CS 141 Introduction to Computer Science I

Course Syllabus -- Spring 2008

Professor: Chris Lynch
Office: Science Center 377
Phone: 268-2384
email: clynch@clarkson.edu

Office hours: Every day 3-4

Teaching Assistant: Hai Lin
Office: Science Center 388
email: linh@clarkson.edu

TA's Office Hours: T 2-4 Th 1-4

Course Objectives:

  1. Students should learn fundamental principles of how to solve problems through computer programming. The programming techniques will include good program design practices and programming style, resulting in programs which are correct, reliable, robust, efficient, and maintainable.
  2. Students should learn basic features of the programming language C++.

Textbook: "Problem Solving with C++: The Object of Programming",
by Walter Savitch, Addison-Wesley (6th edition).


1 Introduction
1-2 Simple Programs
2-3 If Statements
4 Functions
5 More about functions
2-3 Loops
7 Arrays
8 Strings
6 Files
10 Classes
11 More about classes


Exams: The first exam will be approximately the end of February. The second exam will be approximately the beginning of April. You are responsible for all material in the lecture, as well as any reading assignments where I specify you are responsible. Class participation is encouraged. Check Old Exams for old exams to study from.

Labs: The computer laboratory periods are scheduled every Monday , in the Internet Teaching Lab in room SC 334 on the third floor of the Science Center. These labs are an essential part of the course. It is important to come prepared for each lab, having looked through the assignment and remembering to bring all necessary materials.

If you cannot get the lab done during the lab period, it will be due by midnight on Thursday night. If it is done my midnight on Monday, the day of the lab, then you will receive a 5% bonus. Also, you will automatically get this bonus if you come to the lab.

In addition to the scheduled labs, the TA will have office hours, where he will help you complete your lab assignments, answer questions about the course, help with homework, and so on. You may come in anytime during the office hours, at your convenience. This gives you the opportunity to finish your lab work under the supervision of the TA.

Programs: In addition to the labs, there will also be additional programs assigned in class. These programs will require more thinking than the labs. You may do these programs in groups of two. Programs will be assigned in class and generally due two weeks later. There will also be an early bonus for programs.

Late Policy: With computers, everything that can go wrong will go wrong at the last minute. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that you begin your assignments early. My suggestions are as follows: Start the assignment as soon as possible, so you will immediately realize if there is something you don't know. If you start it the night before it is due, chances are that you will have some problem that you won't be able to solve in time. Please follow my suggestions. If you don't, I can guarantee trouble. If you fall behind, it will be difficult to dig yourself out.

Academic integrity: Labs and programs for this class must be done individually. Feel free to discuss the assignments and strategies for solving them, but write them up yourselves. Some well-meaning students, in the process of "helping" a friend, wind up essentially doing the assignment for the friend. Not only is this not allowed, but you are really doing your friend a disservice. Programming is learned by doing it yourself.

You are encouraged to learn from each other and help each other understand Computer Science. Teach each other and exchange ideas, but be ethical -- don't copy or modify a program which isn't yours (or allow another student to write or debug your programs for you). So, if you are having trouble writing a function, don't copy the function from your friend. If you do, that will be considered cheating. In addition, you will not learn it, and will do badly on the tests. Instead, ask your friend (or somebody else) to explain to you what you need to know to write the function. Then write it yourself. It is considered cheating to look at somebody else's program, or to show your program to somebody else. I take cheating seriously. Furthermore, if you discuss your program with somebody else, that should be acknowledged in your program.

If you find yourself getting behind, please see the course instructor. We can work together to get you back on schedule. Resist the temptation to copy another's work. The penalty for the first offense will be a 0 for the assignment. A second offense will result in an F for the course. Repeated or flagrant cheating, including any cheating on tests, will result in an immediate notification to the academic integrity board.