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COMP123A,B,S The Computing Experience

15 Points

This paper provides an introduction to the wealth of computer tools available for application in the sciences, the arts, and other disciplines. It is based on an intensive laboratory programme to give an overview of the nature and use of computers. A wide range of practical exercises is provided. You tailor the paper to your own needs and interests by selecting an appropriate set of these exercises. There are introductory practical sessions catering to the needs of those who have not used a computer before. More advanced exercises extend and challenge those with previous computing experience. The paper is recommended to students from all disciplines as an important contribution to a modern education.

For summer school this paper is "self-paced" and can easily be fitted around summer work. There is also no exam for this paper.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course, students should be able to demonstrate competent use of a selection of software packages, and explain the general concepts that relate to these packages.

Lecturers and Tutors

Summer School


    • COD Computer Science
      Room: G.1.23
      Phone: +64 7 838 4021

A Semester


    • COD Computer Science
      Room: G.1.23
      Phone: +64 7 838 4021

B Semester


    • COD Computer Science
      Room: G.1.23
      Phone: +64 7 838 4021

Moodle Link


COMP123S: Summer School
Introductory lecture on Monday January 5th, 4pm in KG.11.

Students should attend eight one-hour labs per week. The lab times available are Monday-Friday 11am-2pm held in RG.11 and RG.12.

This course has one introductory lecture: See the Official Timetable Information for where and when.

Four supervised labs per week held in RG.10 and RG.11 to be scheduled in the first week. Each lab is one hour long.

Compulsory Components
The course is primarily of a practical nature. The laboratory program is organised as a program of nine modules. These are intended to occupy one week each for COMP123A or COMP123B, or half a week each for COMP123S. A module will relate to a software package, or combination of software and associated hardware.

Modules are divided into two categories:

    P1s are introductions/laboratory exercises in using particular software packages. These are available for users at various levels of competency. Some of these lead onto further P1s. Each P1 consists of approximately 5 hours of laboratory work. The work is to a large extent guided, allowing you to develop skills.
    P2s are assignment/project work based on software introduced in the P1s. Each P2 will require approximately 5 hours of laboratory work, plus preparation of material to complete the module. They are intended to provide a higher level of work, and are correspondingly more demanding.

Students will use moodle to post regular updates on their progress and reflections on what they have learnt.

COMP123S: Summer School
Students should expect to spend about 20 hours per week on this class. Each student will have 8 scheduled laboratory hours each week. In addition the student should spend some additional time in the laboratory. Students should expect to spend 1-2 hours on moodle each week. The remaining time should be spent in preparation or review of the coursework.

Students should expect to spend about 10 hours per week on this class. Each student will have 4 scheduled laboratory hours each week. In addition the student may choose to spend additional time in the laboratory. Students should expect to spend 1-2 hours on moodle each week. The remaining time should be spent in preparation or review of the coursework.

Other Reading Material
A course workbook has been written by the Department of Computer Science to provide students with information necessary to complete the coursework. It is available from Campus Copy. Some modules may recommend further reading. Further modules not in the course workbook will be available from the tutors.

Computing Resources
The laboratories for COMP123 are RG.10 and RG.11 (Labs 3 & 4). They are equipped with 80 Windows Personal Computers.

A variety of software is provided on these computers, and will be available depending on the modules a student selects. Printing, email and web access is available but will be charged for through the UniCash charging system.

The Part I Computer Laboratories are available to enrolled students Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm. A schedule of supervised and 'free' time will be posted on the lab doors. Prior to 8am, after 8pm, and at weekends, a 'Swipe' card will be required for access. Students found in the lab at these times without a card will be removed.

Means of Assessment
The practical programme must be completed to the satisfaction of the coordinator for the paper.

P1s: the laboratory exercises are assessed through verification. They are designed for students to achieve competency with the material. The level of competency is what is assessed.

For each P1 module, and in most cases for each session (section) of a module, students will be required to obtain a 'verification'. This involves answering the set questions on the session review page, and getting a laboratory demonstrator to assess a student's skills have reached an appropriate level. To do this the demonstrator will get the student to complete some exercises (as listed in the module). The demonstrator will then mark the coursework on the following four-point scale:

  • 4 - Substantially completed the module to the satisfaction of the demonstrator.
  • 3 - Module attempted (within reason) but not completed.
  • 2 - Limited attempt in the module.
  • 0 - Did not substantially attempt the module.

