CMSC 121-01: Introduction to Computer Science
 (Fall 2017)
(as of August 21, 2017)

Instructor: Scott McElfresh (pronounced  mac' - el- fresh)
Ruffner 346     Phone:  x2249
Email:   ProfScottMcElfresh @ (checked more frequently) or  mcelfreshsa @
Office Hours: 
- MWF 3-3:45pm 
- Th  12:30-1:30pm
- or when I am in my office with the door open
- or by appointment
Other times may be announced in class or on the website.

Course Web Page:  Most of the handouts in this course will be available through this World Wide Web address.   

Canvas will be used for submission of some assignments and recording of grades on individual assessments.  You may wish to set up Canvas to send you an email when grades and/or feedback is entered.   NOTE:  Canvas does not always calculate course grades correctly.  The relative weights are in this syllabus.

Course Description:   
From the catalog:
"An introduction to computer science for non-specialists. Basic computer architecture and design, storage formats, principles of computer operation, and algorithms. Application software that emphasizes the computer as a tool. 3 credits. *Fulfills General Education Goal 5"

Course objectives:
At the end of the course, a successful student will be able to:

There is no required textbook for this course.  Instead, there will be online readings, videos, and other resources.

It is assumed that you have a laptop that you can bring to class and can install software on if necessary.   Much of the software to be used is free.   The software packages that are not free have free alternatives that students may download and install.
It is assumed that you can access the LancerNet wireless network (the LancerNet Visitor will not suffice).

Pictures, Audio, and Video:
Students should not take audio or video recordings in the classroom without prior permission.    Still pictures of the board may be taken as a supplement to note-taking.    However, these should not be posted online or elsewhere such that they might be shared with someone not enrolled in the class.

As some work will be done in class, including groupwork, attendance is especially important.   More than 5  unexcused absences may at my discretion result in a loss of one letter grade in the course.    Missing more than 10 class periods may at my discretion result in a grade of F for the course.

    There will be an exercise assigned during many class periods.  Some of these will be completed during class and some will be intended to be completed outside of class.   Note that some "homework" assignments will be due the VERY NEXT CLASS PERIOD, while others may have a longer handin horizon, depending on the nature of the assignment.   Thus, some assignments will be worth more than others.  In order to determine the overall exercises grade, I will add up the number of points received on exercises, and divide that number by the total number of points that it was possible to recieve on exercises.     
       Lateness:  Each exercise will give not only a due date, but a due time.  Some exercises may be gone over in class, so you will need permission to hand in asisgnments late.  If I agree to accept an assignment late, there may be a 50% penalty.

Technology and Society writing::   
There will be a formal writing assignment in the course, regarding computers and their impact on society and organizations.  The formal details are linked from the course calendar.   Source list and abstract are due on Friday, October 6 and the final paper is due on Friday, December 1.  

There will be quizzes throughout the semester.   These will typically take the form of short (5-15 minutes) sets of questions.  There will be no make-up quizzes given.    If more than 5 quizzes are given, the lowest two quiz scores for each student will not be calculated into the course grade.

There will be two in-class exams.  They will be given on the following dates:
        #1)   Friday, September 22
        #2)   Friday, November 3
There will be no makeup exams given without proper medical documentation.

Final Exam: 
There will be a comprehensive written exam.   More details on this will be announced as the time approaches. 

The relative weight of each item in determining your course grade will be as follows:
  Exercises: 20%
Tech and Society: 10%

Quizzes: 20%

Exam #1: 15%

Exam #2: 15%

Final Exam: 20%
Course Grades will be assigned as follows: 
Course percentage   Course Grade
90 - 100
A-, A
80 - 89.9
B-, B, B+
70 - 79.9
C-, C, C+
60 - 69.9
D-, D, D+
 0  - 59.9 
+'s will be assigned in the top 2 percentange points of the range.
-'s will be assigned in the bottom 3 percentange points of the range.
SPECIAL NOTE:  Exercises that are not handed in, or quizzes and exams not taken will count as a 0.    Canvas does not always calculate these accurately.

Unless otherwise specified, all work is assumed to be your own.   You are encouraged to discuss the exercises with other students, but you must write up your own solutions.  Some guidelines:
Efforts will be made in class to describe these issues.  If you have any questions as to what is appropriate and what is not, please ask me about it.

Academic Honesty:     
Longwood University is an academic community that subscribes to an honor system.   By accepting membership in this community, we all assume the obligation to be trustworthy in all pursuits.  Violations may receive grade penalties in the course and be referred to the Honor Board, which may impose additional penalties.

Tentative Topic outline:

Week Dates Topics
1 Aug 21 - 25 Introduction; Accuracy; Terminology; History introduction; Spreadsheets Calculations
2 Aug 28 - Sept 1 Calculating with Spreadsheets; Conditional Calculations
3 Sept 4 - 8 Advanced Calcucations; Digital Representations
4 Sept 11 - 15 Digital Representations; Encodings
5 Sept 18 - 22 Representing non-numeric data; EXAM
6 Sept 25 - 29 Image Manipulation
7 Oct 2 - 6 Steganography; Compression
8 Oct 9 - 13 Digital and Boolean Logic
9 Oct 16 - 20 Fall Break; Circuits
10 Oct 23 - 27 Boolean Equivalances
11 Oct 30 - Nov 3 EXAM; Information Theory; Error Detection
12 Nov 6 - 10 Information Theory; Error Detection
13 Nov 13 - 17 Programming
14 Nov 20 - 24 Programming; Thanksgiving
15 Nov 27 - Dec 1 TBA
Dec 4 Final Exam

A detailed day by day calendar will be kept up-to-date on the course website.