COMPSCI 130 : Introduction to Software Fundamentals


2020 Semester Two (1205) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Fundamental programming techniques and processes, such as conditionals, iteration, recursion, functions, testing and debugging. Efficient ways to organise and manipulate data, including sorting and searching algorithms. Writing software that uses and implements common abstract data types such as lists, stacks, queues, dictionaries and trees.

Course Overview

This is the entry course to Computer Science for students with prior programming knowledge. It focuses on the quality of processes used when developing software, and the quality of the software product produced using those processes.  The course provides an introduction to fundamental software development techniques and processes, such as reading, writing, and documenting programming code; decomposing problems; testing; debugging; using recursion; handling unexpected errors.  It also addresses efficient ways to organize and manipulate data, including sorting and searching algorithms, and writing software that uses and implements common abstract data types such as lists, stacks, queues, dictionaries and trees.  The course will be taught using the Python programming language.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: COMPSCI 101, or Achievement Standard NCEA Level 3: Digital Technologies and Programming: 91637 Develop a complex computer program for a specified task Restriction: COMPSCI 105, 107

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Use common programming statements to implement iterative and recursive algorithms. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  2. Demonstrate how typical data structures are modelled in memory. (Capability 1)
  3. Write programs that use standard abstract data types (lists, stacks, queues, priority queues, dictionaries). (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  4. Implement standard abstract data types using standard data structures such as arrays, linked lists, hash tables and trees. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  5. Export and import data structures (via file or console I/O) using standard text-based data formats. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  6. Decompose a problem into several smaller tasks, design and implement a function for each task, and compose these functions into a program that solves the problem. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  7. Use simple testing and debugging strategies to correct faulty programs. (Capability 1 and 2)
  8. Provide a useful level of documentation for all programs developed. (Capability 4)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Labs 20% Individual Coursework
Assignments 8% Individual Coursework
Timed Quizzes 2% Individual Coursework
Tests 45% Individual Test
Final Exam 25% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Timed Quizzes
Final Exam

Students are required to pass both the practical invigilated online tests component of the course and the invigilated written final exam.


The School of Computer Science Tuākana programme provides support for this course. See:

Key Topics

Week 1: Python revision
Week 2: Software maintenance, modularity and testing
Week 3: Exceptions
Week 4: Complexity of programs; sorting and searching
Week 5: Abstraction; Classes, and Abstract Data Types
Week 6: Recursion
Week 7: Stacks and queues
Week 8: Linked data structures
Week 9: Hashing
Week 10: Trees
Week 11: Binary Search Trees
Week 12: Priority Queues and Heaps

Learning Resources

All learning resources will be made available via Canvas. There is no required textbook for this course but the following online reference for COMPSCI 130 is available:

Special Requirements

Students are required to pass both the practical invigilated online tests component of the course and the invigilated written final exam.
The two tests that are invigilated on campus will be held on two Saturdays: August 29 and October 24.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, each week you can expect 1 hour of lecture, 4 hours of labs (two times two-hour labs), 2 hours of reading, viewing and thinking about the content and 3 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Digital 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.


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.

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 against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

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 at

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.

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.

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 you may be asked to submit your 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. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 07/07/2020 06:25 p.m.