Please note since this marking scheme has only four steps, it is not a detailed assessment of a students work. It is a measure of the effort the student has shown, and the competency the student has achieved. Students are welcome to discuss their work in more detail, with their demonstrator or tutor. The grading of P2s is intended to provide more detailed feedback.

P2s: P2 assignments projects are assessed in several ways and marking is more detailed. They will require verification by a Tutor, and will include material to be handed in for formal marking. The marking is done with letter grades and reflects the higher level of work required. The module will include a criteria sheet (generally on the hand-in page) showing the elements on which marking is based. Remember that students must complete at least one P2.

Moodle: Students will post regular updates on moodle stating their progress in the course and reflections of what they have learnt. Posts will be assessed as to whether they have sufficient content to count towards the moodle mark.

Assessment Ratio
Internal assessment/final examination ratio 1:0. The practical programme must be completed to the satisfaction of the coordinator for the paper.

Assessment Components
This is an internally assessed course. A passing grade is a minimum of 50% (C grade). An RP grade will not normally be accepted as fulfilling a prerequisite for a more advanced course (see the University Calendar 2014 - Assessment Regulations, 20.(6) p132).

One P2 (assignment/project) is a 'compulsory assessment item' of the course (See the University Calendar 2014 - Assessment Regulations, 20.(3) p131). Students must complete a minimum of one P2 to avoid an Incomplete 'IC' grade.

Grading Schedule
The course is entirely internally assessed. The coursework is based upon nine practical modules and moodle contributions. Students should complete all nine modules, of which one module must be a P2 module.

The course is designed to be flexible, and to reward students for the amount of effort they put in. Students determine the level of work they wish to do by the pattern of P1s and P2s they choose in their nine modules. Students can explore a wide range of software in a general manner, or spend more time with a smaller selection of options. The normal expectation is that students will complete six P1s and three P2s. In this way they can try a variety of software, but also get a strong grasp of particular packages which will be of use to them outside this course. Students may vary their choices in consultation with their tutor. Students may wish to complete more P1s (and less P2s), but this will reduce their maximum possible grade. Students are required to complete at least one P2 module, and we do not recommend doing more than 3 P2s.

Grades are calculated on a scale of 7% for each P1 and 16% for each P2. The moodle contributions are worth 10% of the course. Completion of less than 9 modules will result in a correspondingly lower grade. Students will pass the course when the mark for their completed modules is over 50%, provided that one of their modules is a P2. Note that only the nine modules approved by the tutor count toward their final grade. Any modules in excess or instead of the nine (whatever combination of P1s and P2s) will not be included in the grade calculation.

Assessment Deadlines

Summer School

    One P2 must be completed by: 4pm 23 January
    All P1s must be verified by: end of lab 13 February
    All other P2s must be submitted by: 4pm 16 February
      A semester B semester
    One P2 must be completed by the end of the first term
    2 April
    21 August
    All P1s must be verified before the end of
    the last supervised lab on the final teaching day
    of the Semester
    5 June
    16 October
    All other P2 material must be submitted for
    marking by 4pm Friday at the end of study week
    12 June
    23 October

Attendance Policy
Attendance at scheduled labs is expected. Laboratory practicals are integral to the course. Scheduled labs are the only time when coursework can be assessed. Students are also expected to regularly participate online using moodle.

Other Information
This paper is not available to students majoring in Computer Science.

Late Work: students should hand in what they have done by the due date, and this will be reviewed in light of the documentary evidence.

Academic Integrity
Follow this link for Academic Integrity information.

Performance Impairment
Follow this link for information on Performance Impairment.

Student Concerns and Complaints
Follow this link for Student Concerns and Complaints information.

Application for Extension
Follow this link for information on applying for an Extension.

Review of Grade
Follow this link for information on applying for a Review of Grade.

University Regulations
Your attention is drawn to the following regulations and policies, which are published in the University Calendar:

  2007 FCMS. The University of Waikato - Te Whare Wananga o Waikato