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Updated 16 Sep 2011 15:58
CSC941 - Advanced Skills and Applications Syllabus Home Page




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Syllabus for Autumn 2011


Dr Savi Maharaj , Room 4B68, savi at (Module Co-ordinator)
Prof Leslie Smith , Room 4B84, lss at


This module is designed for students with Higher or A-level Computing or significant experience of computing (entry is at the discretion of the Head of Department). Other students should consider the companion module CSC931 Skills and Applications.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students will understand:

  • How their desktop machine fits into the university network and ultimately to the rest of the world.
  • How to construct and present hypertext documents for the World Wide Web.
  • The basic principles of high-level programming languages.
  • The basic aspects of a range of social, professional and legal issues of information technology.

They will have gained the practical skills to be able to:

  • Present their ideas to other students and academic staff through both written and oral communication.
  • Use the PC interface with the Windows 2007 operating system.
  • Use the Internet with a variety of different tools: WWW browsers and search engines, electronic mail, Usenet newsgroups, and file transfer.
  • Customize, extend, run and test simple interactive animations in Alice
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply theory and techniques to unseen problems (with and without reference to notes), to work independently and under a time constraint.

Transferable Skills

The packages being taught are industry standard and so the practical IT skills developed by students can be generalised and used in any discipline where there is a need for:

  • The preparation of documentation
  • The storage, retrieval and manipulation of large amounts of data.
  • The visual interpretation of data.


  • Students will be taught to use the Internet as a research tool. This will enable them to access information resources in many disciplines, and to communicate with others, both on-site and elsewhere.
  • Students will be taught to author hypertext documents which may be used as a vehicle for the dissemination of information in many disciplines.
  • Students will develop problem solving skills which can be adapted and used in many other situations where structured, analytical thought is required.


Introduction (0.5 lecture)

Revision of basic skills on the PC (2 lab sessions)

  • Word processing
  • Presentation software
  • Spreadsheets

Object-oriented programming with Alice and Java (6 lectures, 6 lab sessions and 3 tutorials)

  • Using the Alice IDE to run, modify, and extend Alice animations
  • An introduction to the fundamental principles of object-oriented programming using Alice
  • The principles of interactive programs: events and event handling
  • A brief introduction to the Java programming language

Networks and the Internet (4.5 lectures and 3 lab sessions)

  • Network topology
  • The Internet (Telnet, FTP, WWW, News, e-mail, search engines)
  • Network protocols
  • Domains and routing
  • Client-server architecture
  • Internet Service Providers; mail servers; HTTP servers
  • Digital Media

Web technologies (4 lectures and 5 lab sessions)

  • Hypertext
  • History of hypertext and hypertext technology
  • HTML (primarily covered in lab sessions)
  • Authoring World Wide Web pages
  • Other web technologies

The limits of computation; computational intelligence (4 lectures)

  • A non-mathematical introduction to computability and the Halting Problem
  • Overview of topics in computational intelligence

Social/professional issues (3 tutorials, report)

  • Data Protection Act
  • Computer Misuse Act
  • Usability and accessibility of computer systems
  • Internet issues
  • Safety-critical software
  • Professional ethics


Practical checkpoints - 25%;

Programming lab test - 25%;

Issues group project - 25% (see below);

Examination (Networks, Web Technologies, Limits of Computation, and Computational Intelligence) - 25%


We recommend the following textbooks:

  • The following book gives an excellent introduction to a wide range of computing topics and will also be useful for background reading for several later modules as well: Nell Dale and John Lewis, Computer Science Illuminated, fourth edition, Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2010, ISBN 978-0-7637-7646-6
  • For the Alice programming part of the module, we will be using Selected Chapters from Programming with Alice and Java, Pearson, 2010, ISBN 978-0-85776-321-1. This book is essential reading. It is an extract from the text Programming with Alice and Java by Lewis and dePasquale. (The full version of the book is also suitable but is considerably more expensive.) It is available from the University Bookshop, and can be bought separately or as a combined package with the semester 2 textbook, Java for Students.

  • None of the above texts cover HTML or Microsoft Office in any great detail. There are abundant resources available for learning about these topics, including websites, books (many of which are in the University library) and online help.

Module requirements

In order to be considered for a pass grade in the module, you must do all of the following:

  • make a significant contribution to the issues group project
  • give an issues presentation
  • attend the programming test
  • attend the examination.
  • achieve at least 4C in the checkpoint grade

If any of these requirements is not met, you will be awarded No Grade for the module as a whole.

Assessed course work that is submitted late will be accepted up to five days after the submission date (or expiry of any agreed extension) but the grade will be lowered by one grade point per day late or part thereof. After five days the work will be deemed a non-submission, and will result in the award of No Grade for the module as a whole. This rule may be relaxed for students who can show good cause for failure to submit. ‘Good cause’ may include illness (for which a medical certificate or other evidence will be required).

If you are unable to attend the Main exam, you must apply to the Student Programmes Office for a Deferred exam. If a Deferred exam is not granted, then the Examiners may allow a Repeat exam.

Students who fail the module but receive a grade of 5 or better will be eligible for a Repeat exam. If a Repeat exam is taken (First Degree Regulations, Regulation 11), then the final grade is obtained from the mark for the Repeat exam together with the original marks for the remaining assessments. The grade obtained following a Repeat exam is capped at 3C, and will not be lower than the original grade.

Information relating to the module will be posted on the module website at This website will be updated frequently during the course of the semester.

Email - Web - Tel 01786 467421 - Fax 01786 464551
Mail Computing Science and Mathematics, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland, FK9 4LA
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