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Unit of study_

ELEC1601: Introduction to Computer Systems

Semester 2, 2021 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit of study introduces the fundamental digital concepts upon which the design and operation of modern digital computers are based. A prime aim of the unit is to develop a professional view of, and a capacity for inquiry into, the field of computing. Topics covered include: data representation, basic computer organisation, the CPU, elementary gates and logic, machine language, assembly language and high level programming constructs.

Unit details and rules

Unit code ELEC1601
Academic unit Electrical and Information Engineering
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge

HSC Mathematics extension 1 or 2

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator David Boland,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Open book) Type C final exam hurdle task Final exam
40% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO7 LO8 LO9
Participation group assignment Lab Completion
Lab completion (group)
10% Multiple weeks 3 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO7 LO8
Assignment Laboratory report
5% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4 LO7 LO9
Tutorial quiz In-class Quiz
20% Week 07
Due date: 16 Oct 2020 at 12:00
50 mins
Outcomes assessed: LO7 LO8
Presentation group assignment Project demonstration
Project demonstration
18% Week 12 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO8 LO6 LO5
Assignment group assignment Project report
Project Report
7% Week 12 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO9
hurdle task = hurdle task ?
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type C final exam = Type C final exam ?

Assessment summary

  • Lab Completion: Demonstrate all group members complete and understand work.
  • Midterm exam: Multiple choice question exam.
  • Laboratory report: Solve a problem requiring the use of hardware and embedded systems and then write a professional report describing the session (1 report during weeks 2 - 6).
  • Project report: Report describing how the project was implemented.
  • Project demonstration: Demonstrate the result of the project to the rest of the class.
  • Final exam: End of semester exam.
Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Course organization and computer system overview Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO9
Week 02 Encoding information in binary Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO9
Arduino Programming Computer laboratory (3 hr) LO3
Week 03 Computer memory Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO7 LO9
Lights and Buzzer Computer laboratory (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 04 Boolean algebra and combinational logic Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO7 LO9
Temperature sensor and RGB LED Computer laboratory (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 05 Sequential circuit design Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO7 LO9
Accelerometer and Servos Computer laboratory (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 06 Flexible resistor and DC motor Computer laboratory (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 07 AVR architecture Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO8 LO9
Bot Assembly Computer laboratory (3 hr) LO4
Week 08 Instruction set architecture (AVR) Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO8 LO9
Robot Vision, Communication Computer laboratory (3 hr) LO3 LO4
Week 09 Assembly programs Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO8 LO9
Project Computer laboratory (3 hr) LO2 LO5 LO6
Week 10 Addressing modes Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO8 LO9
Project Computer laboratory (3 hr) LO2 LO5 LO6
Week 11 High level programming constructs Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO8 LO9
Project Computer laboratory (3 hr) LO2 LO5 LO6
Week 12 Subroutines and exam review Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO8 LO9
Project Demo Computer laboratory (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5

Attendance and class requirements

You must participate in the lab (can be done online)

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. write reports to present design specific information and results concisely and accurately
  • LO2. engage in team-based design, drawing on the knowledge, skills and creative talent of all members to deliver a solution to a particular engineering problem
  • LO3. appreciate the professional practice, standards and responsibilities in working with hardware and software to the limit afforded by lab sessions and exercises
  • LO4. apply concept, principles and techniques to configure a basic system
  • LO5. scope, build and test an engineering artefact
  • LO6. demonstrate proficiency in applying computer engineering knowledge in the design, construction and testing of commensurate solutions for specific engineering problems
  • LO7. demonstrate understanding of the concepts and principles of computer architecture, digital logic design and microprocessor assembly language
  • LO8. demonstrate understanding of the concepts, principles and relationship for computers, the internet and clients and servers
  • LO9. demonstrate fundamental knowledge of computer engineering issues.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Removed small assessments (unpopular) Added lab completion (boost general understanding for all students) Added online only option Changed project requirements to be more clear & challenging


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.