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CSC2034 : Introducing Contemporary Topics in Computing

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ken Pierce
  • Lecturer: Dr Rich Davison, Professor Paolo Missier, Dr Clara Crivellaro
  • Owning School: Computing
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 30
ECTS Credits: 15.0


The module provides students with an introductory understanding of a range of advanced areas in computing, including Bio Computing, Data Science, Computer Game Engineering, Human Computer Interaction, and Modelling and Reasoning. These are the research areas which the School of Computing at Newcastle is renowned for (and not covered in other Stage 2 modules). The module acts as introduction to these contemporary topics, and gives students insight into optional modules and project choices in preparation for Stage 3, while building on skills learned in Stages 1 and 2, accruing experience of how they are applied into more advanced areas of computing.

Outline Of Syllabus

•       Bio Computing: Introduction to cellular and molecular biology, the computational needs of modern biological data analysis, biologically-inspired computing, computational approaches to engineer biological systems.
•       Data Science: Predictive modelling, visualization, ethical challenges, and examples of how data science is used to solve problems in a range of domains.
•       Computer Game Engineering: Introduce students to each step of the programming tool-chain pipeline used in the video game industry by utilising an industry standard games engine to develop a video game. Focus on the programming and visual interfaces to game construction, allowing provided game assets to be utilised in the production of a video game.
•       Human Computer Interaction. Key concepts and issues in HCI, theories and history of HCI, understanding users (human factors, requirements engineering), HCI Design (Principles, standards and guidelines, input and output technologies, and designing interactions), prototyping, evaluation techniques for usability and specific application areas.
•       Modelling and Reasoning: Introduction to computer modelling techniques and tools. Introduces key concepts including abstraction of process and data, modelling paradigms and analysis techniques; motivates modelling and describes relevant case studies.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials500:3025:00Lecture materials for each topic
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture101:0010:00Introductory and summary lectures for each topic (online Synchronous)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture100:305:00Guest talks from researchers
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials151:0015:00Supporting lecture materials for each topic and key skills
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion301:0030:00Report writing
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical102:0020:00Practicals in each topic (Present-in-Person)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical102:0020:00Practical supporting major project (Present-in-Person)
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities101:0010:00Practical exercises
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops51:005:00Sessions supporting reflective writing and paper reviews (Online synchronous)
Guided Independent StudyProject work201:0020:00Paper review
Guided Independent StudyProject work351:0035:00Project implementation
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity101:0010:00Reflective log
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study901:0090:00Background reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk51:005:00Q&A session for each topic (Present-in-Person)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module combines lecture materials and practical experience providing students with a learning framework across the range of specific computing topics that the school is renowned for. Lectures materials are provided by leading researchers in each field, with contributions from research staff and PhD students. Exercises supported by practicals provide relevant tools and techniques for each topic. The coursework gives students a chance to explore a contemporary topic in computing through background research and analysis, and implementation of a specific application in a related field.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Reflective log2M20Reflection on each topic (5 x 400 words)
Practical/lab report2M60Practical implementation and technical report (2500 words) in major topic
Report2M20Review of paper in minor topic (2000 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The reflective log ensures that students engage with their understanding of each of the five topics and reflect on their learning overall. The limit of 400 words per reflective entry ensures that students have space to reflect on their experiences properly. While this means the total is 2000 words for this submission, the work spread over the first half of the term with dedicated sessions to help students complete the log. The paper review experience in reading and critically evaluating research papers, as well as providing an opportunity to engage with research aspects in one topic. The implementation/report enable students to test their practical skills in one of the topics and reflect of what they've learned. The implementation/report act as major assessment and allow students to engage more deeply with a topic of their choice, to test their practical skills and reflect on what they’ve learned.

Reading Lists