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Monash University

FIT9017 Foundations of programming - Semester 1, 2012

This unit aims to provide students with the basic concepts involved in the development of well structured software using a programming language. It concentrates on the development of problem solving skills applicable to all stages of the development process. Students gain experience with the translation of a problem specification into a program design, and the implementation of that design into a programming language. The subject introduces software engineering topics such as maintainability, readability, testing, documentation, modularisation, and reasoning about correctness of programs. Students are expected to read and understand existing code as well as develop new code.

Mode of Delivery

  • Caulfield (Evening)
  • Gippsland (Off-campus)

Contact Hours

2 hrs lectures/wk, 2 hrs laboratories/wk


Students will be expected to spend a total of 12 hours per week during semester on this unit as follows:

  • two-hour lecture and
  • two-hour tutorial/laboratory requiring advance preparation
  • a minimum of 2-3 hours of personal study per one hour of contact time in order to satisfy the reading and assignment expectations.

Unit Relationships



Chief Examiner

Campus Lecturer


Michael Smith, Consultation hours: To be advised.


Shane Moore

Consultation hours: To be advised.

Academic Overview


At the completion of this unit students will:
  • be competent in designing, constructing, testing and documenting small computer programs using Java;
  • be able to demonstrate the software engineering principles of maintainability, readability, and modularisation; and,
  • understand the concepts of the object-oriented style of programming.

Graduate Attributes

Monash prepares its graduates to be:
  1. responsible and effective global citizens who:
    1. engage in an internationalised world
    2. exhibit cross-cultural competence
    3. demonstrate ethical values
  2. critical and creative scholars who:
    1. produce innovative solutions to problems
    2. apply research skills to a range of challenges
    3. communicate perceptively and effectively

Assessment Summary

Examination (3 hours): 60%; In-semester assessment: 40%

Assessment Task Value Due Date
Assignment 1, Assignment 2 (Stage 1) & Assignment 2 (Stage 2) 40% total (15%, 5% & 20%) Assignment 1 - 16 April 2012; Assignment 2 (Stage 1) - 7 May 2012 and (Stage 2) - 25 May 2012
Examination 1 60% To be advised

Teaching Approach

Lecture and tutorials or problem classes
This teaching and learning approach provides facilitated learning, practical exploration and peer learning.


Our feedback to You

Types of feedback you can expect to receive in this unit are:
  • Informal feedback on progress in labs/tutes
  • Graded assignments with comments

Your feedback to Us

Monash is committed to excellence in education and regularly seeks feedback from students, employers and staff. One of the key formal ways students have to provide feedback is through SETU, Student Evaluation of Teacher and Unit. The University's student evaluation policy requires that every unit is evaluated each year. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the surveys. The feedback is anonymous and provides the Faculty with evidence of aspects that students are satisfied and areas for improvement.

For more information on Monash's educational strategy, and on student evaluations, see:

Previous Student Evaluations of this unit

Over the past years in which the unit has been running, students have reported an overall satisfaction with the content and presentation of the unit's material.

If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to

Required Resources

Please check with your lecturer before purchasing any Required Resources. Prescribed texts are available for you to borrow in the library, and prescribed software is available in student labs.

In this unit we will use Java and the BlueJ development environment.
This software is available on CD with the prescribed text book and is installed in the student computer labs at Caulfield campus


  • Java software is freely available to download from Sun website at: http://java.sun.com/javase/downloads/
  • BlueJ is also freely available to download from the BlueJ site at: http://www.bluej.org/

You will be given instructions on how to use this in your first tutorial.
You are expected to work in the BlueJ development environment.

Prescribed text(s)

Prescribed texts are available for you to borrow in the library.

Barnes and Kolling . (2011). Objects First with Java . (5th) Prentice Hall.

