CSCI 110 / Spring 2012

Survey of Computer Science

Course description

This course is intended for students who are not planning to take further courses in Computer Science, but who would like a basic introduction to computers and programming. Students who are thinking of majoring or minoring in Computer Science or majoring in Mathematics or one of the sciences are strongly advised to take CSCI 131 instead of CSCI 110.

This course provides an overview of some fundamental concepts in Computer Science. Topics include basic programming in the computer language Python, the digital building blocks of computers, computer networks, infeasible and impossible calculations. This is not a computer literacy course. We will not be covering how to use specific computer applications, such as web-browsers, spreadsheets or word processors.


Computer Science Illuminated, Fourth Edition, by Nell Dale & John Lewis, 2010,
and the accompanying booklet,
Computer Science: the Python Programming Language, by Bradly Miller and David Ranum, 2007.


Lab worksheets10%
Homework and Projects30%
Midterm exam 120%
Midterm exam 220%
Final exam20%


There will be two in-class midterm exams and one final exam.

Midterm exams:

Final exam:

Please write these dates on your calendar now. There will be no regular lecture on the days of the midterm exams.

Late Policy

Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the assigned due date. The maximum possible score for an assignment turned in up to 24 hours late is 80%. The maximum possible score for an assignment turned in up to 48 late is 60%. Assignments more than two days late will not be graded. The penalty will be determined when the assignment is submitted to Moodle or emailed to the instructor. Late work will not be accepted after the graded assignment is returned to the class.

Collaboration Policy

You are allowed to discuss strategies for solving homework problems with other students. However, any work you turn in must be your own work (i.e. you may not simply copy another student's answers and turn them in as your own). In addition, you must clearly indicate the names of any students you work with on each assignment, to give credit where it is due.

You may consult public literature (books, articles, web sites) for information, but you must cite each source of ideas you adopt.

To clarify: It is fine to use Google to look for snippets of publicly available code that are similar to the assignments, and to use that code in your answers. But you must clearly comment your code to indicate which code and ideas are purely your own, which code or ideas are borrowed or adapted from elsewhere, and where the other code or ideas came from.

Please refer to the math and CS department honor code policy.

Make-up Policies

When you know in advance that you will have to miss a scheduled class, it is better to make up any work before the actual class session. Arrange this with your instructor. This is particularly important for scheduled lab sessions.

There will be 2 midterms during the semester. If special circumstances (e.g. you are confined to bed in the infirmary or there is a death in your family) prevent you from taking the midterm during the scheduled time you must contact your instructor as soon as possible to discuss your situation. Any makeup exams require an official excuse from the student's Dean.