🎉🎉 Welcome to COMP1531 for 23T2 🎉🎉

COMP1531 is the first stop on a very long voyage to becoming the best software engineer you can be. We will have a great term together. COMP1531 has a teaching team of over 30 passionate and experienced teaching staff - nearly all of whom have been in your shoes within the last few years. We're all excited to meet you!

Throughout the term, you'll all be working not only with your tutor(s), but also with our course admins and lecturers.

Yuchao Jiang
Hayden Smith Rani Jiang 🤯 Tam Nguyen 🥲 Giuliana De Bellis 🐰
Lecturer in Charge
Lecturer Course Admin Course Admin Course Admin

This page offers an outline of this course. Take the time to read it, as it covers everything that we expect from you from this term and everything you should exect from us!

- COMP1531 teaching team


  • 1. Course Details
  • 2. Course Summary
  • 3. Teaching Strategies
  • 4. Assessment
  • 5. Schedule / Timetable
  • 6. Student Conduct
  • 7. Resources for Students
  • 8. Course Evaluation and Development

1. Course Details

Course Code COMP1531
Course Title Software Engineering Fundamentals
Convenor Yuchao
Lecturer(s) Yuchao and Hayden
Admin(s) Hayden , Rani , Giuliana , Tam
Units of Credit 6
Course Website https://webcms3.cse.unsw.edu.au/COMP1531/23T2 (this website!)
Handbook Entry http://www.handbook.unsw.edu.au/undergraduate/courses/current/COMP1531.html
Issues email cs1531@cse.unsw.edu.au

2. Course Summary

This course teaches students about software engineering principles via exposure to the important practice of building correct products in effectively functioning teams.

You will be exposed to agile software practices, team collaboration and effective communication through implementing a group project based on agile software methodologies that require you to analyse, design, build and deploy a web-based application. This course is typically taken soon after completing COMP1511 but could be delayed and taken later. It provides essential background for the teamwork and project management required in many later courses.

2.1. Assumed Knowledge

We assume all students have completed COMP1511 (or equivalent).

Students should be familiar with the basic concepts of programming, including loops, functions, libraries of code, compiling, and writing code to follow specifications.

2.2. Student Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate effective use of software development tools to build full-stack end-user applications
  2. Demonstrate effective use of static testing, dynamic testing, and user testing to validate and verify software systems
  3. Understand key characteristics of a functioning team in terms of understanding professional expectations, maintaining healthy relationships, and managing conflict.
  4. Demonstrate an ability to analyse complex software systems in terms of their data model, state model, and more.
  5. Understand the software engineering life cycle in the context of modern and iterative software development practices in order to elicit requirements, design systems thoughtfully, and implement software correctly.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of how to use version control, continuous integration, and deployment tooling to sustainably integrate code from multiple parties

3. Teaching Strategies

This course uses the standard set of practice-focused teaching strategies employed by most CSE foundational courses:

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Laboratories
  • Help Sessions
  • Major Group Project

This course aims to provide the students with a strong foundation in the fundamental principles and practices of software engineering that will prepare them for the advanced software engineering workshops. As such, a broad range of key software engineering topics will be taught and reinforced through a group project, that will enable students to apply the theoretical concepts acquired to solve a practical software engineering problem. An agile software delivery style has been chosen for the implementation of the group project, to make students familiar with modern agile development methodologies.

3.1. Lectures

Lectures will be used to present the theory and practice of the techniques in this course. Although the lectures will primarily focus on the key concepts of software engineering, some lectures will also include practical demonstrations of various key technologies required for the implementation of the group project. Lecture slides will be available on the course web page.

3.2 Tutorials

Tutorials help clarify ideas from lectures and work through exercises based on the lecture material. You should make sure that you use them effectively by examining in advance the material to be covered in each week's tutorial, by asking questions, by offering suggestions and by generally participating.

Tutorials will often involve collaborative and break-out work where you will work with a group of other students to solve or answer problems. This will often be done in your major project group.

Tutorial information on its release can be found by going to the tutorial page . Tutorial solutions will be released at the end of the week the tutorial is in.

Tutorial participation and engagement contributes to your project mark.

Tutorials that are online will be run via Microsoft Teams (MS Teams/Teams). Teams is chosen in preference to Blackboard Collaborate due to the relatively higher degree of reliability Teams provides, the ability to remote control if necessary, and the fact that the features of of Blackboard Collaborate that are useful in other courses (e.g. COMP1511) are not needed in the structure of how COMP1531 is operated.

3.3. Laboratories

Each week your 2-hour lab will consist of two components:

  1. Project check-ins : A 20-minute scheduled project check-in (sometime during the 2-hour period) that your tutor will run with your project group. This is a chance for your group and your tutor to sync up about your progress and either work through problems together or present to them your latest milestone for marking.
  2. General help : Whilst your tutor is doing project check-ins, your lab assist will be available to help you, your group, and any other students in the tutorial. You can use this time to get help with lab questions (past or present), and you can seek feedback on your work.

