GCO1810 Business Programming , Unit Information Guide (Semester 1, 2006)

Chief Examiner Suryani Lim
Gippsland : Suryani Lim

You will follow the stages of structured and object oriented program development starting with problem definition, then algorithm construction, and finally coding, testing and debugging a program. In the process you will learn about the lexical elements and syntax of the Visual Basic .NET programming language and the nature of compilation, interpretation and execution.

You will construct computer programs with effective user interfaces and elements such as simple data types, variables, constants, declarations, one and two dimensional arrays, block structures, expressions, statements, compound statements and control structures. Your programs will incorporate data validation and error trapping.

Your programs will be organised into procedures and functions that communicate by passing parameters and/or returning values. Your programs will process input and output, including strings and numbers, using standard devices and files.

Knowledge and Understanding

This unit aims to introduce you to sound computer program design and construction practices.
On completion of this subject students will be able to:

  • understand the nature of computer programs and programming languages
  • display skills in problem-solving and algorithmic design
  • design and write computer programs
  • use appropriate techniques to communicate program data between program modules
  • manipulate data in one and two dimensional arrays
  • distinguish between object-oriented event-driven languages and procedural languages


Attitudes, Values and Beliefs

Students will:

  • appreciate the role and importance of design in the development of computer programs;
  • appreciate the qualities of a good program.


Practical Skills

Students will:

  • display skills and creativity in problem-solving and algorithmic design;
  • develop skills to produce simple well-designed screens and user interfaces;
  • produce simple programs in a commercially used contemporary development environment.


Prerequisites There are no prerequisites for this unit.

Unit relationships

This is a unit available at both graduate (GCO9801) and undergraduate levels (GCO1810, GCO2851). It is a core unit for Bachelor of Information Technology (Business Systems stream), and for the Bachelor of Computing, and some double degrees. This is the final year that the unit is planned to run, due to the Faculty of Information Technology Review of unit offerings, which aims to establish a single introductory programming unit across all campuses.

Texts and software

Required text(s)

  • Zak, D., "Microsoft Visual Basic .NET Reloaded", 2004, Thomson Learning, ISBN 0-619-21565-8
  • Robertson, L. A., "Simple Program Design", 4th Edition, 2003, Thomson Learning, ISBN 0-17-010704-3
  • These two books are available as a single 'pack', together with the required software, and should be ordered using a single ISBN: 0-170-97380-8 (see Monash Bookshop)

    Please note that you will not be able to complete the unit without substantial weekly access to these two books. You are advised to purchase your text books early.

    Text books are available from the Monash Gippsland Bookshop, email Ros.Gaunt@general.monash.edu.au, phone (03) 5122 1771 (or 9902 1771 if calling from Melbourne), fax (03) 5122 1211 (or 9902 1211 if faxing from Melbourne).

  • Text books are available from the Monash University Book Shops. Availability from other suppliers cannot be assured. The Bookshop orders texts in specifically for this unit. You are advised to purchase your text book early.

    Software requirements:

    This unit teaches the language Visual Basic .NET. This is normally part of the Microsoft "Visual Studio .NET" product, which costs several hundreds of dollars. However, through the publisher of the two textbooks we have been able to arrange for Visual Basic .NET Standard Edition to be included when you purchase thetextbook bundle (consisting of the two prescribed books, Zak and Robertson, and with the required software) from the Monash University Bookshop.

    Software may be:

    • downloaded from
    • purchased at academic price at good software retailers

    Hardware requirements:

    Students studying off-campus are required to have the minimum system configuration specified by the school,
    (http://www.gscit.monash.edu.au/current_students/helpdesks/technical/hardware.html) as a condition of accepting admission, and regular Internet access. On-campus students, and those studying at supported study locations may use the facilities available in the PC labs.

    Recommended reading

    These are not required, but may be of use. Sometimes a different perspective can help in understanding.

    Capron, H.L., Johnson J.A., 2004, Computers: Tools for an Information Age, 8th Edition, Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-140564-0

    Dietel, H.M., Dietel, P.J., & Nieto, T.R., 2003, Simply Visual Basic .NET, An application-driven tutorial approach, Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-140553-5

    Schneider, D.I., 2003, An Introduction to Programming Using Visual Basic .NET, 5th Edition, Prentice Hall, 0-13-030657-6

    Sprague, M., 2003, Microsoft Visual Basic .NET, Introduction to Programming, 2nd Edition, Thomson Learning. ISBN 0-619-03456-4

  • URLs

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/vbasic/ is Microsoft's Visual Basic Developers Centre, the home for Visual Basic language information. If you visit here you may need to search for relevant information, however, the knowledge base provides a useful long-term resource for developers and is worth browsing.

    http://www.mdnug.org/ is the home of the Melbourne Dot Net Users Group. They hold monthly meetings and get-togethers and can be a useful resource for keeping up-to-date with developments. Other states of Australia also have similar user groups.

