Computer Science

Principles of Programming: COMPSCI 101 Semester 1, 2019

This course is an introduction to programming computers. It is the main introductory course in the Computer Science department and is taken by students from a variety of disciplines wishing to have an understanding of computer programming as well as students wanting to continue on to further studies in Computer Science.

We teach programming using the cross-platform language Python. The main focus is on learning to understand the detailed requirements of a programming task, and writing programs that are well structured, correct, easy to read, and to maintain. In order to do this students need to develop an understanding of how to represent information both as data and algorithms. Students also need to develop the skills of incrementally developing and testing programs.

The course covers simple variables, expressions, input and output, control structures, functions, using standard data structures such as lists and dictionaries, and using standard Python modules.

Lecture Times and Locations

Stream 1

Monday8am - 9amFPAA Lecture Theatre (Owen G Glenn, Room 115)
Wednesday9am - 10amOGGB Lecture Theatre (Owen G Glenn, Room 098)
Friday8am - 9amHSB1 Lecture Theatre (201N-346)

Stream 2

Monday3pm - 4pmGeneral Library, RM B28 (109-B28)
Wednesday2pm - 3pmGeneral Library, RM B28 (109-B28)
Friday2pm - 3pmGeneral Library, RM B28 (109-B28)
Course information sheet

Please read through the Course Information Document. It outlines the important dates for this semester and gives an overview of the course assessment. Note that this is preliminary and subject to change before the start of the course.

  • Labs are a compulsory part of the course. They are worth 13.5% of your final mark.
  • Please note that to pass the course, you must pass both the practical (labs + assignments) and the theory (test + exam) components separately.
  • All labs are held in the Room 279 on Level 2 of the Computer Science building (Building 303S).
  • Before the first lab you will be given a lab preparation sheet in lectures. You are required to complete this worksheet before the start of your first laboratory.
  • For all labs, an exercise sheet will be given to you in the lab. This sheet will contain written exercises based on the topics that have been covered in lectures the previous week.
  • If you have any problems or queries regarding the labs, please see the lab supervisor, Ann Cameron.

Marks can be checked via the Canvas system. Please check your marks each week and contact Ann Cameron if there are any problems.


Piazza is available for course related posts.

Final Learning Outcomes

A student who successfully completes this course will be able to: Understand code, implement algorithms, test code, document code, design solutions using functional decomposition and implement those solutions. More specifically, a student who successfully completes this course will be able to:

  • determine the state of the program both during and after execution, given a code. listing that may include functions and parameters, loops, conditionals and sequences.
  • implement a given algorithm using Python.
  • show that a program meets given specifications by writing appropriate tests.
  • provide a useful level of documentation, in the form of program comments, for all programs developed.
  • decompose a simple problem into several smaller tasks, given a brief textual description of the problem.
  • compose functions that perform a specified task into a program that solves a given problem.

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