Welcome to CIC Around Forums MDSI Discussion Applying for electives – Share your thoughts

5 replies, 6 voices Last updated by Profile photo of Rory Rory 2 years, 9 months ago
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  • #12015
    Profile photo of Detlev
    Detlev
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    This thread is intended to be a response to an email some/all of us received today regarding enrolment into our electives. The punchline is that we all have to make a written case for why we should be granted entry into a given elective. This potentially means that we have to write four separate application letters justifying why pre-requisites to entry should be waived and entry to the subject should be granted.

    To my understanding this includes all electives currently listed on the official electives list, however @simon could paint a clearer picture.

    In considering this Masters program I spent many hours reading through each subject in the official electives list. After succeeding in my application to do this program, the last thing I expected was having to go through the application process again for each elective. Between Zee and I we have invested more than $22,000 in this course already. We were happy to make that investment upon the understanding that the study plan we set out for ourselves at the beginning, would be a given assuming we pass each subject along the way.

    I find the current state of affairs deeply concerning. What are your thoughts?

    Ps. My intention is not to create an atmosphere of outrage / drama / panic / etc. I’m hoping to generate some intelligent discussion on this issue as a collective cohort.

  • #12059
    Profile photo of Pedro Fernandez
    Pedro Fernandez
    Participant
    @12198786

    Hi Detlev and all,

    Being an MDSI 1st generation guinea pig, I do understand how you feel Detlev, especially because UTS should have realized last year that we exist, and that having to waive our requirements for subjects is a pain (poor Georgia must be overwhelmed!). In my first year I could understand it, we were few in numbers and new, now things are very different and we still have this same issue. It is especially ridiculous that we still need to waive subjects that already had MDSI students enrolled last year!

    Having said that, I believe the issue is with the “powers at be” within the UTS, and I know Theresa has been very busy trying to make them understand just that. I think this is because of our best characteristic (being outsiders) that originates the burden of having to justify everything to the slow bureocrats.

    As a finishing thought, it’s very good that you’ve started this topic so poignantly Detlev. I hope that we’re able to make UTS know that a brand new course, with hundreds of students and even more prospective ones, still forces their students to justify their skills to other faculties, and that is not a good. At all.

  • #12064
    Profile photo of K T
    K T
    Participant
    @10210856

    Hi Detlev,

    Good that you have brought this up and I am totally with you. The electives are listed in the MDSI master program on the UTS website and we assume that once we are accepted in this program we can enrol in any elective with ease. In fact, some electives are not offered any more somehow. This means that we are offered with less elective choices compared to the original list. The e-request process was already painful for some of us already as we had to wait for a few weeks to just get a yes or no response from other faculties. This would be more painful if we all have to go through the case exercise for each of the electives. My concern is that if we get rejected, we have to build more cases (or e-requests) and the review and approval processes always take so long. By the time we get accepted, the class is already full and we will end up being squeezed in tutorials/lab sessions where there are not enough PCs or seats for every student.

    Personally, the case or e-request scenario should apply to students who want to study subjects not listed in the MDSI program or subjects offered outside UTS. I hope that our feedback can be incorporated in running future MDSI subjects.

  • #12074
    Profile photo of David Ding
    David Ding
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    @11481912

    Thanks Detlev for the post, and Kitt also made some good points. I’m assuming the application has two purposes:
    1. A formal process for other faculties to admit MDSI students,
    2. probably more importantly, the pre-requisite requirements.

    Is there other reasons for this?

    With the different backgrounds of MDSI students, I can understand the pre-requisite requirement, since some students may not be ready for advanced math or computer science subjects (I might think I’m ready for multivariate analysis, but I’m probably no where near ready). The course was designed for different students to find their own path in big data industry, so electives need to be flexible, but at the same time to allow some students to take the advanced subjects. It’s an balancing act.

    But, yes, it does add confusion and complexity to the elective selection process. I think CIC may want to spend more resources on supporting the students through the process.

  • #12084
    Profile photo of Simon Buckingham Shum
    Simon Buckingham Shum
    Keymaster
    @simon

    Dear MDSI students,

    Thank you Detlev and those of you who have responded. (I also emailed this out via UTSonline to all students)

    I and the MDSI team do appreciate your concerns around this, so here’s where we are up to.

    Firstly, our apologies for the lack of clarity around the admissions process of electives, and for the bottleneck this semester which we’re working to resolve. This is really a function of the MDSI being such a new degree, and not running out of an established faculty. Our goal is to help you take the electives you want – if you are ready for them – with next semester being our first priority. We have been liaising with every elective subject coordinator, many of whom have confirmed that they are willing to consider your cases against the pre-reqs as soon as they receive them.

    Let me try to explain the process better. For those electives run by other faculties which have complex pre-reqs, it is not possible to grant automatic places, because MDSI students have such varied backgrounds. So while MDSI may not have taught a pre-req, you might bring that from your background. In these cases, the process (for all UTS students) is to liaise with each faculty who will do an individual assessment to ensure you’re ready to tackle it (the process we followed last year, but with far fewer students than this year).

    In some cases, faculties may agree in advance that completion of an MDSI subject automatically satisfies their pre-reqs. Being such a new degree, we have not yet set up such agreements, but aim to as soon as possible. For example, last Spring we trialled exemption from pre-req’s for electives on the basis of successful completion of core MDSI subjects (e.g. 36106 for FEIT data mining electives, 36103 for advanced statistical subjects). However, these proved to be challenging subjects which led to mixed results, so this is not in place for those electives this year.

    As you know, UTS students can only submit their eRequests to other faculties from 18 July. However, we have been talking direct to the elective coordinators to ask if they will process MDSI cases in advance of this, and many have indicated willingness to do so as soon as they receive your case. Some have already confirmed that they will take you, but most do want to assess your readiness. Some have in addition highlighted to us specific skills that they look for in cases.

    One specific opportunity: the Business School is happy to consider places for 5 MDSI students on 22797 Business Intelligence and Analytics so please consider if this meets your interests and contact Georgia if you want to apply: http://handbook.uts.edu.au/subjects/details/22797.html

    Next step: Georgia will now be in touch with each of you to let you know the status of your elective requests, and to share any further details that subject coordinators have highlighted to help you focus your case. We will pass your case direct to the subject coordinator as soon we receive it.

    So once again my apologies that this has not been as clear as it should have been, and for the stress this has caused. MDSI is new, and while we are innovating, we are also still in the process of establishing these cross-UTS mechanisms. The team will work with you to progress your electives as fast as possible.

    Regards,

    Simon

    Simon Buckingham Shum
    Director, CIC

  • #13917
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    Rory
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    @12533067

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