Syllabus for CSci 1001, Fall 2012
This is the course syllabus for Nic McPhee's Fall 2012 Introduction to the computing world (CSci 1001) course at the University of Minnesota, Morris
. For additional information (e.g., events and assignments) see the course schedule
or the course Moodle site
This is a 2 credit course which meets TTh 11-11:50am, in Sci 1020. There are no pre-requisites for this course.
The catalog description for this course is:
Basic hardware and software concepts, elementary data representation, problem solving techniques, algorithm development, introduction to web development, and methods for separation of content and presentation (such as HTML and CSS)
In just under 20 years the World Wide Web has grown from a little idea to one of the most important, ubiquitous, and influential technologies every developed, with Tim Berners-Lee (the "inventor" of the Web) being celebrated at this summer's London Olympics. How and why did that happen? What is
the World Wide Web and how does it work? How do we design content and program interactions for the Web?
Course goals and learning objectives
Some of the key goals for this course include:
- Understand how computers have impacted/shaped the world we live in (historical perspective)
- Understand a variety of facets of computer science (there are many subfields)
- Understand the basic hardware and software components of a computer system
- Understand when a computer is an effective tool to use for solving a problem
- Gain experience with a variety of software tools for problem solving
- Understand the basic principles of computer science, including the design of simple algorithms, data representation, and data structures
My office hours for Spring, 2014, are:
- Monday, 10:30-11:30am
- Tuesday, 1-2pm
- Thursday, 3-4pm
- Friday, 2:05-3pm
I'll typically start my office hours in my office (Sci 1315), but I may well move to a lab if, for example, a group has a question about a project they're working on. The lab I'd be most likely to go to is:
- The Computer Science labs (Sci 2610, 2630, and 2650)
If I leave the office during office hours I'll try to leave a note on my door telling you where I am, but you should always feel free to check the labs if you're looking for me.
Those times almost certainly won't work for everyone. You're always welcome to just drop by (see my complete schedule
), and I'm happy to make appointments anytime I'm free. You may also find my contact info
If these times work very badly for you (e.g., you have class conflicts all of these hours) then please let me know. If it turns out that a lot of folks have major conflicts then I'll want to reconsider my choices.
| Nic McPhee's contact info
|| mcphee AT morris DOT umn DOT edu
|| This is the preferred method of contact, but be warned that I get a lot of e-mail and bits get dropped now and then. Phone or IM is often better if it's critical or you need immediate feedback.
|| This is my "official" University web page, which consists primarily of links to my course web pages.
|| Same address as my e-mail above, as I've switched over to the U's new GMail system
|| My name as a WikiWord, i.e., "Nic McPhee" without the space
|| Make sure you identify yourself if your Twitter username doesn't obviously relate to the name on my course list
|| Sci 1315
|| Downstairs at the east end of the Science office wing
| Office phone
|| I don't have voice mail set up, so it'll just ring forever if I'm not there.
| Division office
|| They'll be happy to take a message, but phone, IM, or e-mail is better.
|| I don't get faxes very often, so you should probably warn me (e.g., via e-mail) so I'll make a point to check for a fax.
Division of Science and Mathematics
University of Minnesota, Morris
600 E. 4th Street
Morris, MN 56267-2132
I use the U's Google calendar
to manage my calendar. Google may be the Evil Empire of the next decade, but they make a fine on-line calendar tool. If you're using Google calendar, feel free to use that to invite me to events/appointments.
Texts and other materials
This course has 1 required text:
This book provides a nice, broad overview of computing with plenty of understandable examples. It does a nice job introducing important basic concepts in the fun (and highly useful) context of creating and displaying web content and has plenty of good exercises to practice with.
You'll need at least two pieces of software: jEdit
or some other text editor, and Firefox, Chrome, or some other web browser. You can use any text editor (even NotePad can work - shudder
You can use pretty much whatever web browser you want as long as it's fairly current
See the course schedule
or the course Moodle site
(or through your portal) for the calendar and outline of the course.
Course work and grading
This course will be primarily organized around a set of projects which will in turn generate the gradable products. The major projects (with their weights) will be:
- Assignments (problems sets, web pages, etc.): 45%
- Quizzes and Whaddayaknows: 15%
- Midterm Exam: 20%
- Final exam; 20%
You may use three grace days however you would like throughout the term - this means you may turn in one assignment three "school days" late, one assignment two "school days" late and another assignment one "school day" late, or three assignments one "school day" late, with no penalty. Here a "school day" is a day that classes, though not necessarily this one, meet on campus - i.e., no weekends or holidays will count against you. It's possible that late work won't be graded until the end of the semester. You can turn in late assignments beyond your grace days, but there's not guarantee that they'll be graded, and if they are it won't be until the end of the semester.
Collaboration and Use of Resources
Assignments are individual work, unless otherwise stated. While it's perfectly OK (and is encouraged) to discuss the problem sets in general terms with others in the class, your solution must be your own work. Copying any part of another person's solution (even if you modify the code) is considered academic dishonesty and will be dealt with according to the university's policy.
It is OK to use code found in a textbook or online, but such use must be credited (i.e. you have to state the exact source of the code and clearly explain how this code was used). Failure to credit the source constitutes academic dishonesty.
Using code samples from the book or from lecture notes as a starting point of your code is perfectly reasonable. However, using large chunks of code "as is" (even with proper credit) may significantly reduce your grade if your own contribution was small. If in doubt about what materials are appropriate to use and how, please ask the instructor.
Grade reporting on Moodle
Grades will be entered on the course Moodle site
and can be checked there throughout the semester. If you have any questions or concerns, please bring them up right away when it's much easier to address them.
If you're visiting this syllabus after the semester has ended, the link to the course Moodle site may no longer work. They archive old courses almost immediately, which puts them at a new URL; try this URL
instead. Failing that, please contact me
if you need access to any of that information.
