General Advice and Study Information
Study TipsThe contact time for each course can vary, depending often on whether practical work is required. However, you should view your program as a full time job and expect to spend at least 35-40 hours per week at your studies. Above all, you need to learn to manage and organise your time. It is essential to develop a semester plan outlining assignment deadlines, presentations and tests, as well as a weekly plan, which incorporates continuous revision and reading. The best advice for students is to work steadily throughout the year.
The Barr Smith Library provides a collection of study resources and writing guides for Computer Science.
Attendance at lectures is highly recommended although it is not compulsory. A key benefit of lecture attendance is that you will keep up to date with the course content and give yourself time to absorb new material. Course content is scheduled so that relevant information has been presented before you need to use it. If you choose to skip a lecture and watch it later, you may discover you are unable to complete a workshop because you are missing important information. Do not assume that all lectures are recorded. Not all rooms have recording facilities and there are occasional failures.
Unlike many disciplines, Computer Science is an essentially practical discipline. A key skill that you need to learn is programming so that you can develop the mental models necessary to understand the course content. If you fail to properly invest in this skill you will find some concepts unnecessarily challenging and your programming assignments will require excessive time to complete. Unfortunately, practical skills such as programming can only be developed by lots of practice so never take short cuts with you programming assignments. Start early, do all of them and try lots of extra stuff for yourself.
Assessment and Feedback
Assessment is generally by practical assignments and written reports (30 to 50%) and examination (50 to 70%). Details for each course are provided in each course outline.
Feedback from assignments will vary in format throughout your programme of study, ranging from detailed individual feedback, in-class postmortems of assignment solutions, online summaries of assignment results to immediate automated results. It is important that you pay attention to this feedback, and seek help if you are unsure how to improve your work.
The Minimum Performance Rule
In most courses there are typically two components, a written exam and a set of assignments. In a typical course the written exam will account for up to 70% of the final marks for the course. However, to ensure that all students achieve a minimum level of performance across all the components of a course, a set of hurdles may be set that must be completed in order to pass the course.
In most courses the hurdle requirement will be to obtain at least 40% of the available marks in one or more specified assessments. Failure to pass one or more these hurdles will usually result in your final mark for the course being capped at 44 Fail even if you would have otherwise passed. If a course includes any hurdles, these will be detailed in the course outline.
We encourage you to submit all assignment work on time, and to plan ahead so that you have enough time to complete your work. Typically, the maximum mark that can be awarded will reduce by 25% for each day or part day late. The penalty is applied as a cap, that is, any marks greater than the cap are simply discarded. So, if you are a day late and you receive 65% of the marks, which is less than the 75% cap, the penalty will not apply. Assignment work submitted 4 or more days late will receive 0 marks (but you should still hand it up).
Generally, automatically marked assignments allow you to keep the highest mark for any submission so a late submission should not cause you to lose marks. The late penalties that apply to a course will be detailed in the course outline.
You may be granted medical or compassionate extensions for a piece of assessment. You must provide supporting evidence, such as medical certificates or counseling service letters. You should also apply for extensions as soon as you are aware that there might be a problem and you must apply for an extension before the assignment deadline passes! Extension requests must be made to the course coordinator for the course.
You will normally only receive an extension equivalent to the number of days covered by your documentation. Don’t expect to get an extra week because you lost a day.
You should take time to read the University's Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment Policy. If you have any questions regarding the policy please see your course coordinator.
Plagiarism, Collusion and related forms of cheating are treated as serious matters within the School of Computer Science, and the wider University community. You must submit your own work (no sharing of code) and clearly identify others' appropriate contributions. Penalties are applied to all parties involved in the plagiarism, regardless of who copied whom. Penalties start at receiving 0 for the assignment, and can include receiving 0 for the course or being expelled from the University.
The majority of students who resort to cheating do so because they are running behind time on assignments or are too embarassed to seek help from a staff member. Please start your assignments early and, if you have questions, seek out a lecturer, tutor or prac demonstrator once you realise that you are having difficulty making progress. You will learn much more by doing all of your work yourself and will have better knowledge and higher marks.
We strongly advise that you read the University policies on Plagiarism and Cheating. If you have any questions regarding the policies please see your course coordinator.
Questions regarding your Grades
If you believe that you have been awarded an incorrect grade, you must see the course coordinator of the course in the first instance. If you are unsatisfied with the response of the course coordinator, you should make an appointment to see the School Assessment Coordinator
The examination timetable and location information are available from the University exam website.
All examination results will be posted on Access Adelaide a few hours after the examiners meeting where they are finalised. The administrative staff will not provide information regarding examination results or details of when they will be available. Enquiries regarding when results may become available should be directed to the course forums.
Notification of replacement exam or additional assessment offers will be made via Access Adelaide.
We encourage you to review your marked exam script after the exam period. This will help you understand the exam process, review the material and improve your exam results in later courses.
Teaching Philosophy and Methodologies
As students, your learning is your own responsibility. Staff will assist you in your learning and provide the help that you need to achieve your goals. You have to ensure that you seek and use the resources available to facilitate your learning.
Most courses utilise a lecture/tutorial/practical/workshop format. Lectures provide an opportunity for lecturers to explain concepts to, and lead discussions with, the whole class. Tutorials provide an opportunity to work in small groups and discuss concepts in more depth. Practical and workshop sessions enable students to apply their knowledge in solving practical problems. Some practical sessions are supervised, enabling students to test the application of their knowledge in a guided environment.
School wide announcements are posted on the Myuni course Computer Science School Announcements. Announcements from industry on jobs and industry events are posted to the Myuni course Computer Science Careers and Industry Information.
Students should regularly consult these forums. Follow the links above to enrol yourself in these courses.
Each course website is hosted on Myuni and includes a discussion forum that will be used by the lecturers to notify students of important events. It is also an important tool students can use to ask questions on the material discussed in courses or to clarify issues relating to assignment specification etc.
Please ensure messages posted to the forums are well thought out and do not contain any language that may be considered offensive or threatening. In many cases, if you read previous posts to a forum you may find your question has already been asked and answered.