3.4. Help Sessions

Help sessions are unprepared drop-in "clinics" where students and groups can go to seek help about course-related matters, whether that be the project, tutorials, or labs. Current tutors or lab assistants will supervise each help session.

Help sessions will be run via Teams.

The timetable for help sessions can be found here .

3.5. Major Project

There will be one main project which will run through the teaching period from weeks 1-11 and contributes to 6 0 % of the overall course mark.

The course staff will form groups of 4-5 students in your allocated tutorials at the beginning of the course. You will be notified of what group you're in during your week 1 tutorial & lab. A short survey will be sent no later than week 0 that will allow you to make preferences of who is in your group. These groups will and must be within your own tutorial group.

The project will be implemented using an agile software delivery mode. As such, your team will be required to build and deliver the project in milestones. Each milestone will deliver a part of the requirements of the project and will encompass all the SDLC activities, namely analysis, design, coding and testing. Changes to project requirements are a natural and unavoidable part of any software project life-cycle. Hence, students will need to bear in mind that project requirements may be subject to change and enhancements to functionalities may be made at the end of each milestone. You will need to carefully design the solution for your current milestone, such that the solution is extensible to accommodate these changes.

After certain milestones, your group will present your work in the next lab project check-in that occurs. This is outlined in the major project specification. To receive a mark for that milestone, each team member must be present for the demonstration during the relevant lab time. If working online, this also includes participating with working audio and with their camera on. Having no audio or video will result in a loss of marks. If you are unable to attend, you must apply for special consideration and have your application accepted.

Tutors will continually monitor the GitLab repositories to see the team's progress and individual members' contributions to the group project.

4. Assessment

Item Due Weighting
Labs Weeks 2,3,4,5,9 10%
Major Group Project Deliverables due Friday of weeks 2, 4, 7, 10
60% (individually marked)
Take-Home Exam (individual project)
Friday of week11 30%

4.1. Labs (10%)

There are 5 assessable labs to submit throughout the course. Each lab consists of 2-3 questions. Each question is worth 1 mark. There are 12 marks attainable across the labs, but you only need to score 10 out of 12 to achieve the full 10% for the lab marking component. This means you can skip a couple of lab questions throughout the term. Choose wisely!

Each question is completely automarked. After the automarking is complete you will be able to view your marks.

Lab01 will be marked for you, but those marks won't count toward your final grade. Think of it like a practice lab.

Labs have no late penalty because late submissions are not accepted . The reason for this is that we make the lab due date as late as possible in order to get your labs marked and solutions released. If we wanted to have late penalties, we'd have to make the labs due earlier to create the space. So we're trying to be generous, but this means you need to be wary of the deadline!

4.2. Major Project (60%)

The marking criteria for your major project will be specified in the major project specification which can be (once released) found here . In general, a component of the major project mark is based on the group project, and another on individual contributions.

It should be noted that whilst the majority of your mark will come from what is submitted into the deliverables, part of your mark will also be derived from both your individual and your group's participation in tutorials (which includes attending, actively participating, and having a webcam on for online classes). Tutors will begin to take note of this from week 2 onward.

4.3. Take-home Exam (individual project) (30%)

More details about the individual project will be released in week11.

5. Course Schedule / Timetable

The schedule for this course is outlined clearly in the timetable for lectures , tutorials/labs , and help sessions .

Week Topic Content
0 🍓 Other Course Structure
1 🍓 Other Course Overview
🧑 Coding together Git - Solo Usage
🧑 Coding together Git - Team Usage
🛠️ Development Javascript
2 🌏 Projects Package Management
🛠️ Development Mutli-file & Importing
✅ Correctness Dynamic Verification
🧑 Coding together Working as a team
3 📚 Full-stack Data Interchange
🌏 Projects Continuous Integration
✅ Correctness Static Verification
✅ Correctness Linting
4 🛠️ Development Advanced Functions
📚 Full-stack HTTP Servers
5 📚 Full-stack Persistence
🍓 Other Iteration 2
✅ Correctness
🎨 Design Designing for Maintainability
7 ✅ Correctness Code Coverage
🎨 Design Conceptual Modelling
🌏 Projects Deployment
8 🍓 Other Iteration 3
🔎 Requirements Introduction
🔎 Requirements Use Cases, User Stories
🔎 Requirements Validation
9 📚 Full-stack Auth
🎨 Design Software Complexity
🧑 Coding together Git - Undo
10 🍓 Other Individual Project Iteration
📚 Full-stack (Bonus) Web Front-end
📚 Full-stack (Bonus) Building an MVP

6. Student Conduct

The Student Code of Conduct ( Information , Policy ) sets out what the University expects from students as members of the UNSW community. As well as the learning, teaching and research environment, the University aims to provide an environment that enables students to achieve their full potential and to provide an experience consistent with the University's values and guiding principles. A condition of enrolment is that students inform themselves of the University's rules and policies affecting them, and conduct themselves accordingly.

