This course uses Piazza for discussions & support. You can post anonymously to each other, although the lecturers & tutor can always see who you are. Be courteous and help one another out—there will be consequences for anyone who engages in trolling or disrespectful behaviour.

If you need to get in touch with me (Ben) directly, you can send me an email. As you can imagine, I get a lot of email and I can’t make promises about how fast I’ll respond (although I’ll try and get back to within two working days). I also don’t check emails/Piazza after hours or on weekends, so if you really do need to get in touch make sure you don’t leave it till the last minute.

There are also student reps for the course (you’ll elect them in week 1), so you can talk to them and they’ll pass your (anonymous) feedback on to me.

Lab attendance

While the lab content isn’t assessable, I strongly recommend that you attend all the lab sessions. In the lab sessions you’ll get hands-on help in applying the concepts we’re covering in the lectures. They’re also a chance to get to know your tutor and get feedback on in-progress assignment submissions, etc. (your tutor will be the one who marks your assignments).

In addition, in each lab you’ll create & submit your own artwork for the COMP1720 Showcase. So even if you’re a later-year student taking this course as an elective, you should come to the labs and make something you’re proud of.


Assignments (24 marks total)

There are 4 assignments in total, each worth 6 marks. The assignments must be submitted through GitLab and are due:

  1. 9pm Monday August 14 (week 4)
  2. 9pm Monday September 4 (first Monday of the teaching break)
  3. 9pm Tuesday September 26 (week 8)
  4. 9pm Monday October 9 (week 10)

Each assignment will involve creating a p5 code sketch. The skills you’ll need for the assignments will be taught in the lectures and especially in the labs.

Your assignment code will be run through plagiarism-detection software, so if you use any code from somewhere else make sure you reference it in your statement of originality (see academic misconduct).

COMP1720 Showcase

You may (optionally) make your lab & assignment sketches available in the COMP1720 Showcase: a publicly-visible online gallery of p5 sketches.

  • participating in the showcase is entirely optional
  • you don’t have to submit all your labs & assignments to the showcase, you can participate on a sketch-by-sketch basis
  • you can update your showcase submissions at any time (i.e. you can keep pushing updates to your old labs & assignments, although obviously it won’t change your mark for those assignments)

If you submit at least 5 sketches to the showcase, then these sketches (i.e. your public portfolio) will be marked during the final exam period and this mark can be used to redeem your worst assignment mark. This isn’t just free marks—the showcase is public, and we expect the work you put up there to be of a high standard. However, it’s an option if you want to go back and do extra work on your sketches to polish them up for public exhibition.

Here’s an example of how it might work:

Susie received marks of 75%, 80%, 95% and 45% for her four assignments. She decided to submit her 5 best labs & assignments to the showcase, and this public portfolio received a mark of 70%. Since this was a better mark than her worst assignment (45%) it replaced that assignment mark in calculating her total assignment mark.

Major project storyboard (1 mark, hurdle)

In your week 10 lab you must submit a storyboard for your major project which describes the “grand challenge” you’ve chosen for your major project, and describes the story your major project will tell. This is a pass/fail assessment—you’ll either get 1 (pass) or 0 (fail).

This is a hurdle assessment: if you fail it, you’ll fail the course. However, it’s only worth one mark, and as long as you submit something which shows that you’ve started thinking seriously about your major project then you’ll be fine.

Major project (50 marks)

Your major project in this course is to produce a piece of interactive art for an online gallery exhibition. This is a chance to use all the skills you learn in the course to create something you’re proud of. This is a significant part of the course, so it’s worth half of the total mark.

Each year, we choose a “theme” for the COMP1720/6720 major project. This is to help you get started, although you can interpret the theme however you like. This year, the theme is ANU Grand Challenges. We’ll give you more information (including revealing what the Grand Challenges are) as the course progresses.

Final exam (25 marks)

The final examination will run during the S2 exam period.

Final marks and grades

To pass the course, you must satisfy all of these criteria:

  1. score at least 50 overall
  2. pass the major project storyboard hurdle assignment
  3. score at least 40% (20/50) on the major project

Your final mark will be the total of your marks on the individual assessment items (after taking into account your showcase submissions) with the additional caveat that your mark may be scaled by the examiners’ conference to provide your overall course mark and grade.

If score less than 20/50 on the major project, you will fail this course with a grade of N and a final mark that is either 44/100 or the sum of your marks on all the assessment items, whichever is lower.

If you enrol, but don’t participate in the course at all you will fail with a final grade of NCN, which means a failure due to non-completion.


Marks and feedback for all assignments will be released through GitLab. Marks for the major project & final exam will be released as part of your final grade when your grades for all courses come out at the end of the semester. Marks for these items are available upon request after the semester has finished.

Late penalties

Late submission of all assessment items (and non-attendance at exams) will result in a mark of zero for the assessment item. You need to hear this loud and clear, there’s no wiggle room on this—we won’t accept “it’s only half an hour late” excuses. The reason is that that’s not fair to the other students who handed something in by the deadline (they probably would have loved to have another half an hour as well).

This means you must plan ahead—don’t leave your submission to the last minute. It’s much better to get something done early and then refine it from there (especially with the GitLab submission process). We won’t accept last-minute excuses for lost work, etc. so make sure you’re aware of all the submission deadlines and plan accordingly. Also, make note of the communication policy above—if you need help/assistance from a lecturer or tutor you can’t get it after hours/at the last minute.


