COMP SCI 1201 - Introduction to Programming for Engineers

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2016

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: Mr Ali Shemshadi

    Ali Shemshadi (

    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • 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 may contain a mixture of:

    • Explanations, to introduce new concepts;
    • Demonstrations, to see the concept in action;
    • Brief exploration, worksheets and quizzes, where you can check your understanding
    Many programming examples will be worked in small groups during the collaborative workshop sessions. You can talk with your group members, and to a lab supervisor to experiment and see how things work. Attendance and participation at these sessions is recorded and assessed.

    The supervised practical sessions will, except where explicitly stated by the lecturer, 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 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 is an average of 3 one-hour lecture sessions each fortnight, (see the forum page of the course for the schedule), 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 this skill needs to be learned over several weeks.
    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
    The course has 3 components:
    • Programming practice (30%)
    • Prac Exams (20%)
    • Final written examination (50%)
    The programing practice has 4 parts as follows:

    • Workshop attendence and participation (5%)
    • Regular Practical Session Work (14%)
    • Matlab Assignment Demo (5%)
    • C Assignment Demo (6%)
    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

    In workshops you are expected to attend and actively participate and contribute for each session. There are 12 workshops worth 0.5% each up to a capped total of 5% (this means you must participate in at least 10 of the 12 workshops to get your maximum workshop mark). 

    Start working on each practical exercise as early as possible, as they can take more that one 2-hour session to complete.
    Due to the very tight schedule for this course you must be present in the lab, and get your work marked by a lab supervisor in the week your work is due. To enable work to be marked off you must have your work ready to demonstrate and explain. If you are not able to start your demonstration immediately the demonstrators are instructed to move on and come back after marking others. You will recieve some-on-the-spot feedback. Where warranted,  general feedback on each exercise will be provided in lectures. 

    Practical exams are carried out under exam conditions. These sessions will either be on paper or on the computer (details to be announced in advance of each exam). The exams will run for one hour with the remaining hour of the practical session dedicated to administration and marking. 

    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 3 or 4 3 3
    Practical Exams 3 3
    Assignments 3 3 3 3
    Final Exam 2 2 to 4 2 to 5 3
    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.