too specific to be required of all.

Seems to consider only engineering masters degrees.

Not all computing projects are concerned with something usable.

A project could be a purely mathematical investigation of e.g.
properties of some formalism, or virtual machine.

}}

====

  o a comprehensive understanding, and a critical awareness of:
    the essential principles and practices of the domain of the
    programme of study as well as current research and/or advanced
    scholarship; current standards, processes, principles of quality
    and the most appropriate software technologies to support the
    specialism; the relevance of these to the discipline and/or
    professional practice in the discipline; and an ability to apply
    these

{{

not relevant to all computing masters projects:

e.g. not relevant to projects that are purely theoretical/mathematical
or concerned with trying to understand and model some form of
natural computation.

}}

===

    o consistently produced work which applies to and is informed by
    research and/or practice at the forefront of the developments in
    the domain of the programme of study;

{{

Not specific to computing.

Also what is meant by "consistently produced". Why should there not
be significant variation during the course of the degree.

Vacuous verbiage gives far too many opportunity to pedants on
monitoring panels to raise irrelevant objections.

Alos the wording is too much to require of ALL master's degrees.

E.g. for some sub-areas the forefront of research may be too remote
from competences of recent graduates.

}}

===

    this should demonstrate critical evaluation of aspects of the
    domain, including appropriate software support, the ability to
    recognise opportunities for software or hardware tool use as
    well as possible tool improvement, an understanding of the
    importance of usability and effectiveness in computer systems
    development,

{{

This is much too specific.

Relevant to some software engineering projects perhaps.

}}

===

and generally the acquisition of well-developed concepts

{{

What does this mean??

}}

===

  o understanding of the professional, legal, social and ethical
    framework within which they would have to operate as
    professionals in their area of study; this includes being
    familiar with and being able to explain significant applications
    associated with their programme of study and being able to
    undertake continuing professional development as a self-directed
    lifelong learner across the elements of the discipline

{{

Much too specific.

Not relevant to all computing masters degrees -- e.g. those that are
likely to lead to pure research.

Remove or specify that this is only for masters degrees of a certain
type.

Of course, a subset of this is specially important for people who
want to go into computing education (of a certain sort).

}}

===

  o the ability to apply the principles and practices of the
    discipline in tackling a significant technical problem; the
    solution should demonstrate a sound justification for the
    approach adopted as well as originality (including exploration
    and investigation) and a self-critical evaluation of
    effectiveness, but also critical awareness of current problems
    and new insights, and a sense of vision about the direction of
    developments in aspects of the discipline

{{

Badly worded because it suggests that all projects should be
engineering oriented.


Theoretical/mathematical/philosophical/scientific projects should
also be possible.

The wording would have to be changed for those.

}}


====
Integrated master's degrees

7.3 Students graduating with an integrated master's degree, such as
an MComp, will:

    ,,,,

  o possess an appropriate ethos and orientation as described in
    section 4.2.

{{

No. Section 4.2 is too narrowly focused  both for Masters and and
for integrated degrees.

}}