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CSC2034 : Introducing Contemporary Topics in Computing

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ken Pierce
  • Lecturer: Dr Daniel Archambault, Dr Chris Holder, Dr Clara Crivellaro, Dr Pawel Widera
  • Owning School: Computing
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 30
ECTS Credits: 15.0
European Credit Transfer System


The module provides students with an introductory understanding of a range of advanced areas in computing, based on 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

The taught component of the module gives a ‘taster’ for each contemporary topic through lectures and practical sessions, along with general lectures on key skills and knowledge. This is followed by a period of project work in which students investigate one contemporary topic more deeply through guided independent project work.

Each topics taster will:
• Introduce key concepts and definitions
• Provide an overview of relevant techniques, paradigms, and tools
• Cover ongoing research and potential ethical issues
• Place the topic in the wider context of computing and industry

General lectures cover:
• Reflective writing
• Reading academic papers
• Finding and managing information
• Writing technical reports

We aim to cover five topics, delivered by lecturers, and supported by demonstrators, who are active researchers in these areas. Current topics are:

• Science of Programming
• Human Computer Interaction
• Biocomputing
• Computer Game Engineering
• Data Science

Note that due to the nature of research, these are topics subject to change.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture101:0010:00Lectures for each topic (Present in person)
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials151:0015:00Supporting lecture materials for each topic and key skills
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion301:0030:00Report writing
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials500:3025:00Lecture materials for each topic
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture61:006:00Guest talks from researchers (present in person)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical122:0024:00Practical supporting major project (Present-in-Person)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical102:0020:00Practical's in each topic (Present-in-Person)
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities101:0010:00Practical exercises
Guided Independent StudyProject work401:0040:00Project implementation
Guided Independent StudyProject work201:0020:00Paper review
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity101:0010:00Reflective log
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study901:0090:00Background reading
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 (2000 words)
Practical/lab report2M60Practical implementation and technical report (2500 words) in one topic
Report2M20Review of paper in one topic (1500 words)
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Prof skill assessmnt2MIn-class exercise on reflective writing
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 in-class formative exercise helps students to complete their reflective log. The paper review provides 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, to practice project work and technical report writing, and reflect of what they've learned.

Reading Lists