COMP160 - Course Information

COMP160, General Programming, runs in the second semester and summer school. It is a prerequisite for all 200 level papers in Computer Science (and some 200 level papers in Information Science).

COMP160 is taught using the Java language. It requires no previous programming experience, but assumes a proficient level of computer use. If you are a hesitant computer user, you should take COMP150, COMP112 or COMP111 before enrolling in COMP160.

Programming is a practical skill. You will learn most about programming by writing your own programs in the lab sessions.


The assessment weightings are as follows:

Lab based exercises 25% The lab based exercises are all specified in the lab book.
Mid-semester exam 15% Monday Feb 1st a.m.
Final examination 60% The final examination will cover material from lecture notes, the text book, and the lab book (including readings). Details to be confirmed.
You must pass the final exam to pass the course.


The textbook for this paper is: Java Foundations: Introduction to Program Design and Data Structures
Authors: John Lewis, Peter DePasquale, Joseph Chase
Both lectures and labs will use the text book extensively - it is essential.
There are many editions in circulation - all will be useful. Lab book page references will be for the Otago edition.

Text Cover Otago

Otago Edition

Text Cover 3S Text Cover 3S Text Cover 2S

International Edition      3rd Edition         2nd Edition


Laid back man

COMP160 is an eighteen point paper. This means that you should expect to do roughly 12 hours of work per week for COMP160 during semester two. This includes the 6 scheduled hours (2 hours of lectures and 4 hours of laboratories). In other words you have 6 hours per week for your own work on understanding the concepts and preparation for the laboratory sessions.

The lab book contains background information and exercises that are designed to be read and completed before each actual laboratory session. There are also programming exercises to be done during the lab session itself, although you should think about them in your own time before you sit down in front of the computer. You will find the laboratory time too short to complete the lab work unless you have done some preparation beforehand.

The course material builds quickly on itself. Consequently, it is important that you complete the work for one lab session before going on to the next.

This is a fast moving course - if problems arise it is very important that you ask for help before you fall too far behind. Don't be afraid to ask - we are here to help.