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Unit of study_

IDEA9103: Design Programming

Semester 2, 2022 [Normal day] - Remote

This unit provides an introduction to the development of software in design and the creative industries. It teaches an understanding of the fundamentals of computational thinking, as well as skills in the design and implementation of software for creative expression. It introduces students to tools for building interactive design prototypes that express their interaction design skills through programming. It covers knowledge of programming concepts; creative coding practices; and Javascript and the p5.js library. Key concepts covered in this unit include: variables, functions, control flows, and algorithmic thinking. Students learn how to approach creative expression through the medium of code, which will allow them to incorporate programming into their own design practice as well as to collaborate effectively with software developers. This unit is a foundational core unit in the Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts program.

Unit details and rules

Unit code IDEA9103
Academic unit Design Lab
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Samuel Gillespie,
Lecturer(s) Samuel Gillespie,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Online task Creative Quiz
Complete two creative coding challenges within the assessment timeframe.
30% Mid-semester break
Due date: 27 Sep 2022 at 23:59
A 2-question, 2-hour online quiz.
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Online task Coding Quiz
4 part quiz due once weekly for 5 weeks (week 1 practice)
30% Multiple weeks A 4 part coding skill assesment.
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3
Assignment Creative Code Design
Design and implement a creative code design using p5.js.
Due date: 07 Nov 2022 at 23:59
Final Design Assignment
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Assessment summary

Design as a practice allows us to push the boundaries of technology to discover new ways of interacting with the world. Designers were quick to embrace the possibilities of modern computing, and in the middle of last century began using programming as a creative tool. Early computer artists began to explore the creative behaviours exhibited by computational systems and discovered a whole new way of generating designs.


In this class you will use programming as a creative tool to design algorithmic systems which produce visual designs. Over the course of this unit, you will:

  • Develop a knowledge of algorithmic design methods.
  • Learn the fundamentals of JavaScript using the P5.js framework.
  • Design interactive computational systems that algorithmically produce dynamic behaviours.

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

Work of outstanding quality, demonstrating mastery of the learning outcomes assessed.
The work shows significant innovation, experimentation, critical analysis, synthesis, insight,
creativity, and/or exceptional skill.


75 - 84

Work of excellent quality, demonstrating a sound grasp of the learning outcomes
assessed. The work shows innovation, experimentation, critical analysis, synthesis, insight,
creativity, and/or superior skill.


65 - 74

Work of good quality, demonstrating more than satisfactory achievement of the learning
outcomes assessed, or work of excellent quality for a majority of the learning outcomes


50 - 64

Work demonstrating satisfactory achievement of the learning outcomes assessed.


0 - 49

Work that does not demonstrate satisfactory achievement of one or more of the learning
outcomes assessed.

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 Programming for Designers Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 02 Making Patterns with Code Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 03 Simple Algorithmic Design Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 04 Designing Reusable Code Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 05 Transformations and Events Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 06 Designing with Data Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 07 Problem Solving with Code Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 08 Object-oriented Modelling Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 09 Cybernetic Systems Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 10 Working with Media Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 11 Generative Art Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 12 Computational Creativity Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 13 Design Practice and Revision Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Attendance and class requirements

Please refer to the Resolutions of the University School:

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. comprehend, modify and integrate code from diverse sources
  • LO2. understand and communicate design decisions and the architectural constraints of computer programs
  • LO3. use a combination of computational and design thinking to synthesise interactive artefacts and explore programming as a creative medium
  • LO4. create interactive digital artefacts by authoring programs
  • LO5. evaluate the technical, aesthetic and human-centred qualities of interactive digital artefacts.

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.

The scope of the final assessment was narrowed to improve clarity for students and extra documentation was created to ensure that there was a consistency with assignment submissions.


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.