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COSC 101B Introduction to Computing I Course Syllabus Spring 2013

Time Location Instructor Oce Oce hours Email Course schedule Course materials Course discussion

MWF 10:2011:10 am McGregory 317 Prof. Michael Hay McGregory 301 TBD - see moodle

Course Description and Goals

Computers and software are everywhere. Inside your mobile phone, your car, and quite possibly your toaster, hundreds, thousands, or millions of lines of software are running. Programs enable and mediate instant communication, global nancial networks, a smoothly running engine, and a perfectly browned slice of sourdough. Writing software to instruct computers to do even simple tasks can be challenging, fun, and creative. The goal of this course is to introduce students to computer science and problem solving by writing programs. Through lecture, discussion, programming assignments and other activities we will cover topics such as basic programming constructs (variables and types, control ow, conditionals, iteration), input and output, basic data structures, objects and classes, and recursion. We will attempt to strike a balance between the concepts behind computer science and programming, and practical skills to make the concepts real. No prior experience in computer science or programming is required for this course.

Textbook (required): The text is titled Solving Problems with Python. There are free electronic versions available online If you are interested in a dead-tree version, listen for an announcement in the rst week of class. There will be a cost for purchasing the paper version. Clicker (required): We will be using clickers in class. iClickers are available at the Colgate library. You can borrow one for the entire semester at no charge. Bring this device to every class starting on the second day of classes. Lecture notes, assignments, etc.: Course materials will be made available on Moodle http://moodle. Lecture notes will be posted after class. Online Discussion: We are using Piazza to host an online discussion and for course announcements. This is a great resource for getting help from me and your fellow students. You are expected to sign up for piazza and monitor it for course announcements (you can set up email notications).

COSC 101 B Syllabus, p.1

Software (optional) All programming will be done using the Python language. Classroom and lab computers will have python pre-installed. However, you may wish to install Python on your personal computer. I recommend installing the Enthought Python Distribution, freely available at There are also installers available at for all major operating systems. Be sure to get Python version 2.7 (the correct Enthought version is 7.3). Reference materials (optional) The ocial Python language website,, has loads of useful documentation. Especially useful references include the tutorial tutorial/ and the module index

Requirements and Expectations

This course and its associated lab count for a total of 1.25 credits. Therefore, I expect you to devote roughly 12.5 hours/week to this course. I give a rough indication of how that time should be allocated across the various requirements. Class and Clickers: I expect you to come to class and actively participate. One measure of participation will be answering clicker questions. There is no penalty for incorrect answers, but there is a penalty for not participating. You can miss clicker questions in up to two classes without penalty. After that, two points are deducted from participation for each class missed. If you do not answer clicker questions in ve or more classes, you will receive zero points for participation. (3 hours/week) Reading: Anything from the reading, even if not directly discussed in class, is fair game for the homeworks and exams. (1-2 hours/week) Homework: There are regularly scheduled homework assignments. Early in the semester, homework is due every week; later in the semester the assignments grow in complexity and may require 2 or more weeks to complete. (5.5-6.5 hours/week, non-exam weeks only) Exams: There will be four cumulative exams evenly spaced throughout the semester (roughly every 4 weeks). These exams are to completed individually; absolutely no collaboration is allowed. Tentative dates for the three mid-term exams are as follows: Friday Feb 15, Friday March 8 (day before spring break), and Friday April 12. All mid-terms will be held in class. (5.5-6.5 hours per exam week) Lab: To complete this course, you must also sign up for a 2-hour weekly laboratory section. Labs are designed to be completed during the lab period. Please note that lab is a separate course with a separate grade and (for most of you) a dierent instructor. The policies of lab may dier from the policies of this course. Your lab instructor will provide you with more information about his/her grading policies, etc. on or before the rst meeting. (2 hours/week)

Academic honesty and collaboration. You are expected to abide by Colgates academic honor code http: // Collaboration (i.e., discussing the problem and possible solutions) while working on assignments is ne, but the work you submit must be your own. Roughly speaking, it is okay to share ideas but it is not okay to share any artifacts (code, write-up, etc.). If you do collaborate, please include a note with any submitted work that states clearly with whom you collaborated. Late homeworks: The concepts in this course build on one another, so once a student gets behind, it becomes increasingly harder to keep up. For this reason, late homework will not be accepted. Homework that is not received before the deadline receives a zero. Unexpected circumstances: If unexpected circumstances arise that could impact your involvement in the course (inability to attend class, complete the homework on time, etc.), please let me know ASAP so COSC 101 B Syllabus, p.2

that we may design appropriate accommodations. Usually these accommodations will be made in consultation with your administrative dean. Grading: An outline of the composition of your nal grade is as follows. Grading is on an absolute scale (i.e., no curve). I reserve the right to adjust these proportions in extraordinary circumstances. Note that the composition below is for your course grade only; your lab grade is separate. (See your lab instructor for details regarding your lab grade.) Coursework Clicker questions Homeworks Mid-term exams (3, equally weighted) Final exam Portion of grade 6% 44% 30% 20%

Letter grade assignments are as follows. As a general rule, fractions are rounded down (e.g., an 89.9 is a B+, not an A-).
F < 60 D6062 D 6366 D+ 6769 C7072 C 7376 C+ 7779 B8082 B 8386 B+ 8789 A9092 A 9399 A+ 100

Getting Help
A key to your success at Colgate, and in life in general, is guring out what resources are available and using them to help you achieve your goals. For any homework problems or other class-related questions that you have, there are several options for getting help. Please take advantage of these opportunities! 1. See me during oce hours. 2. Post a question on Piazza By default, anyone in class can try to answer the question (me included). Piazza is a great tool for Q&A, and getting help fast from me and your classmates. You can post the question anonymously. I receive notications when new questions get posted, so between your classmates and myself, you wont have to wait long for help. 3. You can send me email ( However, if its a question in which others might benet from the answer, I encourage you to post it to Piazza instead. 4. There are open lab hours in McGregory room 319 (hours posted outside the door). Tutors are available during open lab hours to provide hands-on help with any questions. In addition, please be aware of the great resources that Colgate provides. Academic Support and Disabilities Services; Lynn Waldman, Director. If you feel you may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability, please contact Lynn Waldman, Director of Academic Support and Disability Services at 315-228-7375 in the Center for Learning, Teaching, and Research. academic-support-and-disability-services Counseling Center College life can sometimes get bumpy; if you are experiencing emotional or personal diculties, the Counseling Center oers completely condential and highly professional services. SOURCe Peer support and expertise related to computer and technology questions and problems, such as email, internet, and public access computers on campus. information-technology/workspace/support-for-students

COSC 101 B Syllabus, p.3