Unit Schedule

Week Activities Assessment
0   No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0
1 Introduction to FIT9017 and expectations; introduction to programming, basic OO concepts, objects, classes, attributes, behaviour, state and identity. Note: Tutorials commence in Week 1
2 Class definition, fields, constructors, methods, parameter passing, variables, expressions, statements, assignment, primitive data types, arithmetic operators, strings, basic output.  
3 Selection (if and switch statements), conditions, relational & logical operators, shorthand operators, ++ operator, precedence, scope and lifetime, basic input.  
4 Object creation and interaction, abstraction, modularisation, class & object diagrams, object creation, primitive vs. object types, method calling, message passing, method signatures, method overloading.  
5 Class libraries, importing classes, collections, ArrayLists, arrays, iteration, pre and post test loops.  
6 Testing, unit testing, testing heuristics, regression testing, debugging.  
7 Class documentation, Javadoc, identity vs. equality, more on strings, sets and maps, conditional operator. Assignment 1 due 16 April 2012
8 Information hiding, encapsulation, access modifiers, scoping, class variables, class methods, constants.  
9 Program design, design methods, responsibility-driven design, design documentation, testing a program, specifying a test strategy.  
10 Programming errors, exception handling, file I/O. Assignment 2 (Stage 1) due 7 May 2012
11 Code quality, coupling, cohesion, refactoring, using the Java SDK  
12 Inheritance, superclasses, subclasses, subtypes, substitution, polymorphic variables, protected access, casting, wrapper classes, collection hierarchy. Assignment 2 (Stage 2) due 25 May 2012
  SWOT VAC No formal assessment is undertaken SWOT VAC
  Examination period LINK to Assessment Policy: http://policy.monash.edu.au/policy-bank/

*Unit Schedule details will be maintained and communicated to you via your MUSO (Blackboard or Moodle) learning system.

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Policy

Faculty Policy - Unit Assessment Hurdles (http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/staff/edgov/policies/assessment-examinations/unit-assessment-hurdles.html)

Assessment Tasks


  • Assessment task 1
    Assignment 1, Assignment 2 (Stage 1) & Assignment 2 (Stage 2)
    These assignments will require students to design, write, test and document a program in Java.
    40% total (15%, 5% & 20%)
    Criteria for assessment:

    These are individual assignments and must be entirely your own work.

    Assessment of these assignments is by interview.  You will be asked to demonstrate your system during an interview and can also expect to be asked to explain your system, your code, your design, discuss design decisions and alternatives and modify your code / system as required. Marks will not be awarded for any section of code or functionality that a student cannot explain or modify satisfactorily. (The marker may delete excessive comments in code before a student is asked to explain that code).

    Further details on the tasks and requirements will be made available in the assignments' specifications. Arrangements regarding interviews will also be outlined in the assignments' specifications. 

    Due date:
    Assignment 1 - 16 April 2012; Assignment 2 (Stage 1) - 7 May 2012 and (Stage 2) - 25 May 2012


  • Examination 1
    3 hours
    Type (open/closed book):
    Closed book
    Electronic devices allowed in the exam:

Assignment submission

It is a University requirement (http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/conduct/plagiarism-procedures.html) for students to submit an assignment coversheet for each assessment item. Faculty Assignment coversheets can be found at http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/forms/. Please check with your Lecturer on the submission method for your assignment coversheet (e.g. attach a file to the online assignment submission, hand-in a hard copy, or use an online quiz).

Online submission

If Electronic Submission has been approved for your unit, please submit your work via the VLE site for this unit, which you can access via links in the my.monash portal.

Extensions and penalties

Returning assignments

Resubmission of assignments

There will be no resubmission of assignments.

Referencing requirements

Students must reference material used from other sources.

Other Information


Student services

The University provides many different kinds of support services for you. Contact your tutor if you need advice and see the range of services available at www.monash.edu.au/students. For Sunway see http://www.monash.edu.my/Student-services, and for South Africa see http://www.monash.ac.za/current/

The Monash University Library provides a range of services and resources that enable you to save time and be more effective in your learning and research. Go to http://www.lib.monash.edu.au or the library tab in my.monash portal for more information. At Sunway, visit the Library and Learning Commons at http://www.lib.monash.edu.my/. At South Africa visit http://www.lib.monash.ac.za/.

Academic support services may be available for students who have a disability or medical condition. Registration with the Disability Liaison Unit is required. Further information is available as follows:

  • Website: http://monash.edu/equity-diversity/disability/index.html;
  • Email: dlu@monash.edu
  • Drop In: Equity and Diversity Centre, Level 1 Gallery Building (Building 55), Monash University, Clayton Campus, or Student Community Services Department, Level 2, Building 2, Monash University, Sunway Campus
  • Telephone: 03 9905 5704, or contact the Student Advisor, Student Commuity Services at 03 55146018 at Sunway

Reading list

The following may provide useful extra reading for this unit. Copies of these are available in the Caulfield Library (on reserve, one day loan or in the normal circulation).

Java Foundations, Lewis, De Pasquale & Chase, (Pearson Education), 2008 

Big Java (4th edition), Cay Horstman (John Wiley & Sons), 2010 

Java Programming - from Problem Analysis to Program Design (3rd edition), D. S Malik (Thomson), 2008

Thinking in Java (4th edition), Eckell (Prentice Hall), 2006

Absolute Java (3rd edition), Savitch (Addison Wesley), 2008

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