CS112: Introduction to Computer Programming (Spring
1 Course Basics
Meeting Time and Location:
- Section 004: MW 1:30-2:45pm, ENGR Bldg 1101
- Section 005: MW 3:00-4:15pm, ENGR Bldg 1101
- An ability to use procedural programming language concepts
including expressions, decision statements, simple data types,
Boolean logic, input/output, loop constructs, and procedures.
- An ability to combine programming techniques to solve problems
of varying degrees of difficulty.
- An ability to refine computer programs through testing and
debugging to ensure proper operation.
- An ability to find and understand programming language
documentation to learn new information needed to solve
C or better in MATH 104, 105, or 113 (or sufficient score on the
math placement test). Corequisite: CS Majors must also be enrolled
in CS 101 this semester.
1.1 Textbook: ZyBook
- Required - Zyante online textbook.
- Sign up at Zyante.
- Enter zyBook code: GMUCS112Spring2017
- Subscribe using any credit card
- Quite optional - The Practice of Computing Using Python
by William Punch & Richard Enbody © 2011. An eText
version is available.
1.2 In-class participation: Top Hat
- This is a clicker-alternative required for class
participation. Use your GMU email
address to sign up. The subscription is $24 for
4-month and other options are also available.
- Any web-enabled device can be used for this - a smartphone, a
laptop, iPad, etc.
- Note that attempting to answer questions from home is not
permitted. Any or all of your class participation score may be
forfeited if we catch you doing so.
- You need to sign up with the specific join
code for your section of the course.
- Section 004 (Prof. Russell):737848.
- Section 005 (Prof. Zhong): 964061.
1.3 Discussion board: Piazza
- Course schedule, announcements, lecture slides, assignments,
discussion. GTA/UTA contacts and office hours will be on Piazza
- All correspondence will go through Piazza. You can send
private messages to the instructors (visible to all professors,
GTAs, and UTAs) as well as post public questions visible to all
students, collaborate on responses, and tag everything by topic.
- Unless you have a confidential matter to discuss directly with
an individual professor/TA, please do not email us directly --
use a private piazza post or visit in person. Project help
questions sent via email are of extremely low priority, as
they were sent to the wrong place.
- No sharing answers or code solutions to assignments on the
discussion board. See Honor code
section below for more details.
- Grades will be posted to Blackboard.
- Projects and most lab assignments will be submitted (per
published deadlines) via Blackboard.
|drop 1 lowest
|drop 2 lowest
|drop 3 lowest subsections
|+1% extra credit for correctness
|must get >=60% to pass the class
- A+ (>= 98.0%) A (>= 92.0%) A– (>= 90.0%)
- B+ (>= 88.0%) B (>= 82.0%) B– (>= 80.0%)
- C+ (>= 78.0%) C (>= 72.0%) C– (>= 70.0%)
- D (>= 60.0%)
- F (< 60.0%)
- There will be no make-up or extra-credit assignments at the
end of the semester; your grade should be a measure of your
Programming projects will be a primary focus of your grade - each
one should take multiple sessions of coding, with questions asked
in between. This is the practice you need to learn, master, and
internalize various concepts of the course. Don't be surprised if
you're spending 5-20 hours on each one. All project grades will be
averaged together evenly.
- All projects are to be submitted to Blackboard. You can
submit your work an unlimited number of times to BlackBoard,
and by default only the last version will be graded.
- Turning in the wrong files will likely result in a zero. You
can and should download your submitted attempts to verify that
you turned in a working copy.
- Projects can be turned in at most 48 hours late, no
- Each 24-hour period entered after the deadline lowers the
maximum score by 25% (not quite the same as a 25%
- Each student gets three One-Late-Day tokens, which
are automatically used by late submissions to avoid the 25%
penalty; you still must turn in work within 48 hours of the
original deadline, even if you use tokens! (note that you
can't use three tokens on a single project)
- The last project might not be allowed to be turned in late,
to facilitate end-of-semester grading.
- Tokens are only allowed on projects; they can't be used on
- Unused late-tokens will be worth a small bounty at the
semester's end (0.25% of the semester grade).
- Blackboard being unavailable is not an excuse for turning in
a late assignment; in the rare situation that the website is
somehow unavailable or giving the student an error, the
student MUST email their submission to their GTA before the
deadline, otherwise it will be considered late.
- Catastrophic computer failure will not be cause for an
extension. Use a backup service such as DropBox (or any cloud
service), emailing yourself, storing to a USB drive, whatever
it takes. Every semester multiple students' computers die, are
stolen, or otherwise 'lose' projects. Don't be the student who
forgot to (frequently) back up your work!
Broken Code == Bad Scores
- After the first two projects, any code turned in that does
not run (immediately crashes due to errors), specifically on
Python 3.4, will receive at most 50%. No exceptions. At this
point, if the grader is able to quickly fix your code, you
might get some points back. If the grader cannot immediately
spot and fix the issue, you'll be fortunate to get any points
- Turning in code that runs is a big deal!
- Programming projects are considered individual efforts,
therefore no sharing of code and/or discussion of problem
solutions are allowed with anyone except the TAs or the
professor. Student projects will be manually and automatically
assessed for cheating. You may not
look at or otherwise view any other individual's code,
pseudocode, or algorithms.
- You may not use any Internet resources to create code or
algorithms, besides the textbooks, the slides, and Piazza,
unless otherwise specified. However, you are free to look up
the syntax errors your encounter online, to gain an
understanding of what the syntax error means. The projects
we're doing this semester can be directly solved using
techniques discussed in class, and no outside material is
needed unless otherwise noted.