Postponing assessment deadlines is always possible with good reasons & appropriate documentation (e.g. a medical certificate). For example, if you feel sick on the day of an exam, please do not sit the exam. See a doctor instead and provide a medical certificate. If you can see ahead of time that a specific assessment date or deadline will be a problem for you, then contact us at least two weeks in advance (either via email or privately through Piazza) and we will work something out for you. In the interest of fairness we obviously will always require good reasons—but we want to listen to you and give you the opportunity to make your case.

Special assessments will not necessarily take the exact same form as the original assessment item, e.g. they may be oral examinations.


From the date that your marks for any assessment item is released electronically, you have a period of two weeks in which to appeal your mark. After this period your mark will be final.

If you’re unhappy with your grade for an assessment, then be wary of asking for a re-mark—you might get a lower mark. The purpose of the appeals process is to catch really outrageous errors in the marking process (e.g. if we mark the wrong assignment, or didn’t read your artist statement).

Supplementary assessment

Supplementary assessment will be offered only if you have a final mark of at least 45/100 but less than 50/100. The assessment item may be a re-submission of the major project, a written exam, or an oral exam.

Academic integrity

At the ANU we take academic integrity seriously. In COMP1720/6720 this means:

  • All your submitted work is assumed to be entirely your own work. Besides forbidding any direct copies, this also means that no part of your submission is inspired by, based on or a re-formulation of work by somebody else. Re-formulating the work of somebody else is actually worse, because (in addition to plagiarism) it shows a clear intent to deceive.

  • If your work has been inspired by something else (e.g. a classmate, or something you found on the web) you must indicate this in the statement of originality which you’ll submit alongside every assignment (including the major project). This gives you a place to clearly indicate your sources. Obviously you will not receive the highest mark if all of your work comes from somewhere else, but by indicating all sources clearly you won’t be guilty of academic misconduct. Failure to indicate any of your inspirations, sources, or collaboration partners will be regarded as an intent to deceive.

You are expected to be able to explain and defend any submitted assessment item. The course convener can conduct or initiate an additional interview about any submitted assessment item for any student. If there is a significant discrepancy between the two forms of assessment (e.g. if you clearly don’t understand the code that you submitted) it will be automatically treated as a case of suspected academic misconduct.

These rules are not at odds with being resourceful and working collaboratively—you should discuss your work in this course with others taking the class. However, you must never misrepresent the work of others as your own.

If you break any of these rules, it’s very likely you’ll get caught—we’re pretty good at finding this stuff out. The consequences of plagiarism are much worse than a bad mark on an assignment and we (the lecturers and tutors) don’t enjoy being a part of it any more than you do. Please help to make this a course which focuses entirely on the learning process and not on policing academic misconduct issues.


“Own machine” policy

Like most other computer science courses at ANU, this course is designed on the assumption that you will use the ANU laboratory environment (i.e. the software which runs in the CSIT computer labs). This lab environment is supported by ANU technical staff and we do our best to ensure that it works well in every respect. If things aren’t working in the lab, inform your tutor and/or the technical staff, who are located on the ground floor of the CSIT building in N117.

For your convenience, we also try hard to make sure the tools required for this course can be used on your own machine (e.g. your laptop or home desktop). They’re all free, and they run on Windows, macOS and Linux.

However, we can’t guarantee that things will always work on your own machine, and we are not responsible if they don’t work, especially just before a assignment is due (so this is never an acceptable excuse for a late submission).

If you wish to install and use the tools on your own machine, please follow these steps:

  1. use the information provided on these web pages to identify & install the appropriate tools
  2. complete the Lab 1 exercises and bring any questions that arise to the week one drop-in lab session
  3. use Piazza to seek help from others in the class
  4. seek help from your tutor during your scheduled lab
  5. seek help from your lecturer via Piazza or before and after lectures
  6. seek help from the Computer Science Student’s Association (CSSA), who are really keen to help students with things like setting up computers


The huge ecosystem of javascript libraries (and differences between web browsers) makes things tricky when it comes to marking the assessment items for this course. Especially if you develop on your own machine (which we have no control over), there’s always a risk that things which run fine on your own laptop will not work in the ANU software environment.

We could deal with this by forbidding all external libraries (i.e. only allowing you to use p5, but nothing else), but this imposes limits on your creativity, and we don’t want to do that. Instead, you can use whatever libraries/browser features you like, as long as your sketch works in Chrome/Chromium on the lab machines when accessed as part of the COMP1720 showcase.

We’ll give you plenty of training on how to build and test that your software works reliably in the lab environment, but it’s ultimately your responsibility. “But it works on my machine” is never an acceptable excuse—you’ll be marked on the way it works on the lab machines. If there are any disputes, the course convenor’s decision is final.

Code of conduct

During this course you’ll make interactive art. While it’s true that making art sometimes requires pushing boundaries, this is a university course, and the usual rules about not publishing offensive material & respecting your fellow students apply. If you have an idea and you’re not sure if it’s acceptable, talk to your tutor or the course convenor. If you publish offensive material or are disrespectful or abusive towards your fellow students, the usual ANU penalties apply.

Updated:  01 Aug 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Head of School/ Page Contact:  Ben Swift