ENGG1811 Computing for Engineers

Course Introduction

1. Course Aims

ENGG1811 is an introductory computing course and it broadly covers the following topics:

2. Student Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, students should be able to 

Lab exercises and assignment problems will test knowledge and skills you have acquired throughout the session (in particular for the first two topics). Questions in the Mid-Session test and the Final Written Exam will  challenge your understanding of all the above three topics. 

3. Teaching, Learning and Assessment

At university, the focus is on the self-directed search for knowledge. Lectures, labs, textbooks and recommended reading, assignments and exams are all provided as a service to assist you in this endeavour. It is your choice as to how much work you do in this course, whether it be preparation for classes, completion of assignments, study for exams or seeking assistance or extra work to extend and clarify your understanding. You must choose the approach that best suits your learning style and goals in this course. Note that the University expects you to do about 180 hours work for this course—including lectures, labs, and time spent on assignments. Of course this will vary according to your aims. The course is designed in such a way that passing the course will require a good understanding of the fundamental notions as well as good practical skills. This can only be achieved through regular and consistent work. If your aim is to obtain a high distinction then you will need to invest more time on this course.


The aim of the lectures is to facilitate learning and understanding of the important concepts within course syllabus. They will provide the main source of course material deliver. In the lectures, we will critically evaluate and discuss all the important topics of this course. You must actively participate in the discussions during the lectures and are encouraged to ask questions (at any time during the lectures or after the lectures).  All lecture material will be available online (on the class web page), and therefore your main focus during the lectures should be to actively participate in the ongoing discussions.

Lecture Schedule

The proposed lecture schedule is:

Week Topic
Week 1: Digital Revolution
Week 2: Networks and the Internet 
Week 3, 4: Spreadsheets - Basics of a Spreadsheet, Predefined functions (statistical, lookup, etc), Filters, Charts, etc
Analyzing Data - Descriptive Statistics, What-If Analysis, Goal Seek, Solver, etc
Week 5: Databases - Introduction and Case studies
Week 6-12: Problem Solving and Programming: Introduction to procedural programming and VBA, data types, variables and constants, operators and statements, selection (If and Select Case statements) and iteration (While and For statements), modularity using functions/subprograms, parameter passing. Program design, development, testing and debugging. Arrays, strings, collections, Excel object model, Macro Recorder. Problem solving case studies.
Week 13, 14: Introduction to some of the current and emerging Information Technologies

Please note that the above schedule is subject to change.

Laboratory Classes

Laboratory Classes give you a chance to practise problem solving and programming skills on small, well defined examples. The examples have been chosen to highlight particular aspects of problem solution, and will give you enough grounding in problem solving to assist you in completing your assignment work. Your tutor will be present in your Lab Class to answer any questions you may have.

All lab class exercises must be shown to your tutor during your scheduled lab class. The lab exercises will be available during the session via the course's web page. Students are advised not to fall behind in laboratory work. In order to get a mark for a lab exercise you must show your tutor a completed or substantially completed solution before the end of your scheduled lab class in the week that the exercise is released. To gain a mark you must at the very least: show your tutor a partial solution at the end of your scheduled lab class in the week that the exercise is released. If you fail to do so, you will not receive a mark for that particular lab exercise. If you cannot complete the exercise by the end of the scheduled lab, you may complete it in your own time and show it to your tutor in the next scheduled lab class. Your tutor will only mark it at the very beginning of the next scheduled lab class. Note that, after this time, you will not receive a mark for that particular lab exercise.

Please note that at the time of marking your lab exercises, your tutor will ask you to solve other similar problems. You need to demonstrate that you are able to solve lab exercises and related problems, in order to receive any marks for your lab work. In other words, copying lab solutions is pointless!

If you are unable to attend your scheduled lab class due to illness or misadventure, then you should apply for special consideration and an extension may be granted. You can only have your lab work marked during your scheduled lab class. It is not possible to have your work marked in another class.

Your weekly lab class is 2 hours long and it starts in Week 2 of session. 


Each week, starting from Week 2, the lecturer(s) or a tutor will be available to discuss with you, on a one-on-one basis, any aspect of the course that you are having problems with. This is the most personalised form of teaching for this course, and you should take every advantage of it, particularly if you are experiencing difficulties. There will be at least 4 consultation hours available every week. However, depending on the requirements, we may even increase number of consultation hours. 

Please check the class web page for current consultation times (see "Consultations" in the left panel of the class web page). 

Every effort will be made to see as many students as possible. Please come prepared in order to maximise the time that's available to you.


Assignments give you the chance to practise what you have learned on relatively large problems (compared to the small exercises in the Lab Classes). Assignments are a very important part of this course, therefore it is essential that you attempt them yourself. There will be three assignments:

Assignments are to be completed in your own time. To maximise the learning benefits from doing assignments, it is essential that you start work on assignments early. Do not leave your assignments until the last minute. If you submit an assignment late, the maximum available mark is reduced by 10% per day that it is late.