  • Library access You may need to access the Monash library either personally to be able to satisfactorily complete the subject.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.
    Study resources

    Study resources for GCO1810 are:

    • A printed Unit Book containing 11 Study Guides (155 pages), sent from CeLTS
    • Sample programs (Supporting Files) to accompany the Unit Book located on the Unit Website
    • This document (Unit Information) outlining the administrative information for the unit
    • A CD-ROM sent at the start of the year, with software required for GSCIT units
    • The GCO1810/2851/9801 Unit Web Page, where lecture slides, weekly tutorial tasks, assignment specifications and sample solutions will be posted
    • Newsgroups that can be accessed from the links on the Unit Homepage, or from within the My.Monash Portal System
    You must read the newsgroups at least once per week wherever you are studying. This applies to both on-campus and off-campus students. Ignorance of postings in the newsgroups will not be grounds for extensions or special consideration.

    Structure and organisation



    Study Guide

    Key Dates

    1 Creating Programs & Program Design 0 & 1
    2 Introduction to Visual Basic.NET 3
    3 Variables, Data Types and Input/Output 3
    4 Selection Structures 4
    5 Repetition Structures 5
    6 Subprograms and Modular Design 6 3 April 06 - Ass 1 due
    7 File I/O and Exception Handling 7
    8 Introducing Arrays 8 24 April 06- Ass 2 due
    9 Two-dimensional Arrays, Searching and Sorting 9
    10 Structures 10
    11 Control Break Processing 11 22 May 06 - Ass 3 due
    12 Possible additional material (non-examinable) (Web site)
    13 Sample Exam & revision

    The timetable for on-campus classes for this unit can be viewed in Allocate+


    Read this section VERY carefully, as the information may differ from unit to unit.

    Final Mark Calculation:

    Examination has a weighting of 60% and assignments have a weighting of 40%. However, since this is a practical unit and it is not possible to fully test programming ability in a three-hour exam, your final mark cannot be more than 10 marks higher than your assignment percentage. Also, since assignment work is not completed in a controlled environment, your final mark cannot be more than 10 marks higher than your examination percentage.

    Assessment Policy

    To pass this unit you must:

    • attempt all assignments and the examination
    • score at least 50% of the possible marks for the unit
    • achieve no less than 40% of the marks for the exam
    • achieve no less than 40% of the marks for the assignments
    All work submitted by you for marking must be your own work.

    Your score for the unit will be calculated by:

    Result = Minimum [ E + 10, A + 10, (E * W + A * (1-W) ) ]

    where E = Exam percentage
    A = Assignments percentage
    W = Exam weighting (60%, or 0.6)

    The intention of the formula is to weight the marks in such a way as to encourage consistent effort in both assignments and the examination.

    Assessment Requirements


    Due Date


    Ass 0: Getting Started 10 March 06 5 %
    Ass 1: Simple algorithms and programs 3 April 06 30 %
    Ass 2: Integrated control structures 24 April 06 30 %
    Ass 3: Advanced programming task 22 May 06 35 %

    Assignment specifications will be made available on the GCO1810 Web Site Assignment Page. Information about assignments will be published on the Unit's Notices Newsgroup.

    Assignment Submission Methods

    Assignments will be submitted by electronic submission to http://wfsubmit.its.monash.edu.au. Do not email submissions. The due date is the date by which the submission must be received.

    Extensions and late submissions

    Late submission of assignments

    Assignments received after the due date will be subject to a penalty calculated as (mark before penalty) * days late / 7. This means as the delay of submission approaches 7 days, your mark approaches 0, regardless of what the mark is before the penalty.

    This policy is strict because comments or guidance will be given on assignments as they are returned, and sample solutions may also be published and distributed, after assignment marking or with the returned assignment. 


    It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are seldom regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. 

    Requests for extensions must be made by email at least three days before the due date. You will be asked to forward original medical certificates in cases of illness, and may be asked to provide other forms of documentation where necessary. If you are required to be away on national service, you should tell me before you leave.

    Contact the Unit Advisor by email Suryani.Lim@infotech.monash.edu.au to request for extensions.

    Grading of assessment

    Assignments, and the unit, will be marked and allocated a grade according to the following scale:

    HD High Distinction - very high levels of achievement, demonstrated knowledge and understanding, skills in application and high standards of work encompassing all aspects of the tasks.
    In the 80+% range of marks for the assignment.
    D Distinction - high levels of achievement, but not of the same standards. May have a weakness in one particular aspect, or overall standards may not be quite as high.
    In the 70-79% range.
    C Credit - sound pass displaying good knowledge or application skills, but some weaknesses in the quality, range or demonstration of understanding.
    In the 60-69% range.
    P Pass - acceptable standard, showing an adequate basic knowledge, understanding or skills, but with definite limitations on the extent of such understanding or application. Some parts may be incomplete.
    In the 50-59% range.
    N Not satisfactory -  failure to meet the basic requirements of the assessment.
    Below 50%.

