Clarkson University
CS 141: Introduction to Computer Science I
Course Syllabus -- Spring 2004

Professor: William Hesse
Office: Science Center 383
Phone: 268-2387

Office hours:
Monday 2:00-4:00
Tuesday 9:00-12:00
Wednesday 1:00-3:00
Friday 1:00-2:00
Or by appointment

Teaching Assistant: Steve Evanchik
Office: COSI lab (SC 336)
Phone: 268-3837

TA's Office Hours:
Tuesday 10:00-12:00, 3:00-4:30

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 (4th ed.)",
by Walter Savitch, Addison-Wesley.

1 Introduction
2 Simple Programs
2 If Statements
3 Functions
4 More about functions
7 Loops
5 File Input/Output
10 Arrays
10 Strings
5 Files
6 Structures and Classes

GRADING The grading in this class has three parts. The first part is a numerical score, based on all components of the course. Labs, assignments, and tests will be curved at the time they are graded, and there will be no curve applied to the final class averages. The components are weighted according to this table:

The second part of the grading is a requirement for advanced work in order to receive a grade of B+ or A. The programming assignments will have advanced versions that students can do instead. Students must do the advanced versions of 2 assignments to be eligible for a B+, and the advanced versions of 4 assignments to be eligible for an A. This is so that the standard versions of the programming assignments can be at a level that all students can master, but so that the best students can work on more challenging problems.

The third part of the grading is a minimum requirement on the final. Students must have a (curved) score of 45 or greater on the final to pass the course.

Exams: 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 Fall '03 Exams and Old Exams for old exams to study from.

Labs: The computer laboratory periods are scheduled every Tuesday, in the Internet lab 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.

Some of the labs are too long to get done during the lab period. Therefore, lab assignments do not need to be turned in until Monday of the following week, by the beginning of lecture. If you turn them in by Friday of the lab week by the beginning of lecture, you get a 5% bonus. Turn all labs in to the TA.

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 programming assignments will require more thinking than the labs. Programs will be assigned in class and due in class two or three weeks later. Programs must be turned in by midnight on the day they are due. Programming assignments will be corrected, and returned.

Students' programs must compile, run, and produce the correct output to receive full credit. If they do not run and produce the correct output, they will receive a grade of at most 80%. Partial credit up to that limit will be given based on the correctness of the program.

Because half of the work of writing a program is debugging that program (finding and removing errors from it), make sure to start your programs early. You may also then send me your programs and ask questions about them, and receive answers in time to fix your programs.

Because a large part of learning to program is learning about common errors, and how to avoid them, I will use examples from students' programs in lecture. Students' names will be removed, so they cannot be identified. If you don't wish your code to be used this way, let me know.

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. Then try to finish the assignments early, so you receive the bonus points. If you have problems finishing it on that day, you will have more time to fix any problems. Please follow my suggestions. If you don't, I can guarantee trouble. If you fall behind, it will be difficult to dig yourself out.

Attendance: Attendance is required and will be taken in this class. This will constitute the major part of the class participation score, so that each class missed takes away 1/4 of 1% of your final grade. Verbal excuses will be accepted for at most two absences, otherwise written notices are needed.

Academic integrity: Labs for this class must be done individually. All the help you need to complete a lab must be gotten from the lab instructor or professor. Programming assignments may be discussed with other students. However, do not look at other students' code until you have written that section of code yourself. At that point, you may discuss your code and correct each other's errors. Feel free to discuss the assignments and strategies for solving them (algorithms), but write the code yourself. The exact rules for "doing it yourself" are:

There are many ways to write any program, and so two students submitting essentially identical code will be suspected of academic dishonesty. A good way to show that your program is your own work is to save intermediate versions of the program as you work, with file names like "program1version1.cpp", "program1version2.cpp", and so on.

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.

I take cheating seriously. Cheating on tests, labs, or assignments will result in a grade reduction or failing grade for the course, and notification of the academic integrity board.

If you find yourself getting behind, please see the course instructor. We can work together to get you back on schedule. Besides learning programming in C++, you should also be practicing good study habits, time management, and other learning skills in this class.

Author: William Hesse (based on Chris Lynch's syllabus)
Last Modified: Jan 7, 2004