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Unit information: Masterclasses and Placements in 2021/22

Unit name Masterclasses and Placements
Unit code COMSM0031
Credit points 40
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Awais Rashid
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Computer Science
Faculty Faculty of Engineering

Description including Unit Aims

Members of academic staff, industrial visitors and prominent external speakers from academia, government and industry will deliver masterclasses where candidates will go far deeper in pursuit of specialised topics from a wide range of themes of both technical and social nature. The format of the master-classes will adapt to requirements of specific topics, e.g., in-class delivery in combination with visits to industrial facilities where needed or on-site delivery at an industry partner.

In many cases, a masterclass will give students an ideal opportunity to explore in depth how social and technical approaches can work in combination to solve TIPS challenges at scale. For instance, together with Bath’s Hinkley Point C Supply Chain Innovation Lab, we will develop a masterclass on Supply chain resilience, trust and assurance. Other example masterclasses include: Privacy-at-scale: extending multi-party computation to thousands of nodes (Prof. Nigel Smart, Bristol), Security ergonomics for large-scale cyber-physical systems (Dr. Barney Craggs, Bristol), Handling large-scale security incidents and post-attack recovery (Vodafone), Correctness by Construction: Building Software that Matters in the Real World (Altran), Social and ethical aspects of security (TU Darmstadt), Secure IoT (KU Leuven), Cohort visit to Security Operations Centre (IBM). Each masterclass will be for a duration of 1-2 days (taught in a block mode).

Students will be required to take at least three masterclasses delivered by academics (2 days each) and two delivered by industry (one day each). The masterclasses will vary each year, but we will ensure that masterclasses cover the four key challenges:

  1. TIPS-at-Scale as a Socio-technical Challenge;
  2. Resilient Infrastructures in Partially-Trusted Environments;
  3. Empirically-grounded Assurances for TIPS;
  4. Responsible Innovation for TIPS-at-Scale.

The masterclasses will be complemented by students undertaking two placements of two weeks each, one in an industry or practice organisation and one in an academic research group at Bristol or Bath. The placements will provide students with hands-on experience of working on TIPS-at-Scale problems in industry and research settings. These placements will help shape their understanding of practical challenges and research issues, and, together with masterclasses, provide a strong basis for their research proposal.


This unit aims to deepen student’s understanding from the unit Socio-technical Foundations for TIPS-at Scale, via short, focussed learning/research experiences delivered by subject experts.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the unit students are expected to:

  1. Develop deep knowledge of five TIPS-at-Scale topics as covered by the academic and industry masterclasses.
  2. Learn about practical challenges of addressing TIPS problems in large-scale infrastructures through direct experience of these in industry/practice environments.

Teaching Information

This unit will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions and placements as detailed in the description above.

Masterclasses by academics will be delivered over the course of 2 days. Masterclasses by industry may be delivered directly by the industrial partner, and such sessions will be usually be arranged for a single day.

Students will be appropriately briefed for each masterclass, and after each masterclass there will be time for them to prepare/work on their reflective logs.

Assessment Information

100% coursework@

Masterclasses and placements will be assessed through a portfolio of reflective logs (review papers or position essays of 1500 words each), normally one per masterclass and placement, where students will summarise the knowledge gained (in case of masterclasses this will include a brief review of state-of-the-art while in case of placements this will summarise the practical knowledge acquired) and provide a critical analysis of the topic covered by the masterclass/placement.

  • Reflective logs on masterclasses (Weighting 70%) (ILO 1)
  • Reflective logs on placements (Weighting 30%) (ILO 2)

Students will be given opportunities to discuss their reflective logs throughout the course of this unit and thereby receive feedback on their progress.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. COMSM0031).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.