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Course Syllabus

Computer Science 102 Spring 2022

Course Instructor

  • Name: Dr. Gregory M. Kapfhammer
  • Office Location: Alden Hall 108

Instructor Office Hours

  • Monday: 1:00 PM-3:00 PM, Alden Hall, 15 minute time slots
  • Tuesday: 5:00 PM-5:30 PM, Alden Hall, 15 minute time slots
  • Wednesday: 5:00 PM-5:30 PM, Alden Hall, 15 minute time slots
  • Thursday: 1:00 PM-3:00 PM, Alden Hall, 15 minute time slots
  • Friday: 1:00 PM-2:00 PM, Alden Hall, 15 minute time slots
Scheduling Office Hours

To schedule a meeting with the course instructor during his office hours, please visit the schedule page of his web site and click the "Schedule an Appointment" link at the top of the page. Now you can schedule an appointment by clicking a suitable box in Google Calendar and then reserving an open time slot. At his point, the details about your chosen appointment will appear in both your Google Calendar and the instructor's Google Calendar. If you have chosen an appointment slot through Google Meet, please check the event for a link to join the meeting with your browser.

Course Meeting Schedule

  • Discussion and Group Work Session: Monday and Wednesday, 10:40 AM-11:40 AM
  • Programming Session: Friday, 10:40 AM-11:40 AM
  • Laboratory Session: Tuesday, 2:50 PM-4:40 PM

Course Description

An introduction to the foundations of computer science with an emphasis on understanding the abstract structures used to represent discrete objects. Participating in hands-on activities that often require teamwork, students learn the computational methods and logical principles that they need to create and manipulate discrete objects in a programming environment. Students also learn how to write, organize, and document a program's source code so that it is easily accessible to intended users of varied backgrounds. During a weekly laboratory session students use state-of-the-art technology to complete projects, reporting on their results through both written documents and oral presentations. Students are invited to use their own departmentally approved laptop in this course; a limited number of laptops are available for use during class and lab sessions. Prerequisite: Knowledge of elementary algebra.

  • Prerequisite: CMPSC 100 or permission of the instructor.
  • Distribution Requirements: QR, SP.

Required Textbook

Course Policies

Grading

The grade that a student receives in this class will be based on the following categories. All of these percentages are approximate and, if the need to do so presents itself, it is possible for the course instructor to change the assigned percentages during the academic semester.

Category Percentage
Course Participation 5%
Midterm Examination 10%
Final Examination 15%
Source Code Surveys 15%
Programming Projects 15%
Engineering Efforts 40%

These grading categories have the following definitions:

  • Course Participation: After either an unexcused absence or a late attendance to class on two separate occasions, a student's course participation grade will be reduced by half a percentage for each additional time they are absent or late in an unexcused fashion. Students who need to miss class or attend late for an excused reason should communicate their situation to the course instructor as soon as possible.

  • Midterm Examination: The midterm is an online cumulative assessment covering all of the material from the class, programming, and laboratory sessions, as outlined on the review sheet. Unless prior arrangements are made with the course instructor, all students will be expected to use their computer to take this test on the scheduled date and complete the test in the stated period of time.

  • Final Examination: The final is an online cumulative assessment covering all of the material from the class, programming, and laboratory sessions, as outlined on the review sheet. Unless prior arrangements are made with the course instructor, all students will be expected to use their computer to take this test on the scheduled date and complete the test in the stated period of time.

  • Source Code Surveys: Graded on a checkmark basis and building on material in the textbook and the content covered during that day's in-person classroom session, technical challenges have the following goals: (i) help a learner to demonstrate that they can remember learned material by recalling facts, basic concepts, and answers to questions presented in the textbook and (ii) allow a learner to demonstrate an understanding of facts and ideas by translating, interpreting, and stating the main technical ideas presented in the textbook.

  • Programming Projects: Graded on a checkmark basis and building on material in the textbook, the content covered during that week's in-person classroom session, and the weekly technical challenges, the programming projects further equip a learner to solve new problems in the field of discrete structures by applying — in a new way — their knowledge of the facts, techniques, and rules of discrete mathematics and rigorous Python programming.

  • Engineering Efforts: These assignments invite students to explore different techniques for rigorously designing, implementing, evaluating, and documenting real-world Python programs. These assignments will invite students to use tools like a text editor, a terminal window, and a modern Python development environment to implement functions that strike the right balance between understandability, generalizability, and specialization. Students will also use the data collected from running experiments to evaluate the implementation of a Python function as they consider, for instance, its efficiency and correctness.

Assignment Submission

All assignments will have a stated due date shared through GitHub, GitHub Classroom, and Google Calendar. Electronic versions of the engineering efforts, programming projects, and source code surveys must be submitted to the instructor through a student's GitHub repository. No credit will be awarded for any course work that is not submitted to your GitHub repository with the required name. Unless special arrangements are made with the instructor, no work will be accepted after the published deadline. Unless there is documentation for an extenuating circumstance that warrants extra time, the course instructor will disable a student's ability to push to the GitHub repository for a course assignment two days after the project is due.

Assignment Evaluation

Using a report that the instructor shares with you through your assignment's GitHub repository, you will privately receive a grade for and feedback on each assignment. Your grade will be a function of whether or not you completed correct work that fulfills the project's specification and submitted it by the deadline.

