• Your Feedback

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Thursday 28 May 2020, 12:02:34 PM.

    Dear COMP9020 Student,

    Thank you again for the very high response rate on MyExperience and also the overwhelmingly positive feedback. A quick summary of the main sentiment: Many of you have pointed out positive aspects of online studying, most notably that it allows you to study at your own pace and there is no need to commute to uni. On the other hand, "none" was one of the more common answers to the question about the best elements of studying online, and many of you missed the interaction with me and your classmates.

    In terms of improvement, some of you would have preferred me to go at a slower pace and about the same number of students expressed a preference for the opposite. This will be hard to reconcile. On the other hand there was a comment on the problem sets that made me think of splitting them into two separate components in the future: Exercises that will not be assessed, which can be freely discussed and any doubts clarified on the course forum; and the exercises that will be assessed through the quiz. I will try out this model in my next course.

    Finally, I was asked whether it would be possible to reveal the topics of the multiple choice questions from the final exam. That's fair enough; the topics were:

    1. From week 1
    2. Properties of functions: 1-1 and onto
    3. Functions
    4. Graphs
    5. Induction, recursion, big-Oh
    6. Counting and probability

  • Final Result

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Friday 22 May 2020, 09:58:39 AM.

    Your result in the exam is now available on WebCMS3.

    • Exam: Your mark for the exam.
    • Midterm_Asst1: Your (adjusted) mark for the midterm test.
    • Quiz: Your (adjusted) mark for the weekly quizzes.

    To pass the course, your exam mark must be ≥25 and the sum of the marks for the individual assessment components must be ≥50.

    You can obtain detailed feedback on your marks for the final exam on WebCMS3 by clicking on the little arrow indicated below:

    Since the Moodle exam was derived directly from the original written exam, unfortunately I cannot reopen the Moodle quiz for review since variations of these questions may be reused in another form in future exams. But if you did not pass the course and have further questions about your marks then you can email me personally.

    The winners of the COMP9020 20T1 Prize Competition are:

    1. Jiahao Ding
    2. Jeehyun Lim
    3. Yan Lin

    Congratulations! The three of you and the winner of the Fun Quiz in the last online lecture, Simon Sillitoe, can claim your prize at any time by emailing me as soon as you get a chance to come back to our campus.

  • Exam extended by 10 minutes

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Monday 04 May 2020, 02:57:13 PM.

    As you would have noticed, we have extended the exam time by 10 minutes for everyone to account for the initial slowness/inaccessibility of the platform.

  • Moodle Outage

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Monday 04 May 2020, 02:29:14 PM.

    We are continuously monitoring the online platform and are aware that Moodle was inaccessible then very slow at the beginning.

    It is running normal now, please continue. After the exam we will take the downtime into account and scale up marks accordingly.

  • Reminder: Final exam at 2pm

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Monday 04 May 2020, 01:14:04 PM.

    A last reminder that the final online exam will begin in less than 1 hour.

    Best of luck everyone,

  • Reminder: Final exam, myExperience

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Thursday 30 April 2020, 02:53:18 PM.

    When you log in to the Moodle page for our course ( ) the link to the final exam on Monday should now be visible. The exam will open at 2:00pm for 2 hours and 15 minutes and has a time limit of 2 hours and 10 minutes.

    Please note also that today is your last chance to comment anonymously on anything related to COMP9020 by completing the myExperience survey. Any feedback will be appreciated. I am very pleased to see the current response rate of 67.5%, and I still have hopes to reach the threshold of 75% of all enrolled students giving feedback, by which every one of you would have helped our COMP9020 to stand out against every other course.

  • Tomorrow's due date and tutorial

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Monday 27 April 2020, 04:37:33 PM.

    A gentle reminder that the last quiz (Week 10) is due tomorrow (Tuesday) at 10am.

    Also tomorrow will be the last online tutorial, from 11am-12noon. Follow the link to the session by logging in to Moodle as usual.

  • Course review tomorrow at 2pm

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Thursday 23 April 2020, 03:30:52 PM.

    Just a reminder about tomorrow's additional course review live on Blackboard Collaborate. You can find a link to the session when you log in to Moodle: (look for "Review Lecture Friday, 24 April").

    As part of the exam preview I'm planning on running a live online fun quiz with some multiple choice questions. The easiest way to participate will be for you to use your mobile phone (to select your answer) alongside your monitor (where I will display the questions).

    Note that the session will also be recorded and made available on Echo360, for everyone who cannot attend the live session. The quiz is purely for fun, anonymous and won't be part of the assessment. But do take note of the exclusive prize for the winner:

  • Final Online Exam on Monday, May 4, at 2pm - 4:15pm

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Monday 20 April 2020, 11:30:09 AM.

    The final online exam in the form of a Moodle quiz has now been scheduled for Monday, May 4th, at 2pm AET (= Sydney time).

