Policies

Communication

In this course, you’ll receive information through two channels: your student email account (i.e. uXXXXXXX@anu.edu.au), and Piazza. You are expected to check them regularly—“I didn’t see the email/Piazza message” is not a valid excuse.

This course uses Piazza for forum-style discussions. 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 you 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

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).

Every lab has various “exercises” which you should do on your machine and push up to GitLab. These lab submissions don’t contribute to your final grade, however you are expected to push your work to GitLab so that the tutors can see your progress and give you feedback. If you don’t engage with the lab material by submitting the lab exercises, then you seriously weaken your case if you want last-minute help with assignments, etc.

Assessment

In COMP2300 you will be assessed on six occasions:

  1. a hurdle lab assessment task in week 4 (1 mark)
  2. 3 assignments due in weeks 6, 8, 12 (12 marks each)
  3. a mid-semester exam in week 6 (13 marks)
  4. a final exam (50 marks)

Assignments (12 marks each) due in weeks 6, 8 and 11

The assignments in this course all build on one another—over the course of these assignments you’ll turn your discoboard into a simple musical instrument (how exciting!). The “skeleton” files for the assignments will be released on the assigments page and you will submit them through GitLab. You can find the late/extension policies further down this page.

The assignments are the heart of this course, and should be fun! Make sure you start looking at and working on the assignments early. By completing these assignments you’ll be able to demonstrate your understanding of how programs are organised and executed on your discoboard.

Your assignment submission 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).

Week 4 lab exam (hurdle, 1 mark)

In your week 4 lab session there will be a hurdle assessment task. This will take the form of a short, q&a-style discussion with your tutor (an oral exam). You will be asked to explain and perform a few basic tasks to do with reading, writing and debugging a simple program running on your discoboard.

Since this is a hurdle exam, you must pass this assessment task to pass the course. This is not meant to be too scary—the assessment task will not be difficult. The purpose of this hurdle assessment item is to give you a chance to show that you’ve got the basic skills needed to complete the course. However, it is meant to be a bit scary—if you don’t have the skills to pass this assessment item, then you’ll really struggle to pass the course, and by having this “check” early on in the course you can avoid some pain if you’re not keeping up (for whatever reason).

Mid-semester exam (13 marks)

The mid-semester exam will be a written exam and will happen in week 6 (the final week of term 1).

For more info, see the mid-semester exam page.

Final exam (50 marks)

The final exam will be a written exam and will happen in the exam period. The final exam has a hurdle at 40% (20/50).

Final marks and grades

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

  1. score at least 50 overall
  2. pass the week 4 hurdle lab exam
  3. score at least 40% (20/50) on the final exam

Your final mark will be the total of your marks on the individual assessment items with the additional caveat that your mark may be scaled by the examiners’ conference to provide your overall course mark and grade.

If your final mark is less than 50 but greater than or equal to 45 then you will receive a PX grade and be eligible for supplementary assessment to try and pass the course.

If you fail one of the hurdles and if you get a final mark of 45 or greater then you will receive a PX grade and be eligible for supplementary assessment to try and pass the course.

If your final grade is less than 45 you will fail this course with a grade of N.

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.

Feedback

Marks and feedback for all assignments will be released through GitLab. Marks for the 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 five minutes 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 few minutes 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.

Extensions

Postponing assessment deadlines is possible with good reasons & appropriate documentation (e.g. a medical certificate). For example, if you feel sick on the day of an exam, 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 Ben 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.

Appeals

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

If you’re unhappy with your mark for any assessment item, then here’s the relevant ANU Policy (see section 61):

The University recognises the right of students to seek a review of, and to appeal against, a result for an assessment task within a course, or their final result in a course. Appeals against a result for an individual assessment task are considered as a component of the final grade, after the final grade is released. Appeals against assessment outcomes are conducted according to the Assessment Rules.

What this means is that you can lodge an appeal against your grade for an assessment item, which will be considered after the final course marks are released.

This is not simply an opportunity to ask for a better mark if you’re not happy—it’s a formal request (which requires supporting evidence) which will be considered at the end of semester. This may involve getting a new, independent opinion on your submitted assessment item (i.e. a re-mark). The outcome of any appeal may be that you get a higher mark, or it may be that you get the same mark, or it may be that you get a lower mark (if the independent re-mark assigns a lower grade than you received before).

As with any ANU course, you are able to apply for special assessment consideration.

One final thing—the marks for assignment 3 and the final exam are generally released too late for this process to happen before final marks/grades are released. Don’t panic—you can still get in touch with the convenor (i.e. Ben) as usual, and changes to marks/grades can be made after the fact if necessary, although (as usual) only if there’s been significant errors in the marking process. Thanks for your patience.

Supplementary assessment

If you receive a PX grade you are eligible for supplementary assessment. The assessment item may be an assignment, a written exam, an in-lab test, or an oral exam. If you pass this supplementary assessment item you will receive a PS grade and a mark of 50. If you fail, you will receive a grade of N and a mark of 44.

Supplementary assessment will happen early in Semester 2—we’ll be in touch via email to let you know the details.

Academic integrity

At the ANU we take academic integrity seriously. There are several different aspects to academic integrity, and several different types of academic misconduct. In COMP2300/6300 all the ANU academic integrity rules apply.

  • 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.

For more information, I’ve included a section on academic misconduct-related stuff in the FAQ.

Software: the “own machine” policy

Like most other computer science courses at ANU, this course is designed on the assumption that you will use the ANU lab 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 everything works nicely and reliably. If things aren’t working in the lab, inform your tutor and/or the technical staff (located on the ground floor of the CSIT building in N117).

For your convenience, we also try hard to make sure the software required for this course can be used on your own machine (e.g. your laptop or home desktop). All the software is free (as in speech and free as in beer) and runs on Windows, macOS and Linux.

However, we can’t guarantee that things will always work on your own machine. If you choose to work 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 (which is where all your work will be assessed). So, if you choose to run the course software on your machine, then making sure it works is your responsibility.

All assessment submissions will be marked from a fresh clone of your GitLab submission repo on the lab machines. We’ll give you plenty of training on how to build and test that your software works reliably, but it’s ultimately your responsibility to make sure it works in that environment. “But it works on my machine” is never an acceptable excuse—if it’s broken on the lab machines, we’ll mark it as broken (and you’ll get something close to zero). We also can’t spend time debugging your submission—if it’s broken, or if it doesn’t do what it says, then you’ll be marked accordingly (no after-the fact “if you just change this one line it works fine” excuses will be accepted). If there are any disputes, the course convenor’s decision is final.

If you wish to install and use the tools on your own machine, here’s the process:

  1. re-read the own machine policy and make sure you’re willing to accept the risks

  2. follow the insructions to identify & install the appropriate tools

  3. complete all the lab 1 exercises (if you can’t do this, then you’re definitely going to have trouble later in the course)

  4. if you get stuck, seek help early:

    • use Piazza to seek help from others in the class
    • seek help from your tutor during your scheduled lab time (although the tutors can’t spend the whole lab helping you debug your software issues—they’ve got other students to look after as well)
    • seek help from the Computer Science Student’s Association (CSSA), who are really keen to help students with things like setting up computers

Updated:  19 Jun 2018/ Responsible Officer:  Head of School/ Page Contact:  Ben Swift/ Licence:  CC BY-NC-SA 4.0