• Congratulations :)

    Posted by Hayden Smith 🎉 Saturday 22 May 2021, 11:23:48 AM.

    Hi team!

    Great job on finishing COMP1531 for T1! I want to first congratulate our top 5 achieving students. In order, they are: Miloris Xu, Lachlan Scott, Kyle Phabmixay, Carl Buchanan, Nikki Fang. Congratulations!!

    For those who have emailed me in the last 24 hours, I will get back to you in the next day or two. If I don't get back to you by Sunday night then I have accidentally lost an email. But I will get back to you :) There are just a few things I have to do in order to get back to you.

    Thanks so much for the positive and less-positive feedback that people shared. Some of you really put a huge smile on your tutors' face when they read it. And for the improvement feedback, it's really good to understand you all and how you felt about the course.

    I wanted to take a moment to share some information on things that we are going to be taking onboard (because I want you to know we're both listening and always trying to improve), and then I just want to address some feedback that is maybe more complicated to address, and just give some background on it.

    One thing I wanted to address first is a piece of feedback "Learning python in this course is too much work" . Now I firstly want to say that I generally agree with you and have made that clear. In fact, the people who lead education in CSE also agree with me, and we've both agreed that the school would benefit from another course that actually teaches something like Python + a lot more. I wish we didn't teach python in COMP1531, however, even if it feels a little burdensome, without an extra course, COMP1531 is the most efficient place to teach it. We also work around this by making things like the project & labs much less hard than they would be in a course where we assume you know Python. So is it ideal? Maybe not. Is it manageable? Absolutely. And we'll be going forward for the short term future focusing not on "cutting things out", but rather by asking the question "How can we help you more?". Some of the points below address this - because the tutors & I have a huge interest in making things easier for you, without removing what is really quite a lot of core content we wouldn't want to skip over!

    Some of the things below are direct quotes, others are paraphrased.

    1. Improvements for the future

    • "Better individual assessment, less dependence on group" - Yes, agreed. We were actually talking about this last week. The tentative solution (which one student coincidentally suggested) is to do individual/scale marks in each iteration. This manages expectations earlier, it can provide comfort sooner, and it might actually motivate poorer group members to kick into gear earlier on. Any further ideas just share
    • "More content on slides" - Yes, agreed. All of my focus for 21T1 was improving labs + project. I thought the slides were "okay enough" and kicked that down the road. Lecture enhancements are my main goal for 21T3. I like the structure, I like the content, I just think it could be denser in some slides for the handful of students who would like it.
    • "Less emphasis on labs, particularly later in the course. More time in lab for help." - Yes, agreed. We've already tentatively committed to cutting the worth of labs down a lot - e.g. by half. This will allow us to either have you do half the lab work every week, or to reduce the expectations in latter weeks. This was the most common feedback and we've wanted to fix this since about week 4 (but you can't make major changes to a course mid-way). So we're on the same page
    • "Emphasise to more capable students that they can't just bulldoze others" - Yes, I think we can make sure this is etter communicated.
    • "Make python 3.8" - Sure :)
    • "Have labs due a week after each tutorial." - I can probably extend them to an hour~ before the first tutorial, but to push it back later puts pressure on students wanting early feedback and would also mean first feedback wouldn't come until week 3 :(
    • "Project check-ins could be more driven by tutor" - Probably! There is definitely some structure that we can add here.
    • "Questionnaire for students at the start to form groups" - Yeah, I love this idea. Usually I just ask "What grade do you want to get" (a slightly helpful question, though not super useful , 80% of students say HD, but it helps distinguish a bit). If anyone has any good question suggestions let me know.
    • "More links to learning python" - Yes! Definitely. Some students ask that we teach them more python... but this isn't COMP1511 anymore, for the rest of your degree, and your life, courses will mostly expect you to self-learn languages with the course teaching some basics (and sometimes they won't even do that). But that's just saying we aren't expecting ourselves to spend lecture time on it. We do want to provide more resources so that when you want to keep learning you feel like you have somewhere to go!
    • "Make sure everything in the tute/lab is relevant" - I mean, I think it is, but we'll do a standard end-of-term sweep to review.
    • "Review the participation marking structure" - Similar thing, we always look at this and review it :)
    • "Dryruns for automarking" - Two people suggested this. Good news! This was one of the key things on the agenda for next term. We want to provide a very BASIC test to students that will help them make sure they dont get 0 for automarking.
    • "Raise the project mark, it's a lot of work" - I want to, but the average project mark is nearly an HD. AVERAGE. That's insanely high. We can't increase it too much more than it is until we stop marking so generously for the project. And I know to some of you you might scoff at that idea - but trust me - the project in the grand scheme of things is marked extremely generously. Even our automarking scripts were not that thorough and internally scaled marks. Once we get our project marking more fair in futuree, I definitely want to raise that mark.