Assignment 1: the aim in this assignment is to carry out "smart" online research on a given topic. You need to find the required information available online on a given topic, properly organise this information, and produce an online report in the form of a web page(s). There are no explicit marks for this assignment however the concepts will form an integral part of the Mid-Session Test and you must complete it.

Assignments 2 and 3: the aim for these assignments is to develop skills in all stages of the programming process: start by understanding the specification; design a method to solve the problem; refine this design; implement and document the design in a source file that consists of both the documentation and the program code; and test extensively to validate that the program meets the specification.


A Mid-Session Test will be held in Week 7 during your scheduled lab class.

The final written examination will be held during the examination period. It will examine all material covered in the course, but will emphasise the material in the second half of the course.

Supplementary Exams

The document Important Advice for Students states the supplementary assessment policy for the School of CSE. The following criteria will be used when considering a student for a supplementary exam:

The document can be found on-line at:
Please take the time to read it carefully. If you are granted a Supplementary examination, then it will be held on the date specified in the above document. If you think that you may be eligible for a supplementary exam, then make sure you are available on that day. It is your responsibility to check at the School Office for details of Supplementary examinations. Please note that there will be NO further supplementary dates for this course. In other words we will NOT be able to offer you supplementary examination at any other time.  


The assessable components of the course are:

Component Mark
Assignment 1 0
Assignment 2 10%
Assignment 3 10%
Lab Exercises 10%
Mid-Session Test 10%
Final Written Exam 60%


4. Course Resources: Textbooks, Reading Materials and useful Online Resources

Two books are prescribed for this course. To keep the cost down, we have negotiated a deal with the publishers to shrink-wrap both books into a package at a considerable discount. You will be able to use these as references after you complete the course.

Gottfried, B (2002). Spreadsheet Tools for Engineers Using Excel. McGraw Hill.
Shepherd, R (2004). Excel VBA Macro Programming. McGraw Hill.

We will provide additional references on the class web page to cover other many useful topics. It is your responsibility to study them, and in case you have any questions/problems, please contact your lecturer(s) or tutor.

As discussed earlier,
at university, the focus is on your self-directed search for knowledge. Lectures, labs, recommended reading, assignments and exams are all provided as a service to assist you in this endeavour. It is your choice as to how much work you do in this course, whether it be preparation for classes, completion of assignments, study for exams or seeking assistance or extra work to extend and clarify your understanding. You must choose the approach that best suits your learning style and goals in this course.

5. Administration

Units of Credits

6 units of credit


There are no pre-requisites for this course.

Course Web Page



Staff Name Role Email Phone (ext)
Ashesh Mahidadia
Lecturer-In-Charge ashesh@cse.unsw.edu.au
9385-6556 (ext 56556)
Geoff Whale Lecturer g.whale@unsw.edu.au 9385-4046 (ext 54046)
Mei Cheng Whale
Course Administrator meicheng@cse.unsw.edu.au 9385-5683 (ext 55683)

Lecture Times

Times Locations
Tue 2pm - 4pm Mathews Theatre A
Wed 4pm - 5pm Mathews Theatre A

Getting Help

From time to time, various problems may arise in your study of this course. Below is a list of typical problems, with suggestions for where you might seek help with them:

Problem Solution
Help with problems unrelated to this course CSE Web Help Page
Can't understand lecture material Ask the lecturer after the lecture times, OR ask your tutor during your lab class, Or go to a consultation.
Stuck with assignments, lab work Ask your tutor during your lab. Or go to a consultation.
Want to change lab-tute class Email class account (en1811@cse.unsw.edu.au)
Problems with lab workstations CSE Help Desk
Problems with your account CSE Help Desk
Problem with Dial-Up access from home DIS-Connect Helpdesk (9385 1777)
One final piece of advice. If you have a problem, do not wait until late in the session before you seek help. Problems that are dealt with early are usually quicker and easier to resolve than ones that are left to the last minute.

You may find the following links useful:

6. Plagiarism

All work submitted for assessment must be your own work. Lab exercises and assignments must be completed individually. We regard copying of assignments or lab exercises, in whole or part, as a very serious offence. We use plagiarism detection software to search for multiply-submitted work, or work derived from other students or from other sources. Be warned that:

Collaborative learning in the form of "think tanking" is encouraged, but students are not allowed to compose programming solutions together as a group during such discussions. Students are also warned not to send code fragments of the assignments or labs to each other in any form (e.g. as email or listings). In addition, copying/purchasing of code that is available on the web is also not permitted. Students who are singled out during our regular plagiarism sweep will be dealt with according to School Policy: http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~studentoffice/policies/yellowform.html.

The Learning Centre website is main repository for resources for staff and students on plagiarism and academic honesty. These resources can be located via:


7. Continual course improvement

Student feedback on this course, and on the lecturing in this course, will be obtained via electronic survey at the end of session. Student feedback is taken seriously, and continual improvements are made to the course based in part on this feedback. Students are very strongly encouraged to let the lecturer in charge know of any problems, as soon as they arise. Suggestions (or even complaints!) will be listened to very openly, positively, constructively and thankfully, and every action will be taken to fix any issue or improve the students’ learning experience.

  -- end --