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Background

Why it is important that all students in CITS majors do this unit

CITS3200 is squarely toward the computing industry, where many of the students taking this unit will shortly be heading. In that spirit, this unit is unlike most others you have undertaken in the Computer Science or Data Science majors; rather than focussing on labs and assignments, the focus here is on a significant group project in which you get to sample a range of roles: team/project manager, coder, documenter and tester. There is also a short, industrially oriented lecture programme. It is precisely because of the experience you will gain in the project, the ethics-oriented lecture stream, and, more generally, the inustrial orientation of the unit, that the Australian Computer Society has mandated this unit for their acceditation of the Computer Science and Data Science majors.

Aims

The unit has the following aims (developed from Clear et al 2001)
  • To develop awareness of the ethical and social responsibilities of computing professionals
  • To develop experience using professional practices in a teamwork setting
  • To provide a "programming in the large" experience as far as practical
  • To allow for the integration of and reflection on previous computer science knowledge
  • To develop student capability, confidence and maturity
  • To model industrial practice regarding commercial software development, and effective client relationships

About the project

While group projects are pretty common these days, the projects you will be working on have been proposed by clients from the University, from industry and from the wider Perth community – real clients with real problems they want solutions for, and sytems they want created. As such, the projects are more open-ended than you are perhaps used to, and may require you to rapdily acquire new skills, e.g. Javascript or the Django module in Python. (Bear this in mind when your team looks at the list of projects.) Project teams of 5-6 people will be formed randomly, though we also then try to balance the compositions of the teams so they reflect a range of skills and aptitudes. Each team of will have its own project, which will be different from other teams' projects, or may also be done by at most one other team.

The project is set up, and will be assessed, based on an Agile methodology, Scrum, or at least as close as we can get to an Agile methodology given the University's requirement that all assessment dates be fixed and that students are notified about those dates well in advance. There is also the obvious fact that the projects (and the unit) must fit within the standard 12-week semester.

If you have not come across the Scrum methodology before, please view the video presentation Scrum in 13 Minutes. There is also a good discussion on WikiPedia. Team work is essential, so while a portion of the marks will reflect what you personally contributed, a portion of the marks will also reflect how how well you worked with others to achieve the aims of the project. In addition, a portion of the marks will be contributed via the client, reflecting the quality of the product your group has created. In accordance with University policy, all members of a team will get the same mark for the group-based assessments.

Contacting me (unit coordinator)

Unit Co-ordinator:Assoc. Prof. Michael Wise
Email: [email protected]
Consultation Hours: Wednesdays 11am
Rm 1.18, CSSE Bldg
Other times available, just email me first, please, to arrange a mutually convenient time.
Please note that I am employed half-time at UWA, so generally unavailable on Tuesdays or Thursdays

Communication Technology

Unfortunately, there is no single communications technology available via the University that quite covers all aspects of this unit, so the following is planned.
  • For any important announcements I will use the UWA email access provided via LMS announcements. You can go back over past announcements by logging into the LMS page for this unit.
  • For the less important announcements, or discussions where you can raise questions or respond to postings, please use help3200. The attraction of Callista announcements and help3200 is that postings end up in your email, which means you don't have to log regularly into LMS, for example, just to check if there have been any postings.
  • For having online meetings with your client (assuming that that is prefered to face-to-face meetings), please use the Chat function within Microsoft Teams. MS Teams can also be used for online Team meetings, including those attended by your Team's Auditor. (Auditors are discussed on the project page.) Each Project Team will have its own directory to place documents, e.g. weekly deliverables, to be shared with your Team's Auditor.

If you are starting the unit after the first lecture

If you enrol after the start of semester please let me know as soon as possible using the above email so I can ensure you are placed in a team, and you can rapidly get up to speed with your team's project.

Overview of the Assessment

The overall assessment scheme is:
  • A group project worth 80%, with both group-based components and indvidually-assessed components. This is further disussed on the Project page.
  • A Professional Development Portfolio 20%, where you reflect on what you have learnt from the lecture programme.
There are no labs or assignments; nor is there a final exam.

COVID-19

The arrival of the viral disease COVID19 has caused rapid and profound changes to the ways universities undertake their missions, with the most obvious been a complete move to online learning and assessment (at least for the time being). As I write this (mid July), the situation has stabilized in Western Australia, with some reopening, though a second wave of infections remains a very real possibility. Please keep abreast of advice from the Government of Western Australia regarding which activities are permitted and which are restricted. UWA specific advice can be found here. The precautions around COVID19 will have the following impacts on CITS3200 this year:
  • There will be no face-to-face lectures; all lectures will be posted online via LCS (Lecture Capture System)/Echo360.
  • Small group meetings are currently possible, so face to face team meetings, incuding with clients, mentors or auditors, can take place, so long as social distancing is observed and everyone is comfortable with the arrangement. By the same token, meetings can also take place on-line, e.g. via Microsoft Teams.
  • I normally insist that all Team members be present in Perth from the start of the unit, as face-to-face interactions are useful over the life of a project, e.g. when complex issues need to be worked through, but particularly so at the start when Team members are getting to know each other. At the risk of stating the extemely obvious, these are not normal times. It is possible your Team may have members who have been unable to be in Perth. Please be professional and just run with that, and plan Team activities with that in mind.
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Expectations

It is expected that you will act professionally at all times, both face to face and via electronic media. Please see UWA Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct.


Department of Computer Science & Software Engineering
The University of Western Australia
Last modified: 20 July 2020
Modified By: Michael Wise

UWA