    2. Improvement comments that I can provide information on

    • "If we complete challenge labs, can we get bonus marks" - Yes, that's exactly what happened! It's just that the bonus marks flowed into other labs and to tutorials (overall class mark).To have bonus marks flow into other assessment would kind of undermine some integrity in education, as it would imply you can meet certain learning outcomes more by doing unrelated work.
    • "There is way too much content to cover in a short span of time." - See comments in section 1!
    • "Automarking was punishing for a few minor typos" - If you had any severe penalty more than 2-3% of the iteration for a few minor typos, then PLEASE email me as that shouldn't have happened. We were extremely forgiving for minor typos.
    • "It's pretty easy to get destroyed by automarking just for not naming a key the right thing." - Same as above, if you were getting "destroyed" by the wrong name on a key, you need to email me ASAP because that sounds like a tutor made a mistake.
    • "CSE Servers suck" - Yes, they certainly can! I wish I had more control. I am sorry about the pain.
    • "Do not let a group of two attempt to complete an assessment intended for five people." - If you were a group of 2, something went very wrong, and you can email me.
    • "Personally, I'd rather tuts to be on blackboard collaborate so I can re–watch the tut" - Zoom can record fine, its not a tooling thing. We just don't record tutorials because we want to encourage participation and recording puts pressure on some people. I know it's a pain, and I'm sorry.
    • "I don't like that all the girls were put together" . So, this wasn't the plan at all. Sounds like a miss communication at the teaching staff level. Certainly not course policy at all - and I'm sorry if that gave you grief. I'll take responsibility for it though. If you want to chat more about it just email me anytime (always happy to learn & be led on this).
    • "It would have been good if we were given guidelines on what tute–lab 'participation' entailed," - It's in the course outline
    • "PLEASE TEACH CLASS DATA TYPE PROPERLY" - Yeah... I get you. Though the coures doesn't have much space, and I'd get yelled at by students if we added more. Classes are nice, SQL is nice, MyPy is nice, and all of these things require time to teach that will make the major project more elegant and interesting to work with. But they are also fundamentally NOT critical to achieving the learning outcomes of the course. And we just have to draw a line somewhere. That being said, we will clean up some of those lab questions that "expect" you to understand even the basics of python.
    • "The marking was very unclear for assignment milestones and we never really got feedback on how to improve our marks" - I am sorry to hear that. That isn't what should have happened.
    • "Late submission penalties would be alright" - Hear me out here. We cannot make assignments due later than they are. The only thing I can is make them due a few days EARLIER and then had a late penalty toward the current due date. So you would have no more time to complete it, but penalties would arrive sooner. So rather than make things due on Friday and taper late penalties to Monday (the latest submission we can accept), I actually just make it due on Monday without late penalty. So ironically I'm actually going a step FURTHER. Naturally though, I understand basic psychology and that reactions like this are expected, but I hope this clarifies things :)

    3. Things I want to learn more about

    I''m not really sure what you're referring to here, so please feel free to email me to explain :)

    • "Development was repetitive in iteration 2"
    • "Communication was a bit confusing and overall structure could be more cohesive."
    • "Some of the lectures seemed a bit rambly, which at times is nice like teamwork tuesdays, but other times felt a little bit messy"
    • "More centralisation of course communication and materials"

    Overall it was such a pleasure to have you all this term. I really can't describe the excitement and fun that I experience watching you all go from programmers to the beginning of software engineers - and seeing all the skills that people collect along the way.