    Just like with the midterm quiz, you should start the exam within the first 5 minutes, that is between 2pm and 2:05pm, in order to get the full 2 hours (+10 minutes grace time). The exam will automatically close 130 minutes after you have started it or at 4:15pm, whichever is earlier.

    Thanks again for indicating your timezone; for everyone who indicated that you are 1-4 hours behind Sydney, the exam will be 1-4 hours earlier in your local timezone; make sure that you get ready to start the exam at 2pm Sydney time.

    I will say more about the number of exam questions and their format in the last lecture (live on Blackboard Collaborate but will also be recorded) on Friday.

  • Today's lecture recording

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Friday 17 April 2020, 03:23:50 PM.

    Just a quick hint about today's lecture recording: there's a glitch towards the end with a 10 minute blackout, after which the lecture continues. No contents got lost, just ensure that you don't accidentally miss the end of the lecture when you watch the recording.

  • Poll: Your timezone for the final online exam

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Wednesday 15 April 2020, 04:04:02 PM.

    The final exam timetable has just been released, with Monday, 4 May, confirmed as the date for our COMP9020 exam. We are being given some flexibility as to the exact start of the 2 hour (+10 minutes grace time to account for any issues such as network interruptions) exam, depending on whether some of you will take the exam while in a different timezone.

    I have set up a quick poll to find out which timezone everyone will be in on the day of the exam. You can access the poll here:

    Poll: Your timezone

    Please let me know where you will be on May, 4, by ticking the box corresponding to your timezone. The poll will close on Sunday, 19 April, at 11:00pm.

  • Reminder: Online Help Tutorial Today 11am

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Thursday 09 April 2020, 10:13:23 AM.

    Just a reminder about today's online tutorial from 11am to 12noon. If you have any questions about last week's problem set, quiz or contents of the lecture, please join out tutor Sahil via Blackboard Collaborate. As before you can find a link to the session on the Moodle course webpage: Scroll down to the section "Online Consultations".

    Also please note that due to the public holiday tomorrow there will be just one lecture this week. Accordingly, the problem set will only cover this lecture and the weekly quiz will be available together with the lecture video from 2pm today.

  • Provisional Exam Date

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Monday 06 April 2020, 06:19:15 PM.

    As I have just been informed, the provisional date for the final online exam for COMP9020 is Monday, May 4, in the afternoon (Sydney time). The exact time has yet to be determined and will be based on a poll to find out which timezone everyone is in.

    Please note that the above is a preliminary date and may be subject to changes. The final timetable has been promised for later this week.

  • Lecture + next help tutorial

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Wednesday 01 April 2020, 05:20:24 PM.

    Please note that, even though some of UNSW is still open, I wouldn't get recorded in the classroom anymore. So in the unlikely event that you were planning on coming to CLB7 tomorrow, please don't. Until further notice I will upload lecture recordings on my own that you will then find at the usual place (-> Lecture recordings).

    Please note also that the next online help tutorial, which is going to be on this week's homework and quiz, will be held on Thursday, April 9.

  • Mid-term test result

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Wednesday 01 April 2020, 11:21:41 AM.

    Your result in the mid-term test is now available on WebCMS. You can see your overall mark and the mark for each question by clicking on the symbol indicated below:

    On Moodle you can now review your test and find the correct answers, together with some explanations, for all the questions. Unfortunately Moodle does not allow us to upload marks or detailed feedback on the marking of open questions. Instead we have prepared individual electronic feedback for the open questions through WebCMS, which you can access from your result page by clicking on the little arrow indicated below:

    Please continue to respect UNSW's policy to not discuss, copy, record, or photograph any of the questions of the test. You can email me if you wish to further discuss your marks with me.

    Congratulations to the 2 students who scored a perfect 20/20, well done!

  • SY/FL Grade for COMP9020

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Tuesday 31 March 2020, 11:00:39 AM.

    Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your viewpoint, the faculty has decided that courses with invigilated exams will have to move to SY/FL.

    I'm sorry to say that I don't have better news for everyone who was hoping for us to get an exemption. The decision reflects the fact that we can't indisputably assess everyone correctly, so we must err on the side of fairness.

    The criteria from the course outline for passing will still apply, and I will provide you with a proper mark for this course here on WebCMS in accordance with the original assessment scheme; however, this mark can then only be mapped to SY (if ≥50) or FL (if <50) and will not count for your WAM.

    This is obviously not what we all had planned for, but it is unavoidable that this once-in-a-lifetime event has many unwanted effects on everyone. I hope – and really expect – that face to face lectures and invigilated exams will be back after this truly exceptional, in an unwelcome way, term.

  • Mid-term Test Tomorrow (Friday)

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Thursday 26 March 2020, 06:46:30 PM.

    Just a reminder about the midterm test tomorrow. You can find the link to the test just below the quizzes and practice test when you log on to Moodle:

    The test will open at 2:30pm and automatically close 60 minutes after you've started it or at 3:35pm, whichever is earlier.

    Good luck everyone,

  • Pass/Fail vs Mark+Grade

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Thursday 26 March 2020, 05:19:49 PM.

