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Monash University

FIT5131 Programming foundations - Semester 2, 2014

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 (Off-campus)
  • Caulfield (Evening)

Workload Requirements

Minimum total expected workload equals 12 hours per week comprising:

(a.) Contact hours for on-campus students:

  • 2 hours of lectures
  • One 2-hour laboratory

(b.) Study schedule for off-campus students:

  • Off-campus students generally do not attend lecture and tutorial sessions, however should plan to spend equivalent time working through the relevant resources and participating in discussion groups each week.

(c.) Additional requirements (all students):

  • A minimum of 8 hours independent study per week for completing lab and project work, private study and revision.

Unit Relationships


FIT9004, FIT9017

Chief Examiner

Campus Lecturer


Andy Cheng

Consultation hours: To be advised



To be advised

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 the Student Evaluation of Teaching and Units (SETU) survey. 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, see:

www.monash.edu.au/about/monash-directions/ and on student evaluations, see: www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/quality/student-evaluation-policy.html

Previous Student Evaluations of this Unit

Based on previous student feedback this unit is well structured. However, we did make some changes to the materials covered and the assessment strategy last semester due to a different cohort of students (a large group of MBIS students were enroled in this unit).

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

Academic Overview

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students should be able to:
  • design, construct, test and document small computer programs using Java;
  • interpret and demonstrate software engineering principles of maintainability, readability, and modularisation;
  • explain and apply the concepts of the "object-oriented" style of programming.

Unit Schedule

Week Activities Assessment
0 Important : Please make sure you have allocated yourself to a tutorial. All tutorials start in Week ONE. The tutorials involve important tasks which will are essential for the unit's learning. You are unlikely to pass the unit if you do not attend the tutorials. The following topics & schedules may be varied slightly during the semesters, depending on student progress. No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0
1 Introduction to FIT5131 and expectations; introduction to programming, basic OO concepts, objects, classes, attributes, behaviour, state and identity. Important : Tutorials commence this week (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 Class documentation, Javadoc, identity vs. equality, more on strings, sets and maps, conditional operator, Arrays.  
7 Testing, Program Errors, Test Strategy, regression testing, debugging. Assignment 1 due
8 Information hiding, encapsulation, access modifiers, scoping, class variables, class methods, constants.  
9 Program design & techniques, design methods, responsibility-driven design, design documentation.  
10 Programming errors, exception handling, file I/O.  
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 due
  SWOT VAC No formal assessment is undertaken in 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 learning system.

Teaching Approach

Lecture and tutorials or problem classes
This teaching and learning approach helps students to initially encounter information at lectures, discuss and explore the information during tutorials, and practice in a hands-on lab environment

Assessment Summary

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

Assessment Task Value Due Date
Assignment 1; Assignment 2 40% total (15%; 25%) Assignment 1 due Week 7; Assignment 2 due Week 12
Examination 1 60% To be advised

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Policy

Assessment Tasks


  • Assessment task 1
    Assignment 1; Assignment 2
    These assignments will require students to design, write, test and document programs in Java to demonstrate their understanding and ability to apply the concepts presented at various stages of the semester.
    40% total (15%; 25%)
    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 due Week 7; Assignment 2 due Week 12


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

Learning resources

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

Monash Library Unit Reading List (if applicable to the unit)

Faculty of Information Technology Style Guide

Feedback to you

Examination/other end-of-semester assessment feedback may take the form of feedback classes, provision of sample answers or other group feedback after official results have been published. Please check with your lecturer on the feedback provided and take advantage of this prior to requesting individual consultations with staff. If your unit has an examination, you may request to view your examination script booklet, see http://intranet.monash.edu.au/infotech/resources/students/procedures/request-to-view-exam-scripts.html

Types of feedback you can expect to receive in this unit are:

  • Informal feedback on progress in labs/tutes
  • Graded assignments with comments

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.

Assignment submission

It is a University requirement (http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/conduct/student-academic-integrity-managing-plagiarism-collusion-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). Please note that it is your responsibility to retain copies of your assessments.

Online submission

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

Required Resources

Please check with your lecturer before purchasing any Required Resources. Limited copies of 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 the 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)

Limited copies of prescribed texts are available for you to borrow in the library.

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

Other Information


Monash has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and to provide advice on how they might uphold them. You can find Monash’s Education Policies at: www.policy.monash.edu.au/policy-bank/academic/education/index.html

Key educational policies include:

Faculty resources and policies

Important student resources including Faculty policies are located at http://intranet.monash.edu.au/infotech/resources/students/

Graduate Attributes Policy

Student Charter

Student services

Monash University Library

Disability Liaison Unit

Students who have a disability or medical condition are welcome to contact the Disability Liaison Unit to discuss academic support services. Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs) visit all Victorian campuses on a regular basis.

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