COMP SCI 1201 - Introduction to Programming for Engineers

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2015

Introduces the fundamental concepts of procedural programming. Topics include data types, control structures, functions, arrays, files, and the mechanics of running, testing, and debugging. This course covers introductory programming and problem solving in MATLAB and C or Fortran. - Algorithms and problem-solving: Problem-solving strategies; the role of algorithms in the problem-solving process; implementation strategies for algorithms; debugging strategies; the concept and properties of algorithms - Fundamental programming constructs: Syntax and semantics of a higher-level language; variables, types, expressions, and assignment; simple I/O; conditional and iterative control structures; functions and parameter passing; structured decomposition - Fundamental data structures: Primitive types; arrays; records; strings and string processing - Software development methodology: Fundamental design concepts and principles; testing and debugging strategies; test-case design (black box testing and requirements testing); unit testing; programming environments

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code COMP SCI 1201
    Course Introduction to Programming for Engineers
    Coordinating Unit Computer Science
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 6 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Incompatible APP MATHS 1000, APP MATHS 2005, APP MATHS 2106, CHEM ENG 1002, CHEM ENG 1008, COMP SCI 1012, COMP SCI 1101, ENG 2002, MECH ENG 1100, MECH ENG 1101, MECH ENG 1102, MECH ENG 1103, MECH ENG 1104, MECH ENG 1105
    Restrictions Not suitable for BCompSc, BCompGr or BEng(Software Engineering) students
    Assessment Written exam, assignments
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Cruz Izu

    Lachlan Birdsey (
    Mojgan Pourhassan (mailto:

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    You can find a schedule of the topics, and the tutorial and practical exercises on the course website:
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    At the end of this course, you will be able to:
    1. Understand the common constructs that make up programming languages.
    2. Be able to problem solve and design solutions to (simple) programming problems.
    3. Be able to efficiently translate solutions into computer programs.
    4. Understand the programming constructs of the C and MATLAB programming languages.
    5. Be able to apply their knowledge of programming and problem solving to the development of C and MATLAB programs.
    6. Have an appreciation of modern computing technology, and the place that programming has within the Engineering domain.
    7. Be able to think about framing and solving unstructured problems.
    8. Understand problem-solving principles.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-8
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 2,8
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 2,8
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 7
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1-5
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    The required text-book for this course is  

    Matlab: A Practical Introduction to Programming and Problem Solving Third Edition
    by Stormy Attaway, publisher: Elsevier,  ISBN 9780124058767

    The textbook  Problem solving with C++, by Walter Savitch is recommended for the C part.

    Recommended Resources
    Students are expected to attend lectures, collaborative sessions and also their supervised practical sessions. These practical sessions will be crucial to developing your understanding of the course material, and will provide access to additional assistance from practical supervisors.
    Online Learning
    Copies of lecture notes, lecture recordings and additional resources will be provided online through Moodle. Any example programs demonstrated in lectures will be made available online after the lecture. Discussion forums will also be made available on the course website.

    Students should enrol in the course as soon as possible and are expected to check the Moodle website frequently for announcements and new resources


  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course will be taught through a combination of lectures, collaborative sessions and supervised practical sessions.

    Each lecture session will contain a mixture of:
    Explanation, to introduce new concepts;
    Demonstration, to see the concept in action;
    Brief exploration, where you can check your understanding
    A short quiz, to formally check your progress.
    Many programming examples will be worked in small groups during the collaborative sessions. You can talk with your group members, and to a lab supervisor to experiment and see how things work. Attendance at these sessions is recorded, but not assessed.

    The supervised practical sessions will require students to individually prepare solutions to practical exercises. The supervisors can help you when you get "stuck", and will assess your work and assign a mark. The purpose of these practical sessions is for students to apply the examples and theoretical concepts discussed in lectures and collaborative sessions.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.
    There are 3 one-hour lecture sessions each fortnight, a two-hour workshop each week, and (from week2) a two-hour supervised practical session each week.

    Students are expected to attend all scheduled classes. In addition to the schedule contact hours, students are expected to spend 3-5 additional hours per week in preparation of assignment work, and reviewing and understanding the course topics.

    Programming is like any skill --- if you want to get better, you need to practice.
    Long-term data confirms that you cannot learn the material one week before the end of the semester...
    Learning Activities Summary
    A schedule of the topics that will be covered in each lecture, a list of workshop topics, and the practical exercises can all be found on the course website.

    The practical examinations are intended to assess the student’s knowledge in practical application of the concepts taught in lectures, specifically in designing and developing programming solutions. The practical examinations are summative assessment.

    Assignments and Practical exercises are both formative and summative and extend the work done in the collaborative sessions. Assignments are used to help assess whether the required graduate attributes are being developed. Written feedback will be provided for some of the assessment work.

    The examinations are summative assessment and are intended to assess the student’s knowledge and understanding of the course material.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Final examination: 60%
    Practical exercises: 25% (Split: 15% Matlab, 10% C)
    Practical exams: 15% (Split: 10% Matlab, 5% C)
    Assessment Related Requirements
    The written examination is a minimum performance hurdle.

    This means that to pass the course, students are required to obtain:
    At least 40% of the available marks for the final exam.
    At least 50% overall mark.
    If a student does not achieve 40% in the final written exam component, their overall mark will be capped at 44% (F).
    Assessment Detail
    Practical exercises are provided as part of the learning experience. Students are expected to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the subject matter through completing the practical exercises, so they are regarded as formative rather than summative.

    There will be 3 practical exercises for Matlab worth in total 9%, and 3 practical exercises for C worth in total 6%. Refer to the course schedule for their individual weighting and due date.

    You need to start working on the next practical exercise as early as possible, as they may take more that one 2-hour session to complete.
    You must be present in the lab, and get your work marked by a lab supervisor in the week is due. Feedback on this work will be provided within your practical sessions. Additional feedback can be sought from your lecturers and on the online forums.

    There will be up to 10 quizzes, held during the lecture classes, at random times. Each quiz has an equal weighting. Your final mark will be based on the best n-2 quiz marks. For example, if there are 8 quizzes, your mark will be based on your 6 best marks.

    Because the class is very large (about 300), it will not be possible to offer make-up quizzes for any reason. If you miss a quiz, you will simply score zero --- make sure not to miss too many of them!

    Mapping of Assessment to ICT Core Body of Knowlege (CBOK)*
    *CBOK categories are explained in section 4 of "The-ICT-Profession-Body-of-Knowledge"; numbers assigned correspond to the Bloom taxonomy (see page 26 of the same document).

    Assessment Abstraction Design Programming Communication
    Practicals  3 4 5 3
    Practical Exams 3 3
    Final Exam 2 4 5 3

    Mapping to Learning outcomes for the course:
    Assessment Outcomes
    Practicals 1-5,8
    Practical Exams 1-5
    Final Exam 1-8
    Practical exercises will be submitted electronically to Moodle and will be assessed by a tutor during the supervised practical sessions.

    Note every time you submit some work (either on paper, or electronically via the web), you are implicitly saying to the University "The work I have just submitted was (substantially) done by me".
    The core of this statement is "I didn't copy it" --- neither from another student, nor from any other person, nor from the web.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.