Grading standards (definition of grades)
- A: Represents achievement that is outstanding relative to the level necessary to meet course requirements.
- B: Represents achievement that is significantly above the level necessary to meet course requirements.
- C: Represents achievement that meets the course requirements in every respect.
- D: Represents achievement that is worthy of credit even though it fails to meet fully the course requirements.
- S: Represents achievement that is satisfactory, which is equivalent to a C- or better.
- F (or N): Represents failure (or no credit) and signifies that the work was either (1) completed but at a level of achievement that is not worthy of credit or (2) was not completed and there was no agreement between the instructor and the student that the student would be awarded an I (see also I).
- I (Incomplete): Assigned at the discretion of the instructor when, due to extraordinary circumstances, e.g., hospitalization, a student who is otherwise doing well in the course is prevented from completing the work of the course on time. Requires a written agreement between instructor and student.
Senate academic workload policy
For undergraduate courses, one credit is defined as equivalent to an average of three hours of learning effort per week (over a full semester) necessary for an average student to achieve an average grade (a C) in the course. For example, an average student taking a four credit course that meets for four hours a week should expect to spend an additional eight hours a week on course work outside the classroom in order to get a C in that course.
protects your right as a student to keep your work and identifying information confidential. Public discourse, however, is crucial to the intellectual and academic process, whether it be within the course or in the broader world. Information such as grades will be protected and confidential, but our our use of technologies such as Moodle, wikis, and Google Docs will sometimes make students' names and U of M Internet IDs visible to other people in the course and, potentially, to the wider Internet. If you have concerns about the visibility of your Internet ID, please contact me for further information.
The Academic Assistance office
on campus provides free tutoring for a variety of introductory courses, and well as general assistance in a host of areas (e.g., study skills, careful reading, and time management). The Writing Room
can be an excellent source of assistance with writing assignments.
Accessibility and institutional support
The University of Minnesota is committed to providing all students equal access to learning opportunities. Disability Services is the campus office that works with students who have disabilities to provide and/or arrange reasonable accommodations. Students registered with Disability Services who have a letter requesting accommodations, are encouraged to contact the instructor early in the semester. Students who have, or think they may have, a disability (e.g. psychiatric, attentional, learning, vision, hearing, physical, or systemic), are invited to contact Disability Services for a confidential discussion at 320-589-6163 or
freyc AT umn DOT edu
. Additional information is available at the DS web site at http://www.morris.umn.edu/services/dsoaac/dso
The University of Minnesota is committed to providing all students equal access to learning opportunities. Disability Services is the campus office that works with students who have disabilities to provide and/or arrange reasonable accommodations. Students registered with Disability Services, who have a letter requesting accommodations, are encouraged to contact the instructor early in the semester. Students who have, or think they may have, a disability (e.g. psychiatric, attentional, learning, vision, hearing, physical, or systemic), are invited to contact Disability Services for a confidential discussion at 320-589-6163 (320-589-6178 V/TTY) or firstname.lastname@example.org
. Additional information is available at the DS website http://www.morris.umn.edu/services/dsoaac/dso
As a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug problems, feeling down, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. These mental health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance or reduce your ability to participate in daily activities. University of Minnesota services are available to assist you with addressing these and other concerns you may be experiencing. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential mental health services available on campus via http://www.mentalhealth.umn.edu
University policy prohibits sexual harassment as defined by the University of Minnesota Regents' policy: http://www1.umn.edu/regents/policies/humanresources/SexHarassment.pdf
. In general, harassment or intimidation of others in the class for whatever reason is unacceptable (and hardly conducive to a successful learning environment).
Regarding academic integrity
Scholastic honesty is of fundamental importance to the functioning of any community of scholars. Although the pursuit of knowledge is always a communal project, individual academic achievement must be the result of a person's own efforts and abilities. Members of an academic community are responsible for their own personal and academic development and for fostering an academic climate in which all members draw from and give back to the community. The University is charged with implementing those policies which will help bring about such an academic climate. However, the ultimate responsibility for creating a community of scholars, in which mutual self-respect flourishes, lies with the individual members of the community. Each member must, therefore, act according to the highest standards of academic honesty.
-- from the preface of UMM's Student Academic Integrity Policy
Academic integrity is essential to a positive teaching and learning environment. All students enrolled in University courses are expected to complete coursework responsibilities with fairness and honesty. Failure to do so by seeking unfair advantage over others or misrepresenting someone else?s work as your own, can result in disciplinary action. The University Student Conduct Code defines scholastic dishonesty as follows:
Scholastic Dishonesty: submission of false records of academic achievement; cheating on assignments or examinations; plagiarizing; altering, forging, or misusing a University academic record; taking, acquiring, or using test materials without faculty permission; acting alone or in cooperation with another to falsify records or to obtain dishonestly grades, honors, awards, or professional endorsement.
Within this course, a student responsible for scholastic dishonesty can be assigned a penalty up to and including an "F" or "N" for the course. If you have any questions regarding the expectations for a specific assignment or exam, ask.
For more information see:
Regarding classroom conduct
Students are expected to interact with the instructor and other students with respect and courtesy. Students should attend every class session prepared to learn and work. Participation in class is expected, which includes both speaking up and listening. Give class your full attention while here. Complete all assignments, including the reading, in a timely fashion. Turn off cell phones and other electronic distractions during class so we may all better focus on the material. Students whose behavior is disruptive either to the instructor or to other students will be asked to leave. Students whose behavior suggests the need for counseling or other assistance may be referred to counseling services. Students whose behavior violates the University Student Conduct Code will be subject to disciplinary action.
Some relevant University Senate statements and policies
- 22 Aug 2012