Course Attendance

It is mandatory for all students to attend the course sessions. If, due to extenuating circumstances, you will not be able to attend a session, then, whenever possible, please communicate with the instructor at least one day in advance to describe your situation. Students who have any signs of illness should not attend any in-person course sessions.

Class Preparation

In order to minimize confusion and maximize learning, students must invest time to prepare for the class discussions, laboratory, and programming sessions. During the class periods, the course instructor will often pose challenging questions that could require group discussion, the creation of a Python program or data table, a vote on a thought-provoking issue, or an in-class presentation. Only those students who have prepared for class by reading the assigned material and reviewing the current course assignments will be able to effectively participate in these class discussions.

Importantly, only prepared students will be able to acquire the knowledge and skills that they need to be successful in this course, subsequent courses, and the field of web development. In order to help students remain organized and to effectively prepare for classes, the course instructor will maintain a class schedule with reading assignments and presentation slides, available at on this site. During the class sessions students will also be required to download, use, and modify web site components and data sets that are made available through means such as the course web site and a GitHub repository.

Seeking Assistance

Students who are struggling to understand the knowledge and skills developed in either a class, laboratory, or programming session are encouraged to seek assistance from the course instructor and the student technical leaders. Students should, within the bounds of the Honor Code, ask and answer questions on the Slack workspace for our course; please request assistance from the instructor and student technical leaders first through Slack before sending an email. Students who need the course instructor's assistance must schedule a meeting through his web site and come to the virtual meeting with all of the details needed to discuss their question. Students can find out the office hour schedule student technical leaders by viewing the list of student technical leaders.

Using GitHub and Discord

This course will primarily use GitHub and Discord for all course communication, as summarized in the list of community connections. We will use GitHub for the sharing of both source code and course projects and for reporting issues in those materials. We will use two distinct Discord servers for all course discussions. The Proactive Programmers Discord Server provides a way for members of the proactive community to use text and video to chat with each other and will be the main forum for the discussion of technical content in discrete structures. The Allegheny College Computer Science Discord Server provides a way for students who are studying computer science at Allegheny College to use text and video to chat with each other and will be the main forum for course announcements.

Using Email

Although we will primarily use GitHub and Discord for class communication, the course instructor will sometimes use email to send announcements about important matters such as changes in the schedule. It is your responsibility to check your email at least once a day and to ensure that you can reliably send and receive emails. This class policy is based on the statement about the use of email that appears in The Compass, the College's student handbook; please see the instructor if you do not have this handbook.

Honor Code

The Academic Honor Program that governs the entire academic program at Allegheny College is described in the Allegheny Academic Bulletin. The Honor Program applies to all work that is submitted for academic credit or to meet non-credit requirements for graduation at Allegheny College. This includes all work assigned for this class (e.g., examinations and course assignments). All students who have enrolled in the College will work under the Honor Program. Each student who has matriculated at the College has acknowledged the following pledge:

I hereby recognize and pledge to fulfill my responsibilities, as defined in the Honor Code, and to maintain the integrity of both myself and the College community as a whole.

Effective Collaboration

Computer science is an inherently collaborative discipline. People must work together to produce large, complex, and ultimately useful software systems. Because of this, the Department of Computer Science at Allegheny College encourages students to engage in collaboration. However, in the context of individual coursework, through which each student must demonstrate their own knowledge, there are certain forms of collaboration that are and are not acceptable.

  • Acceptable forms of collaboration include:

    • Discussing high-level concepts, such as the use cases for while loops or the various methods that can add elements to a list.
    • Referring someone to a course text book, course slides, or other resources that contain helpful information or instructions.
    • Outlining the high-level steps to solving a problem or implementing a feature, without mentioning specific lines of code that need to be written.
  • Unacceptable forms of collaboration include:

    • Sharing details about specific lines of code, including showing your source code to someone or looking at someone else's code.
    • Copying someone else's source code, technical writing, or program output, even with some slight modifications.
    • Typing source code, technical writing, or program commands on someone else’s laptop or computer.

The aforementioned forms of communication are unacceptable because they make it difficult for both the course instructor and a learner to assess individual knowledge. Moreover, these unacceptable forms of collaboration can impede your learning or someone else's learning since an individual is less likely to understand source code or technical writing that you do not create by themself. Importantly, any student who participates in these unacceptable forms of collaboration, whether they are the one sharing, showing, looking, copying, or typing, are in violation of the Honor Code at Allegheny College.

In summary, students should collaborate as long as they do so in acceptable ways. With that said, if a student needs assistance beyond what can be gained through acceptable forms of collaboration, they should seek help from the course instructor or a technical leader. If a student submits deliverables (e.g., source code or technical writing) that are nearly identical to the work of others will be taken as evidence of violating the Honor Code.

Disability Services

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. Students with disabilities who believe they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact Disability Services at 814-332-2898. Disability Services is part of the Learning Commons and is located in Pelletier Library. Please do this as soon as possible to ensure that approved accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion.

Welcome Message

Referring to software, Frederick P. Brooks, Jr. wrote in chapter one of The Mythical Man Month, "The magic of myth and legend has come true in our time." Efficient Python programs that correctly use discrete structures to store and manipulate data have the potential to positively influence the lives of many people. Moreover, the design, implementation, evaluation, and documentation of Python-based software are exciting and rewarding activities! At the start of this class, I invite you to pursue, with great enthusiasm and vigor, this adventure in rigorous Python programming.


Updated: 2022-03-03   Created: 2021-08-17
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