Practical Programming

University of Otago

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Practical Programming

  • Host University

    University of Otago

  • Location

    Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Area of Study

    Computer Programming, Computer Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    An introduction to the basics of programming using the Python programming language, with an emphasis on practical topics. Suitable both for students who do not intend to major in Computer Science, and as preparation for COMP 160.

    Have you ever wanted to learn how to program a computer without being thrown in at the deep end? This paper gives a gentle introduction to programming in a language called Python, which was designed to be easy to use (the name comes from the humorous TV series Monty Python's Flying Circus, so you can tell that using Python is meant to be fun). Python is increasingly popular for both science and business applications. As a result, this paper is not only a good way to prepare for COMP 160, but also an ideal way to learn the basics of programming if you don't plan to major in Computer Science.

    Teaching Arrangements
    There is 1 lecture per week.
    There are 2 laboratory sessions each week, each 2-hours long.
    The laboratories have 24/7 access. Course material is made available on Blackboard.

    Course Structure
    The lectures and laboratory work are closely integrated. Topics covered in both are:
    - The Way of the Program
    - Variables, Expressions and Statements
    - Functions, Conditionals, Modules and TDD
    - Strings, Files, Iteration, Lists, Tuples Sets and Dictionaries
    - Classes and Objects
    - Graphical User Interface Programming
    - Case Studies
    - System Programming


    Mastery Tests: The structure of COMP 150 is based on a mastery model. There are 7 mastery tests and 1 final practical test. The 7 mastery tests are worth 5% each and are offered in the lab each week starting at week 2. Students need to successfully complete the previous mastery test before they can sit the next one. If they do not successfully complete a test, then they can resit the test during their next scheduled laboratory, but they can only sit 1 test per lab session. Mastery tests are pass/fail. If students pass, they get 5%; if they fail, they get 0% (but can resit next time). The final practical test is worth 15% and is graded.

    Final Exam: The final exam is worth 50%.

    Learning Outcomes
    Students will learn:
    - The fundamental concepts of computation and programming
    - How to write simple and moderately complex computer program in the Python programming language
    - How to test and debug programs
    - How to use the most common data structures (lists, dictionaries, sets)
    - The basics of graphical user interface programming
    - The basics of object-oriented programming
    - How to automate common computer tasks via programming

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.