- It is your responsibility to lock your computers with
a password, to not post your code to websites like Pastebin
that are publicly accessible, to guard your USB drives and
computers, to not upload your files to someone else's
computer, etc. You will be liable for any access gained to
- All lab assessment grades will be averaged together. Lab
assessments will be weekly exercises, tasks, or quizzes, to be
completed during lab or before the specified due time.
- Lab quizzes and tasks require attendance at the designated lab
time to get the credit.
- Any missed lab assessment is simply missed, regardless of the
reason why (travel, illness, work, traffic, receiving a major
award, getting married, saving the universe, etc.). Two
lowest lab grades will be dropped to cover the very rare cases
of understandable missed labs.
- If you choose to miss some early on, and later on have to miss
for some understandable reason, that is too bad. Try to save the
drops so you can actually throw out a bad grade, and not just
hide a lazy zero. Pretending you don't have them is your best
- Zyante readings are graded based on the completion percentage
of activities before the designated deadline of each
- See the schedule page on Piazza for reading assignment due
- Make sure you're logged
in to get credit for reading completion.
- Optional subsections are not considered for Zyante grading.
- Exams are closed book/notes unless specified otherwise by
instructor. They will be entirely paper and pencil - no
- All students must have their GMU identification available on
- The final exam is cumulative. If you perform better on the
final exam than a previous test, we will replace the test grade
with the final grade.
- If you know in advance that you are unable to make an exam for
a valid and unavoidable reason (such as a scheduled surgery,
etc), you must notify the professor at least one week before the
scheduled exam date to make arrangements for a make-up, and
bring documentation with you when you take the make-up.
- If you miss an exam due to a university-accepted excused
absence (such as an illness or car accident the day and time of
the exam), you must notify your professor within 24 hours of
your absence to make arrangements for a makeup, and bring
approved documentation with you when you take the make-up exam.
Failure to follow either of these policies will result in a
zero. We may also elect to allow the final exam to count the
extra amount to give you a sort of do-over.
- The final will not be given early. You are starting the course
with knowledge of the schedule (see GMU's Final Exam Calendar
for the latest schedule, updated as weather events require).
- Per departmental policy, a failing grade on the final exam
(<60.0%) will result in a failing grade (F) for the entire
course, regardless of performance on other assignments. You must pass the final exam to pass the
2.5 Contested Grades
- If you feel points have been incorrectly deducted, contact the
grader. For all projects and lab work, that is your GTA. For the
tests and final exam, that is your professor.
- Contesting of grades on any/all submissions must be requested
within one week of receiving the grade (on BlackBoard). No grade
changes will be considered subsequent to that deadline.
3 Office hours and discussion board
- For students seeking help with programming assignments during
office hours, students must identify the line number, through
debug print statements, where they believe an error to be before
seeing the TA or instructor. This implies that you must have at
least one test case that fails, to bring to office hours before
the TAs or instructor can help you.
- For more general programming assignment questions, students
must bring their own pseudocode to office hours before the TA or
professor can help you.
- Under no circumstances will the professor or GTA reveal more
than three lines of code at a time during office hours. Students
must make significant, individual effort on all projects before
coming to see a GTA/professor. Waiting until the last minute, in
the expectations that the entire project will be explained in
one office hours session, is not feasible.
- Office hours are often crowded - do not rely on them for last
minute help, as we cannot guarantee that we will be able to
spend significant time with every student. You can also use the
discussion board for posting questions.
- Students are encouraged to use the discussion board, Piazza,
to ask and answer questions. Responses to questions can
be expected within 24 hours, and often times much sooner.
- The discussion board on Piazza is required reading for all
projects. You MUST read the discussion board for
clarifications and project updates.
- Students can post questions and code privately, although the
instructor reserves the right to make any post public, so that
other students can see the responses.
- For students wishing to post their code privately to Piazza,
the same rules apply as when coming to office hours; if you have
code written, you must produce at least one failing test case
where you have identified what line number is giving you
4 Honor Code
- All students are expected to abide by the GMU Honor
Code. This policy is rigorously enforced. Cheating will be
prosecuted and result in a notification of the Honor Committee
as outlined in the GMU Honor Code. Sharing,
collaboration, or looking at any code or algorithm related to
programming projects that is not your own is considered
- The computer science department has an CS Honor Code
Policies that you are subject to particularly for our
course. The document helps you to understand how GMU honor code
applies to programming and CS, what constitutes cheating in the
CS setting. It clarifies some scenarios that are unique to our
sorts of assignments. Make sure you read and familiarize
yourself with these rules.
- We take the honor code quite seriously. Any attempts at
copying or sharing code, algorithms, or other violations of the
honor code simply will not be tolerated. There are
definitely opportunities to study, work, and learn together
throughout this course - Zyante questions, lab exercises, and
more. Mostly you will need to work independently for any sort of
"test" and for projects.
- We use automated software to flag suspicious cases, and then
review them to find the cases that must be submitted to the
Office of Academic Integrity. The penalty for cheating will
always be far worse than a zero grade, to ensure it's not worth
taking the chance. Confirmed cases of cheating almost always
translate into course failure.
5 Learning Disabilities
Students with a learning disability or other condition
(documented with GMU's Office of
Disability Services) that may impact academic performance
should speak with the professor ASAP to discuss appropriate
accommodations. Even if you don't know whether you plan on
utilizing the accommodations for any assignment/test, it's in your
best interest to prepare and get documented ahead of time.