COSC122-15SU2 (C) Summer Nov 2015 start

Introduction to Computer Science

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 23 November 2015
End Date: Sunday, 14 February 2016
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 4 December 2015
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 22 January 2016


An introduction to Computer Science, including algorithms, computability, complexity and object-oriented programming. Cosc121 is normally required as preparation for Cosc122.

The summer version of COSC122 requires you to be at on site at Canterbury for an initial block course from November 23 to 27, but the remainder of the course may be taken by self-paced distance study. You will have access to online tutoring help, but will need to be able to work independently. This extra course is intended for students who have completed COSC121, and need COSC122 to be able to take Software Engineering First Professional or 200-level Computer Science next year.

This course develops a thorough understanding of basic data structures and algorithms that are commonly used in software development, and introduces students to broad concepts from Computer Science that enable them to develop effective programs. A series of labs and assignments will give students practice applying the ideas that they have learnt in lectures. Along the way, students will gain an understanding of why different data structures and algorithms are needed, the applications that they are suited for, and the advantages and disadvantages of their possible implementations.

Learning Outcomes

  • The goals of the course are:
  • To provide students with a sound foundation in Computer Science.
  • To give students experience with common algorithms and data structures used in Computer Science.



Recommended Preparation

Timetable Note

The week-long block course is scheduled from 9am to 4pm each day (except we will finish at 3pm on Friday). The week will be a mixture of lectures and lab sessions, and there will be a small test at the end of the week from 2 to 3pm on Friday 27 November. This test will only count if it improves your grade.

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Tim Bell


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Test 20% Test at the end of the block course, Friday 27 November, 2pm, 20% (1 hour); this test will count towards your final grade only if it improves your mark.
Assignment 20%
Lab Quizzes 10%
Final Test 50% 12 Feb, 1pm, 2 hours, at Canterbury but special arrangements may be possible for sitting off-site if necessary

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Miller, Bradley N. , Ranum, David L; Problem solving with algorithms and data structures using Python; Franklin, Beedle & Associates, 2006.

This can be bought from the bookshop, and is also available online at no charge at: (register on the site for the course “COSC122”).

Additional Course Outline Information

Academic integrity

Every year several students fail the course because of dishonest practice. Please do not be among them.

You are encouraged to discuss the general aspects of a problem with others. However, anything you submit for credit must be entirely your own work and not copied, with or without modification, from any other person. If you share details of your work with anybody else then you are likely to be in breach of the University's General Course and Examination Regulations and/or Computer Regulations (both of which are set out in the University Calendar) and/or the Computer Science Department's policy. The Department treats cases of dishonesty very seriously and, where appropriate, will not hesitate to notify the University Proctor.

If you need help with specific details relating to your work, or are not sure what you are allowed to do, then contact your tutors or lecturer for advice.

Grade moderation

The Computer Science department's grading policy states that in order to pass a course you must meet two requirements:
1. You must achieve an average grade of at least 50% over all assessment items.
2. You must achieve an average mark of at least 45% on invigilated assessment items.

If you satisfy both these criteria, your grade will be determined by the following University- wide scale for converting marks to grades: an average mark of 50% is sufficient for a C- grade, an average mark of 55% earns a C grade, 60% earns a B- grade and so forth. However if you do not satisfy both the passing criteria you will be given either a D or E grade depending on marks. Marks are sometimes scaled to achieve consistency between courses from year to year.

If factors beyond your control (such as illness or family bereavement) prevent you from completing some item of course work (including laboratory sessions), or prevent you from giving your best, then you may be eligible for aegrotat, impaired performance consideration or an extension on the assessment. Details of these may be found in the University Calendar. Supporting evidence, such as a medical certificate, is normally required. If in doubt, talk to your lecturer.

Lecture Schedule

The topics covered in lectures will be as follows. The main references are for the current edition of the text book (2nd edition and online). Where a reference is given in square brackets, it is for the first edition.
• Introduction to algorithms, and the relationship with Software Engineering
• Algorithm analysis (Chapter 2 [4])
• Basic data structures – stacks and queues (Chapter 3 [2])
• Lists (Chapter 3 [7])
• Recursion (Chapter 4 [3])
• Searching (Chapter 5 [4])
• Sorting (Chapter 5 [4])
• Trees – binary trees and heaps (Chapter 6 [5])
• Graphs (Chapter 7 [6])
• Overview of major ideas in Computer Science


The course assumes that you are proficient in Python, as taught in COSC121. It is possible to take COSC121 and COSC122 concurrently, but if you don’t have significant computing experience (especially programming) then this is not advised.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $778.00

International fee $3,450.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Computer Science and Software Engineering.

All COSC122 Occurrences