COMPSCI 101 : Principles of Programming


2024 Summer School (1240) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

A practical introduction to computers and computer programming in a high-level language. The course is lab-based and focuses on reading and writing computer programs. The course is intended for students who may wish to advance in Computer Science or in Information Systems and Operations Management.

Course Overview

This course introduces computer programming using the Python programming language. The main focus is on learning to understand the detailed requirements of a programming task, and writing programs that are well structured, correct and easy to read. 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.

The course is designed for students who do not have any prior programming experience. For students who wish to continue with Computer Science, this course will prepare them for the core Stage I paper COMPSCI 130.

Course Requirements

Restriction: Cannot be taken with or after COMPSCI 105, 107, 130, 210-220, 230-289, 313-399

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Read and explain what a program does (Capability 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  2. Make changes to a given program to meet updated requirements. (Capability 3, 5 and 6)
  3. Write a simple Python program that meets given specifications and adheres to standard Python style conventions. (Capability 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8)
  4. Decompose a simple problem into several smaller tasks, given a brief textual description of the problem. (Capability 3, 4 and 5)
  5. Use code tracing to determine the state of a program both during and after execution, given code that may include functions and parameters, loops, conditionals and sequences. (Capability 3, 4 and 5)
  6. Determine if a program meets given specifications by writing appropriate tests (Capability 3, 5 and 8)
  7. Debug a program to correct errors. (Capability 3, 4 and 5)
  8. Write docstrings that explain the purpose of code at a high level and ensure program code uses meaningful identifiers. (Capability 3, 6 and 8)
  9. Use Python API documentation to explore and use new Python functions. (Capability 3, 4 and 5)
  10. Perform a code review to evaluate the quality of code. (Capability 3, 4 and 8)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Laboratories 17% Individual Coursework
Assignment 13% Individual Coursework
Test 1 (on CodeRunner) 10% Individual Test
Test 2 (on CodeRunner) 10% Individual Test
Test 3 (on CodeRunner) 20% Individual Test
Test 4 (on CodeRunner) 30% Individual Test
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Test 1 (on CodeRunner)
Test 2 (on CodeRunner)
Test 3 (on CodeRunner)
Test 4 (on CodeRunner)

Pass requirements:

  • To pass the course, a student must pass the "test" component of the course (70%) and the "labs + assignments" component (30%) separately, as well as getting at least 50% of the overall mark.
  • There is no final exam for this course.


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

The School of Computer Science Tuākana programme provides support for this course. See: For more information and to find contact details for the School of Computer Science Tuākana coordinator, please see

Key Topics

  • Simple variables
  • Expressions
  • Input and output
  • Control structures
  • Functions
  • Standard data structures
  • Standard Python modules

Special Requirements

  1. The 4 tests will be held on campus in the lab room  during the lab times.
  2. Attendance at lab sessions is expected (10% of each lab mark is for attendance).
  3. To pass the course, a student must pass the "tests" component of the course (70%) and the "labs + assignments" component (30%) separately, as well as getting at least 50% of the overall mark.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course run over 6 weeks rather than 12 weeks.  Students are expected to spend 20 hours per week involved in each 15 point course at Summer School, rather than 10 hours during a 12-week  semester.

For this course at Summer School, each week you can expect:

  • 4 two-hour labs
  • 6 hours of reading, watching short Panopto videos and thinking about the content 
  • 6 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

There are no formal lectures for this course.  Lectures have been replaced with short videos which students watch on Panopto before attending their lab.

 Attendance is expected at scheduled labs.  10% of each lab is for lab attendance.  There are four 2-hour labs each week at Summer School.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


  • An online textbook is used to supplement the material covered in the course
Other Resources:
  • All resources will be available on Canvas and Panopto Video

Health & Safety

To avoid OOS (Occupational Overuse Syndrome, also known as RSI), please take regular breaks from your computer and also try to maintain good posture.  

When in the lab, you are required to use a lab computer, not your laptop.

Wearing a mask in the lab is recommended to avoid Covid, Flu and other illnesses.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Delivery mode has been shifted from lectures to lab-based delivery based on feedback from students that practical activities in laboratories was most effective for learning.  Also, the long 3.5 hour exam and 2.5 hour mid-semester test have been replaced with 4 short (1.5 hour) tests which will be held during the lab times.

Other Information

Please contact the course coordinator (Ann Cameron) if you have any queries or concerns.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

We welcome feedback from students.  If you do have a concern about the course, please contact the course coordinator, but if you are not comfortable with doing that you can contact the class rep and they will bring the concern to us.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 07/12/2023 12:15 p.m.