In particular, students have the responsibility to observe standards of equity and respect in dealing with every member of the University community. This applies to all activities on UNSW premises and all external activities related to study and research. This includes behaviour in person as well as behaviour on social media, for example, Facebook groups set up for the purpose of discussing UNSW courses or coursework. Behaviour that is considered in breach of the Student Code Policy as discriminatory, sexually inappropriate, bullying, harassing, invading another's privacy or causing any person to fear for their personal safety is serious misconduct and can lead to severe penalties, including suspension or exclusion from UNSW.

If you have any concerns, you may raise them with your lecturer, or approach the School Ethics Officer , Grievance Officer , or one of the student representatives.

Plagiarism is defined as using the words or ideas of others and presenting them as your own. UNSW and CSE treat plagiarism as academic misconduct, which means that it carries penalties as severe as being excluded from further study at UNSW. There are several online sources to help you understand what plagiarism is and how it is dealt with at UNSW:

Make sure that you read and understand these. Ignorance is not accepted as an excuse for plagiarism. In particular, you are also responsible that your assignment files are not accessible by anyone but you by setting the correct permissions in your CSE directory and code repository, if using. Note also that plagiarism includes paying or asking another person to do a piece of work for you and then submitting it as your own work.

UNSW has an ongoing commitment to fostering a culture of learning informed by academic integrity. All UNSW staff and students have a responsibility to adhere to this principle of academic integrity. Plagiarism undermines academic integrity and is not tolerated at UNSW. Plagiarism at UNSW is defined as using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own.

[What follows is courtesy of Stuart Prescott in Chem Eng ...]

Artificial intelligence tools such as ChatGPT, CodePilot, CoPilot, and built-in functions within Word are modern tools that are useful in some circumstances, but reliance on them is not a path to success at university or in your later career. Reaching for a calculator to add up 1+1 is possible but not professionally sustainable for an engineer or scientist (or one might say in our educated society at all!), and that is why you learnt to do that yourself at primary school. Likewise, in your degree at UNSW, we're teaching you skills that are needed for your professional life, which is a combination of some things that AI could feasibly do for you and lots of things that the AI tools cannot do for you — if we were only teaching you things that AI could do, your degree would be worthless and you wouldn't have a job in 5 years. You can therefore see that from an academic standards perspective, the output from an AI tool will be below the minimum standards expected for a course, even if you were to submit it (which you should not!). Your ability to complete later assessments where AI cannot help you will also be compromised if you've relied upon AI earlier.

It is also worth remembering what these AI tools such as ChatGPT are: they are only statistical models about how groups of words frequently appear. These AI based tools are not smart, they don't know anything other than how words are often grouped, and they most certainly do not understand any of the content from any of your courses. Some consequences of their word-statistics and non-scientific basis are:

  • They generate confident-sounding text that is completely wrong from a technical point of view.
  • The text mangles jargon very badly.
  • The output gets causality backwards and so often argues completely the wrong thing.
  • The output will include unit conversions but it will often get them wrong.
  • The generated text is often very generic, bland, lacking on detail, and not actually very helpful.
  • The output is often just a collection of loosely related factual-sounding sentences that don't answer the question that was actually asked.

In summary, the AI tools generate text output that is superficially reasonable, very confident sounding, and very often wrong. We are setting an expectation that our graduates should out-perform AI, meaning that it is a tool of limited academic use in your degree.

[Thanks Stuart]

If you haven't done so yet, please take the time to read the full text of

The pages below describe the policies and procedures in more detail:

You should also read the following page which describes your rights and responsibilities in the CSE context:

At any time in this course, when you push code to GitLab from your own machine (locally or on a CSE account), you are acknowledging that this code you push is your own work, except where permitted by the originality rules for this course and this assessment. You acknowledge that this pushed code has not been submitted for academic credit elsewhere, and you acknowledge that you have read and understood the University Rules in respect of Student Academic Misconduct.

7. Resources for Students

There is no single textbook that covers all of the material in this course at the right level of detail and using the same technology base as we are. The lectures should provide sufficient detail to introduce topics, and you will then study them in further depth in the tutorials, labs and group projects. For some lectures, further reading material may be given to students who wish to gain a deeper understanding.

8. Course Evaluation and Development

This course is evaluated each session using the MyExperience system.

The following are being addressed in 23T2.

  • Providing a brand new major project for students that addresses a number of shortfalls of the previous project

Resource created Wednesday 26 April 2023, 01:47:32 PM, last modified Monday 17 July 2023, 10:26:31 AM.

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