George Mason University 


CS100 - Principles of Computing - Spring 2016

TR 12:00-1:15, IN 134 

Prerequisites | Description | Readings | Syllabus | Grading | Late | Dates

TA and Instructions for Mailing List

This page last updated on 1/12/16. 

Professor Dana Richards 

703-993-1545 (email should have "CS100” in the subject line)

Course office hours: Monday and Tuesday 3:00-4:00 or by appt.

Engineering Bldg 5320 




This course is intended to help students learn to think in the manner necessary to fully grasp the nature and power of the digital world around us. The early era of the Internet and the personal computer led to the need for "computer literacy." Now, the changing nature of our global society requires that students learn new ways to think about problems and how to solve them, regardless of students' specific fields of endeavor. Through this course, students will explore major issues related to the "big ideas" of computational thinking (namely, (i) Creativity, (ii) Abstraction, (iii) Data, (iv) Algorithms, (v) Programming, (vi) Internet, and (vii) Societal Impact), as well as how these issues will impact their future lives.


  1. Students will be able to use technology to locate, access, evaluate, and use information, and appropriately cite resources from digital/electronic media.
  2. Students will understand the core IT concepts in a range of current and emerging technologies and learn to apply appropriate technologies to a range of tasks.
  3. Students will understand many of the key ethical, legal and social issues related to information technology and how to interpret and comply with ethical principles, laws, regulations, and institutional policies.
  4. Students will understand the essential issues related to information security, how to take precautions and use techniques and tools to defend against computer crimes.
  5. Students will recognize the significance of the "big ideas" of computational thinking.


Quizzes — 30% (including programming)

Final — 30%

Homework — 20%

Paper — 20%

Some homework will include programming; they will be given more time.

Each “quiz” is like a “mini-exam” and will be mostly based on the preceding homework and readings.

The final is cumulative, including the last homework.

We will use the language Processing.

There will be a term paper based the required texts but may include others texts.

Direct copying from any source can not be submitted as your own.

Except when indicated, there is to be NO group work on the programs. 

Receiving direct contributions to the code that is submitted is considered a violation of the Honor Code. 

(See for the GMU and Computer Science guidelines.)

Be advised that the teaching team will be employing electronic means to detect plagiarism.


The pace is self-adjusting. 

Date Topic Reading Assignment


A homework must be submitted before class.

If it is submitted more than once once the last submission is graded.

Homework will be marked down 10% each day it is late.


TA: Tallah Zafar,, hours TBA.

NO LAPTOPS, etc. (If you NEED a laptop for note-taking then speak to me.)