The purpose of practical exercises for the Computer Science courses is to help you understand the application to practical programming of the theory that is taught in lectures; you will learn skills like programming, testing, and implementing and evaluating programs you have created. You must complete the practicals for each course in the year you study the course. You may not do some of the practicals for a particular lecture course in one year and some in another year.
Demonstrators at the practical sessions are there to help you get the most from the sessions. There are normally four 2-hour sessions for each course during the term.
During the first two weeks of the term you will be required to sign-up for a practical group, for each course with practicals. Most courses have two or three groups at different times in the week; please consult the online timetable for more information. Sign-up is done online using the Minerva database.
You can find information on the content of the practicals exercises on the webpage for each course, and guidance on how to write your practicals report in the course handbook.
Because we want to make sure that you’ll get all the guidance you need, and progress well, attendance at practical sessions is compulsory until you have completed the practical. The demonstrators will keep a record of your presence, update attendance and practical completion details on Minerva, and contact your tutor if you repeatedly fail to attend without excuse.
If you are unable to attend a practical session, for example because of illness, you should inform the demonstrator in charge, if possible before each session. You can find information on how to contact him or her on Minerva.
Practical Assessment (Signing off):
To show that you have completed the practical you will write a report on you work. Practicals and reports are assessed by the demonstrators during the practical sessions. As part of the assessment, the students demonstrate and discuss their work, including their report. Once this has been completed, the students print out their report, which is then marked and signed by a demonstrator. The demonstrators keep a record of who has attended the practical sessions and completed each practical exercise associated with a lecture course.
The following scale of marks is used by the markers; the descriptions attached to each mark indicate the rough level of performance expected, but may be adjusted to take into account the degree of difficulty of the practical exercise.
S+ The student has either completed the compulsory parts of the exercise and submitted an exemplary report, or completed all parts of the exercise and submitted an adequate report.
S The student has completed the compulsory parts of the exercise and submitted an adequate report.
S- The student has completed only part of the exercise, or has submitted an inferior report.
Practical Report Submission:
Once you have had the practical reports signed off you will need to submit the signed and marked paper copies to the Academic Administrator in the Department of Computer Science by noon of Friday of Week 5, Trinity Term. The Examiners will give you no credit for practical work that was not submitted for marking by the deadline and signed by a demonstrator, unless there are extenuating circumstances. Likewise, the demonstrators will not mark work that is late, unless there are extenuating circumstances. If there is a good reason why you can't submit your practical on time, for example because you were ill, then you may, with your tutor’s permission, submit your practical late. Please note that we will accept only one report for each practical - you will not be able to submit another version of your practical report if you decide to do the practicals twice.
Please download a cover sheet here, complete it with your details, and attach it to your report.
In examinations, the marks for practicals are treated separately from those for written papers. Practical marks do not affect the class of degree that you will be awarded, provided that you achieve a pass mark. However if you fail to reach the required standard in your practicals the examiners may decide that you failed the examination or reduce your overall classification, as stated in the exam conventions. A good performance across all practicals can result in being awarded a distinction in practical work which is noted on your degree transcript.