Computer Programming

The details
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Foundation/Year Zero: Level 3
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 28 June 2024
04 January 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BSC N325 Actuarial Science (Including Foundation Year),
BSC G620 Computer Games (Including Foundation Year),
BENGG520 Computer Networks (Including Foundation Year),
BSC G403 Computer Science (Including Foundation Year),
BENGH750 Computer Systems Engineering (Including Foundation Year),
BENGGH46 Computers with Electronics (Including Foundation Year),
BENGH61P Electronic Engineering (Including Foundation Year),
BSC G104 Mathematics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC 9K18 Statistics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC G1G8 Mathematics with Computing (Including Foundation Year),
BSC G1F5 Mathematics with Physics (Including Foundation Year),
BENGHP41 Communications Engineering (Including Foundation Year),
BSC I1GF Data Science and Analytics (Including Foundation Year),
BENGH618 Robotic Engineering (Including Foundation Year),
BSC GH3P Computing and Electronics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC LG04 Economics with Data Science (Including Foundation Year),
BENGH733 Mechatronic Systems (Including Foundation Year),
BSC L313 Sociology with Data Science (Including foundation Year),
BENGH172 Neural Engineering with Psychology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC I401 Artificial Intelligence (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

This module provides an introduction to the principles of procedural computer programming. Basic programming concepts, structures, and methods are introduced, demonstrated, and practised through learning Python 3, a high-level computer programming language.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To familiarise students with the principles of procedural computer programming.

  • To introduce students to basic programming concepts, structures, and methodologies.

  • To familiarise students with good program design, correct coding, and practice debugging (error correcting) techniques.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the basic principles and concepts of procedural computer programming.

  2. Describe the correct usage of some high-level programming constructs: simple commands, repetition/iterative statements, and conditional/selective statements.

  3. Analyse a computing-based task or problem; research and design a solution; then implement and develop a program using tools and features available in the Python programming language.

  4. Examine, test, and evaluate the operation of simple computer programs.

  5. Demonstrate functional computer programming techniques using the Python programming language.

Skills for your professional life (Transferable Skills)

By the end of this module, students will have practised the following transferrable skills:

  1. Problem-solving and applying theory to practice – Students will learn Python, one of the most widely used programming languages, by completing as series of formative problem solving tasks which then also carry over to the summative assessments too.

  2. Time and workload management – Students will have formative tasks to work through most weeks and, although recommended timescales are given for these, students will have flexibility to manage their own time to complete these.

  3. IT skills and report writing – Basic word processing skills through writing lab reports; General file management and organisation when coding.

Module information


  • Executing simple programs.

  • Variables and Data Types.

  • Simple Input and Output.

  • Processing strings.

  • Data Type-casting.

  • Repetition – For loops and While loops.

  • Selection – If Else statements.

  • Data structures – Lists and Tuples.

  • User-defined Functions.

  • Scope of variables.

  • Other data structures – Sets and Dictionaries.

  • File I/O.

  • Error and Exception Handling.

  • Systems development lifecycle.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 1-hour lecture per week.
  • One 2-hour laboratory session per week.
  • One 1-hour laboratory session per week.

Teaching and learning on Essex Pathways modules offers students the ability to develop the foundation knowledge, skills, and competencies to study at the undergraduate level, through a curriculum that is purposely designed to provide an exceptional learning experience.

All teaching, learning and assessment materials will be available via Moodle in a consistent and user-friendly manner.

Lectures are delivered with the assistance of presentation slides and example programs to demonstrate the topics each week.

Laboratory sessions will consist of programming exercises and some problem-solving tasks closely related to the lecture topics each week.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   IA160 - In-person, open book (unrestricted) Moodle Progress Test    40% 
Coursework   IA160 - Progress Mark 1    10% 
Coursework   IA160 - Progress Mark 2     10% 
Coursework   IA160 - Programming Project  19/03/2024  40% 
Exam  Main exam: In-Person, Open Book, 180 minutes during Summer (Main Period) 
Exam  Reassessment Main exam: In-Person, Open Book, 180 minutes during September (Reassessment Period) 

Additional coursework information

Formative assessment

In addition to various class exercises throughout the term there will be:

  • A practice progress test in Week 9.
  • Mini practice projects in the Autumn Term and Spring Term.

Summative assessment

  • An in-person, open book (unrestricted) Moodle progress test (90 mins). The progress test will assess students’ understanding of the topics covered during the first term of teaching. These topics include: Executing simple programs, Variables and data types, Simple input and output, Type casting, Processing strings, Repetition statements, Selection statements, and Data structures (Python Lists and Tuples).
  • Programming Project (1,600 words). Students will need to design and create a computer program to solve a given programming task. Students will also need to produce a technical report to describe their analysis of the problem being solved, explain their design rationale, and detail the testing of their solution.
  • Progress mark 1 and Progress mark 2. A progress mark is awarded at the end of each term following the successful completion of the Progress Monitor. Students complete their weekly classwork (programming exercises) and demonstrate these to their lab tutor. At the end of the term, five weeks are selected at random and a mark is awarded based on how many of the five weeks are completed (1% for each completed, 0.5% where partially complete and/or corrections required).
  • An in-person, open book (unrestricted) Moodle examination (180 mins). The exam will assess students’ understanding of all the topics covered in the first and second terms of teaching. Exam questions will be a mix of computer programming theory, problem-solving, code analysis and code debugging.

Reassessment strategy

  • Failed exam - Resit the exam which is re-aggregated with the existing coursework mark to create a new module mark.
  • Failed coursework - Resubmit a piece of coursework (1,600 words) which is re-aggregated with the existing exam mark to create a new module mark. The reassessment task will replace the coursework component and will enable the relevant learning outcomes to be met.
  • Failed exam and coursework - Resit the exam and resubmit one piece of coursework (1,600 words) to be aggregated to create a new module mark.

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Ian Mothersole, email: imothe@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Ian Mothersole
Kate Smith: catsmith@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Austin Tomlinson
University of Birmingham
Available via Moodle
Of 204 hours, 197 (96.6%) hours available to students:
5 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
2 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Essex Pathways

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