CPTR 125 Introduction to Computer Science - Syllabus

August 29, 2011


Instructor:  Dr. Eileen M. Peluso, D325 Academic Center, Extension 4135


Email:  pelusoem@lycoming.edu


Office hours:  to be announced . . . on my web page www.lycoming.edu/~pelusoem.


Objective:  Provide students with a broad overview of the field of Computer Science.  Introduce students to the object-oriented approach to problem-solving and the fundamentals of programming in a high level language.


Text: Lewis and Loftus, Java Software Solutions: Foundations of Program Design, 7th edition, Pearson Education, 2012 bundled with MyProgrammingLab.


Class Material: Additional materials for the course will be made available through Moodle (moodle.lycoming.edu).



·         Labs: 15%

·         MyProgrammingLab assignments: 5%

·         Programming Projects: 35%

·         Exams (2): 30%  (tentatively scheduled for October 5th and November 9th)

·         Final: 15%


Grade scale: If you earn the following average, you will receive the grade indicated.

·         93.0 or above       A

·         90.0 to 92.99        A-

·         87.0 to 89.99        B+

·         83.0 to 86.99        B

·         80.0 to 82.99        B-

·         77.0 to 79.99        C+

·         73.0 to 76.99        C

·         70.0 to 72.99        C-

·         67.0 to 69.99        D+

·         63.0 to 66.99        D

·         60.0 to 62.99        D-

·         59.99 or below     F


Attendance Policy:

Students are expected to attend class and lab, and to be on time.  Students are allowed 3 unexcused absences.  Students who miss class are to email their instructor, stating the excuse.  Students with 4 or more unexcused absences will automatically fail the course.  Attendance signature sheets will be circulated at the beginning of each lecture and lab period.  It is the student's responsibility to make sure that they have signed the day's attendance sheet.  It is also the student's responsibility to obtain details about any missed work, announcements, and any information disseminated during the missed classes.


Disability Statement:

Lycoming College provides academic support for students who have been diagnosed with learning, physical, and psychological disabilities.  If you have a diagnosed disability and seek academic accommodations, please contact Mr. Dan Hartsock, Sophomore Dean and Co-ordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities.  Mr. Hartsock will help you arrange for academic accommodations in the classroom.  You may contact him as follows:  hartsock@lycoming.edu; 570-321-4294; Snowden Library, 3rd floor, ARC.




1.       Students will not be excused from exams unless they are ill or have an emergency situation.  It is wise to contact me before missing an exam or quiz. Any tests or quizzes missed will result in a grade of zero unless arrangements for a make-up are made within 48 hours.


2.       There is a “two-hour” laboratory period each week.  Attendance in lab is critical to success in the course.  Lab assignments might not be completed in the allotted two-hour period, depending on the student.  Lab submissions are due in the instructor's office (paper) and on Moodle (electronic) by 5:00 PM of the first Monday following the lab.  Labs will be returned during the next scheduled lab period, at which time errors can be corrected so that full credit for the lab can be earned.  This is known as the "redo" option.  Students have one additional week from the date that the lab is returned to correct it and turn it in for full credit.  Labs turned in after the due date but prior to the next week’s lab will receive credit, however they will not be given a "redo" option.  Labs turned in after the start of the following week’s lab are late and will only receive credit at the discretion of the instructor.


3.       As with other writing assignments, a certain amount of the grading of lab and programming assignments will be subjective.  As a matter of principle, if you have a program that works according to the specification given in the assignment handout, that should earn you at least a C-range, but most likely a B-range grade.  The difference between a B and an A comes down to documentation, structure, following a certain style of programming, and in some cases how you answer questions associated with the assignment.  All of these aspects will be discussed as they come up in the course.  Programming assignments that are turned in past the due date cannot receive full credit.


4.       Students are encouraged to work collaboratively on course work, including labs and programming assignments. In fact, students taking computer science courses will be given priority access to lab A3 from the hours of 7-10 PM on Sunday through Thursday evenings specifically for this reason. 


Discussions with other students about lab and programming assignments are encouraged, however academic dishonesty is not allowed.  There is a fine line between the two.  Check if you are not sure that what you are doing is acceptable. However, as a general rule of thumb: The difference between sharing ideas and plagiarism will be determined by the instructor as follows: if you cannot discuss, expound upon, justify, and modify what you have written, then you have plagiarized.


NOTE: You should never have in your possession or have access to (in paper or electronic form) a copy of someone else's labs or programming assignments.  There are no team projects in this course.  Each student should have his/her own solutions to all labs and programming assignments.


5.       A student tutor will be available three evenings a week to help with questions concerning lab and programming assignments.  The time and place will be announced later.  One-on-one tutoring can also be arranged through the Academic Resource Center located in the Snowden Library.  Students are also encouraged to meet with the instructor during office hours (regularly scheduled or by appointment) to ask questions and to discuss any concerns regarding the course.


6.       The computer experience of the students enrolled in this course varies greatly.  Some of you may have a lot of prior experience with computers, and some may have very little.  Most likely you are somewhere in the middle.  If you have little experience, do not be concerned.  We assume only minimal experience in this course, and we assume that you have no experience writing computer programs.  If you have a lot of experience, please be patient.  We promise that you will find challenges as the semester progresses.  In fact, by paying close attention to what is mostly review for you, you may discover details and insights of interest.


7.       Work is assigned frequently in the course, and often several tasks need to be done simultaneously.  There are weekly lab assignments, MyProgrammingLab assignments, and readings from the text, as well as exams and programming assignments.  Also, you will be learning a few system related matters.


Advice:  The best way to handle this course is to get started on assignments early and to keep up with the reading and lecture material on a regular basis.  Organization and a consistent effort is the key.  I suggest that students purchase a 3-ring binder for the course.  I also suggest that you set aside roughly two hours, every other day (outside of class and lab time) for reading, projects, and/or to review class notes and examples.  Make use of the help that is available, from the instructor and the tutors. Allow yourself ample time to complete the work.  In general, a steady and consistent effort in this course throughout the semester will make the material much easier to digest.  The MyProgrammingLab assignments are there purposely to help you a little bit with the keeping up process.


Programming assignments can often take a lot of time.  Don’t plan on finishing a programming assignment in one sitting.  Instead, spread it out over a few days.  Programs that are developed and refined over a few iterations end up with much cleaner structures and are easier to understand.