    We will aim to have assignment results made available to you within two weeks after assignment due date.

    Feedback Feedback to you

    You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This feedback may be provided through your participation in tutorials and class discussions, as well as through your assignment submissions. It may come in the form of individual advice, marks and comments, or it may be provided as comment or reflection targeted at the group. It may be provided through personal interactions, such as interviews and on-line forums, or through other mechanisms such as on-line self-tests and publication of grade distributions.

    Feedback from you

    You will be asked to provide feedback to the Faculty through a Unit Evaluation survey at the end of the semester. You may also be asked to complete surveys to help teaching staff improve the unit and unit delivery. Your input to such surveys is very important to the faculty and the teaching staff in maintaining relevant and high quality learning experiences for our students.

    And if you are having problems

    It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem with your study. The semester is short, so we can help you best if you let us know as soon as problems arise. Regardless of whether the problem is related directly to your progress in the unit, if it is likely to interfere with your progress you should discuss it with your lecturer or a Community Service counsellor as soon as possible.

    Plagiarism and cheating

    Plagiarism and cheating are regarded as very serious offences. In cases where cheating  has been confirmed, students have been severely penalised, from losing all marks for an assignment, to facing disciplinary action at the Faculty level. While we would wish that all our students adhere to sound ethical conduct and honesty, I will ask you to acquaint yourself with Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Faculty regulations that apply to students detected cheating as these will be applied in all detected cases.

    In this University, cheating means seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in any examination or any other written or practical work to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. It includes the use, or attempted use, of any means to gain an unfair advantage for any assessable work in the unit, where the means is contrary to the instructions for such work. 

    When you submit an individual assessment item, such as a program, a report, an essay, assignment or other piece of work, under your name you are understood to be stating that this is your own work. If a submission is identical with, or similar to, someone else's work, an assumption of cheating may arise. If you are planning on working with another student, it is acceptable to undertake research together, and discuss problems, but it is not acceptable to jointly develop or share solutions unless this is specified by your lecturer. 

    Intentionally providing students with your solutions to assignments is classified as "assisting to cheat" and students who do this may be subject to disciplinary action. You should take reasonable care that your solution is not accidentally or deliberately obtained by other students. For example, do not leave copies of your work in progress on the hard drives of shared computers, and do not show your work to other students. If you believe this may have happened, please be sure to contact your lecturer as soon as possible.

    Cheating also includes taking into an examination any material contrary to the regulations, including any bilingual dictionary, whether or not with the intention of using it to obtain an advantage.

    Plagiarism involves the false representation of another person's ideas, or findings, as your own by either copying material or paraphrasing without citing sources. It is both professional and ethical to reference clearly the ideas and information that you have used from another writer. If the source is not identified, then you have plagiarised work of the other author. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is insulting to the reader and grossly unfair to your student colleagues.


    When/when not to contact me personally

    Unless you have personal enquiries all communication related to the content of the unit must be via the newsgroups. If you do send me an email that relates to the content of the unit it will not be answered. Personal enquiries may include requests for

    • assignment extensions;
    • special consideration requests;
    • or the need to discuss your personal progress.
    You are certainly not asked to put anything of a personal nature into your newsgroup postings.

    Some students understandably feel a little uncertain about their assignment submissions, and ask if I can look over assignments prior to submission. Unfortunately this is not possible. Use the assignment newsgroup to place a general question related to your area of uncertainty rather than sending code or questions to our email. Make sure you read the "Guidelines for students on seeking assistance with assessment preparation" which explains how you may and may not seek help.


    Notices related to the unit during the semester will be placed on the Notices Newsgroup. Check this regularly. Failure to read the Notices newsgroup is not regarded as grounds for special consideration.

    Consultation Times

    Guaranteed: Tuesdays 3:30 – 5:00pm

    I try to be in my office on Tuesdays 3:30 to 5:00 but you can still come and see me any other times, as I am normally in my office. However, if I am busy with someone else, you have to wait or I may ask you to come back at a later time.

    You are welcome to ring or email me as well.

    If direct communication with your unit adviser/lecturer or tutor outside of consultation periods is needed you may contact the lecturer and/or tutors at:

    Miss Suryani Lim
    PhD Students' Room, and Lecturer
    Phone +61 3 990 26847 +61 3 990 27146

    All email communication to you from your lecturer will occur through your Monash student email address. Please ensure that you read it regularly, or forward your email to your main address. Also check that your contact information registered with the University is up to date in My.Monash.

    Last updated: Feb 27, 2006