    Go find me and add me on LinkedIn so we can stay in touch :) Genuinely, I always miss each cohort of this course - and all of you will be no exception!

    I'll see you all around.


  • Release of Marks

    Posted by Hayden Smith 🎉 Friday 30 April 2021, 02:49:14 PM.

    Hi everyone!

    Today we have released a number of marks, including your overall class mark, your final participation mark, your iteration 3 marks, and your overall project mark.

    These are in your grades section :

    • class_mark (/20) : The sum of all of your lab marks + participation mark, capped at 20
    • project (/100) : This is all your iteration marks (including your bonus marks) capped at 100
    • iteration3_bonus (/10) : The amount of bonus marks you received for iteration 3 (as part of the bonus section)
    • iteration3_manual (/50) : The non-automarking and non-bonus component of your iteration 3 work
    • iteration3 (/100) : The sum of your iteration 3 manual + automarking. NOTE: This does NOT include your bonus marks. We only added bonus marks to the overall project mark (it makes the maths easier)

    If there has been a mistake with your lab marks , please email your lab assistant.

    If there has been a mistake with your iteration3, project, or participation marks , please email your tutor.

    Other things:

    • For solutions to the practice exam questions (the short answer only), they will be posted on a "solution" branch by 4pm today (Friday 30th April).
    • Some groups marks aren't finalised (about 5%). In these cases your tutor will have already emailed you confirming that your marks are not yet final.
    • If you're one of a few groups that are still waiting on me RE: an automarking rerun, then I will get back to you tonight/tomorrow. Don't worry about it being too late or anything like that.

  • 🐡 Mid-week 10 Update - Iter3 Automarks

    Posted by Hayden Smith 🎉 Wednesday 21 April 2021, 11:53:44 PM.

    Hi everyone!

    Some updates for you mid-week 10 :) Short story is that people overall did really well in iteration 3 automarking.


    33% of people have completed MyExperience for COMP1531 already! That's amazing - you've done better than any cohort I've ever taught. But there are still two thirds of people who haven't filled it out. Please fill it out sometime in this next week! :)

    Peer Review

    Please complete your final peer review on Moodle now. Once you log into Moodle and go to COMP1531, click on End-of term Peer Review (COMPULSORY). This must be completed by Monday 26th of April at 12pm. Failure to complete the peer review may result in penalties to your marks.

    It should only take ~5 minutes :)

    Iteration 3 Automarking - Released

    Iteration 3 automarking is complete, and we've released the marks! YOU CAN FIND MORE INFORMATION HERE .

    Please note that for fixes to improve your iteration 3 automark, we will generally be less lenient, and fixes are to be sent to instead of your tutor (more instructions in the link above).

    Overall the marks were genuinely quite impressive - a tonne of groups improved between iteration 2 and iteration 3 and I think many of you should be absolutely proud of yourselves. Great work.

    Iteration 3 Manual Marking

    Your tutors are obviously marking iteration 3 right now, and will need a week to consolidate marks. You will get an update at the end of week 11 (another notice) with info about the iteration 3 manual marks as well as your final and overall project mark.

    Exam Information

    Exam information can be found on this page , and more discussion on the exam can be found in lecture 10.3.

    Lab10 - Due Sunday

    Please note that Lab10 is due on SUNDAY 5PM THIS WEEK . This is earlier than the usual time. UNSW does not like things being due in week 11. In fact, technically I shouldn't be allowed to make it due after this Friday. However, I'm sure most of you would appreciate the extra two days. But just be cautious that it's due on Sunday @ 5pm .

Upcoming Due Dates

There is nothing due!

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