CS112: Introduction to Computer Programming

Course Outcomes
  • 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 programming problems.
Prerequisite C or better in MATH 104 or MATH 105 or specified score on math placement test, or MATH 113 with a C or better. Prerequisite enforced by registration system.
Professor Contact Information Dr. Kinga Dobolyi
Office: Engineering (Rm. 4440)
Email: kdobolyi@gmu.edu
Phone: 703–993–4198
Office Hours: Mondays-Thursdays at 1:45pm—2:45pm, or by appointment. Please email the professor at least 48 hours in advance when seeking an appointment.
Dr. Mark Snyder
Office: Engineering (Rm. 5346)
Email: msnyde14@gmu.edu
Phone: 703–993–5624
Office Hours: See Piazza Staff Page, or by appointment. Please email the professor at least 48 hours in advance when seeking an appointment.
GTA Contact Information Please see Piazza staff page and early posts for all the relevant information. You may visit the office hours of any GTA, not just the lab section you're signed up for.
Textbook The Practice of Computing Using Python, 2nd ed. by William Punch & Richard Enbody © 2011 (An eText version is available). Students often ask if they are required to buy the textbook; we will not refer to any specific chapters or material from the textbook this semester during lecture, although students are encouraged to follow along in the textbook. There are also plenty of online resources for Python that you can google for. Everything needed to complete this course is disseminated during lecture or available online.
Course Materials Marmoset — All assignments must be submitted (per published deadlines) via Marmoset. We will only be using Marmoset for assignment submission, Piazza for discussion boards and announcements this semester — all other materials (slides, etc) will be available only on this course homepage. Grades (except the final course grade) will be posted to Blackboard. Grades on Blackboard are NOT weighted; this must be done manually to compute your grade.
Email Students must use the GMU email system for all correspondence with professor (using the following email subject format: CS112 — insert your subject — failure to adhere to this policy will result in ignored emails).
Please note that general project or class questions should NOT be sent to the professor or TAs - in such events, your email will be returned and you will be asked to post your question to the discussion board. In general, the turnaround time for responses to questions will be much quicker on the discussion board.
Students should also avoid emailing their code to the professor or TAs unless permission has been obtained (under no circumstances should code be posted publicly to the discussion board).
  • 6 programming assignments (45% together; P1 worth less than others)
  • Quizzes (15%)
  • 2 Exams (10% each)
  • Final Exam (20%)

Final course grades are calculated as follows:

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%)

We will drop your lowest quiz grade and lowest project grade (except for Project 1, which is worth far less than the others) in these calculations.

Note: 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.
Contesting of grades on any/all submissions must be requested within one week of the item's return. No grade changes will be considered subsequent to that deadline, or after the final exam meeting.
Class Participation Take notes — a significant portion of the information disseminated during classroom sessions are not delineated on slides.
Programming Assignments Programming projects are considered individual efforts, therefore no sharing of code and/or discussion of problem solutions are allowed with anyone except the lab GTA, UTA or the professor. Test cases must also not be shared. Student projects will be manually and automatically assessed for cheating. You may not look at, discuss, or otherwise view any other individuals code, pseudocode, or test cases.
The discussion board on Piazza is required reading for all projects. Although every effort is made to post complete and consistent project specifications, because projects are designed from scratch every semester, it is inevitable that specs will change slightly throughout the semester. You MUST read the discussion board daily for clarifications and project updates, and you MUST be prepared to implement these small potential changes.

Programming assignments are significantly more difficult than labs, require more planning, and in general no implementation level details will be given: you are free to use your creativity here, as long as you conform to the inputs and outputs expected of your functions.

All programming project must run on Marmoset to be considered for credit. All projects will be automatically graded on Marmoset. See the Marmoset submission instructions. Under no circumstances will credit be given for a project, except through Marmoset.
Office Hours 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 your own test cases, at least one of which 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 just before deadlines - 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. Use the discussion board instead for posting questions.
Discussion Board 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 (within two hours or less during the day).

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 problems.
Late Submissions All programming projects must be submitted by the deadline to be considered for full credit. Projects that are up to one day late will be tolerated, but are subject to a penalty of 20% of the earned score. No assignment will be accepted for credit after last class meeting.
Marmoset 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.
Similarly, having a laptop die or losing source code is not an excuse for turning in a project late — students are responsible for maintaining their own backup copies of code.
Note that Marmoset accepts multiple assignment submissions; we will grade the submission with the highest score. You can also download your previous submissions from Marmoset.
Exams Exams are closed book/notes unless specified otherwise by instructor. Appropriate documentation (as determined by instructor) and requisite permissions are required for make-up exam requests. Picture IDs are required to take all exams. Note: A failing grade on the final exam (<60%) will result in a failing grade (F) for the entire course, regardless of performance on other assignments.
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.
You must take the final exam for the section that you are registered for.
Honor Code All students are expected to abide by the GMU Honor Code. This policy is rigorously enforced. All class-related assignments are considered individual efforts unless explicitly expressed otherwise (in writing). Review the university honor code and present any questions regarding the policies to instructor.
Cheating on any assignment 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 related to programming assignments that is not your own is considered cheating.

The computer science department has an additional, more descriptive CS Honor Code that you are also subject to. Make sure you read and familiarize yourself with these rules.

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, to not upload your files to someone else's computer, etc. You will be liable for any accidental access you give to your code. Stating that "I don't know how he/she got access to my code" is not an acceptable excuse in an honor code violation.
Learning Disabilities Students with a learning disability or other condition (documented with GMU Office of Disability Services) that may impact academic performance should speak with professor ASAP to discuss accommodations.

Tentative Class schedule
Please see the respective instructor's course homepages for schedules and a list of topics:
Prof Kinga Dobolyi's CS112 page
Prof Mark Snyders's CS112 page