    Thank you everyone for quickly responding to the poll. Unfortunately I couldn't extend it because I have to reply to the Faculty today.

    I have conveyed to them that 2 in 3 students expressed a preference for Marks instead of just Satisfactory/Fail, a clear, while not an overwhelming, majority. As I indicated this is only an expression of preference; the decision will be made by the Faculty. I will communicate this to you as soon as I have been informed.

    I am fully aware that the transition to online may have disrupted your learning, and some of you more than others. If we will stick to Mark+Grade I will take this into account for the design and marking of the final online assessment.

    I have also raised the issue about articulation into the Masters program in case COMP9020 will have to switch to a SY/FL. The Faculty promised to consider this issue and to clearly communicate to you the course of action they will take as soon as they can.

  • Your opinion: Pass/Fail or Mark + Grade?

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Wednesday 25 March 2020, 06:30:17 PM.

    Dear COMP9020 Student,

    As you know there will be no invigilated exams in 20T1.

    In COMP9020 we will substitute the written final exam by an online Moodle exam in the same format as the weekly quizzes and the upcoming midterm test. The assessment criteria from the course outline will still apply.

    The Faculty suggests that 20T1 courses move to a Pass/Fail result without marks. As a Pass/Fail course the result would not be included in your WAM calculation. I am curious to know what you think and therefore I have set up a quick online poll, which you can access here:

    Online poll: Pass/Fail or Mark + Grade

    Please note that this is only for consultation purposes, not a vote. But if there is a clear majority for one or the other, then I will make a case to the Faculty that this is how we would like it in COMP9020.

    The poll closes tomorrow (Thursday) at 4pm. Thanks for your participation.

  • Thursdays Tutorial Moving Online & Remote Studying

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Wednesday 18 March 2020, 10:28:32 AM.

    Dear COMP9020 Student,

    Please note that:

    1. From tomorrow, the weekly Help Tutorial on Thursdays, 11am to 12noon, will be held online via Blackboard Collaborate. You will find a link to the session on the Moodle course webpage: Scroll down to the section "Online Consultations", under which a link will be posted before the session.
    2. Lectures will continue to be held as normal, however, as in the past you are free to come or to stay at home and watch the recordings. These will continue to become available immediately after the lecture.
    3. The mid-term next week has always been planned as an online test that can be taken from home. More details will be given at tomorrow's lecture, and there will be a practice test available from Friday.
    4. If you prefer to study from home, please do make use of the online course forum for any questions that you have about the course contents. We will keep our effort to answer questions quickly. And of course if anyone else happens to have an answer or can contribute to a discussion, please do not hesitate to help your fellow students!

  • Quiz Week 2 - Question 3 - Partial Marks Updated

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Monday 09 March 2020, 03:18:02 PM.

    There was a small glitch with Moodle that caused slightly too low a partial mark for some students for Question 3 in Quiz 2. This has been fixed and your marks updated. Thanks to the student who pointed this out to us.

  • Weekly Tutorial on Thursdays

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Wednesday 04 March 2020, 02:58:19 PM.

    A reminder about the weekly tutorial session every Thursday in the hour right before the lecture. If you have any questions on the weekly problem set and quiz, please come to Room G23 in Building G17 (Electrical Engineering) from 11am to 12noon. The session is run by our tutor Sahil Punchhi.

  • Welcome to COMP9020: Foundations of Computer Science

    Posted by Michael Thielscher Friday 14 February 2020, 01:02:30 PM.

    Dear COMP9020 Student,

    Welcome to this year's course.

    This is a reminder that the course will begin in week 1 on Thursday (February 20) from 12-2pm in CLB 7 (Theatre 7, Central Lecture Block, Building E19).

    Meanwhile, have a look at the course webpage . Read through the "Course Outline" to learn more about the contents of the course, the assessment and recommended textbook.

    See you next week,


    PS. Please note: If you have been affected by travel restrictions, you can study this course remotely until you are able to come to UNSW. Remote attendance requires:

    1. Access to the course webpage mentioned above, where all the course-relevant material such as lecture slides and weekly problem sets (homework) will be posted.
      Note: While the course outline is publicly readable, access to the course material requires your zID and zPassword.
    2. Access to the Moodle webpage for this course: for the lecture videos and the online assessments for this course.
      Note: Access to the course on Moodle also requires you to login with your zID and zPassword, separate from the main course webpage.
    3. You must sit the final exam here in UNSW Kensington Campus. If you cannot come to UNSW in time for the main 20T1 exam period (May 2 to May 16), you will be required to take the supplementary exam, which will be sometime between May 25 and May 29.

    If you cannot attend in person during the first weeks, you should also make particular use of the course forum, where everyone can have a voice and ask questions, discuss any topic related to the contents of this course and raise any issue as soon as it arises.

Back to top

COMP9020 20T1 (Foundations of Computer Science) is powered by WebCMS3
CRICOS Provider No. 00098G