COMPSCI 701 : Special Topic: Creating Maintainable Software


2020 Semester Two (1205) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Developing maintainable software has been an ongoing challenge in the software industry. This course presents the principles and practices that have been proposed for developing maintainable software systems. It will evaluate and critique these principles and practices through examining their application in practice and through understanding the research on their effectiveness.

Course Overview

Software maintainability is the quality of how much effort is required to keep a software product useful. A challenge in the software industry is that the majority of the lifetime cost of software product comes after it is first deployed. The better the maintainability of the software the lower the future costs, so understanding how to develop maintainable software is crucial.

This course provides an in-depth look as to what it means for software to be maintainable. It presents the principles and practices that have been proposed for developing maintainable software. Students will learn to evaluate and critique these principles and practices through examining their application in practice and through understanding the research on their effectiveness. This will prepare students for developing high-quality software products in industry.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: Approval of Academic Head or nominee

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Explain the importance of software quality to a successful software system (Capability 1 and 2)
  2. Explain the fundamental concepts and processes for developing maintainable software (Capability 1 and 2)
  3. Critically assess and communicate the maintainability of software systems according to standard or well-known criteria (Capability 1, 2 and 4)
  4. Independently apply appropriate principles and techniques to develop software that is maintainable or improve the maintainability of existing software (Capability 2, 3 and 5)
  5. Explain and critically evaluate some of the proposed criteria, principles, and techniques associated with software maintainability. (Capability 2)
  6. Develop and demonstrate a responsibility for creating maintainable software (Capability 1 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Tests 40% Individual Test
Reflection 10% Individual Coursework
Assignments 50% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6

Learning Resources


Special Requirements

The requirements for the Learning Journal must be met.

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, you can expect 3 hours of lectures,  3 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 4 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 10:34 p.m.