CSCI 1321 - Syllabus

Location and Time - Halsell 228, 8:30-9:45am and 11:20-12:35 TR

Professor - Dr. Mark Lewis, Office: HAS 201K, Phone: 999-7022, e-mail: The best way to reach me typically is by e-mail. I check it frequently and try to respond promptly.

Office Hours - 2:30-5:00 M, 1:00-2:30 T, 9:30-11:30 W, and 3:00-5:00 F, or by appointment. I'm in my office a lot so you should free to drop by. If you are coming from lower campus you can always call or write a short e-mail to see if I'm in and available at that time. The Monday and Friday times will be "open lab" times where I will be in the lab to help work you through questions on your projects.

Text - "Java Software Structures" by John Lewis and Joe Chase. There are many other books on Java that you could also get if you expect to be doing significant programming in it. However, there are also many online resources for the Java language and unless you will be doing a lot of programming without an Internet connection, those will probably be sufficient for this semester and a bit beyond..

Course Description - This course is the second course for computer science majors, following the guidelines established by the Association for Computing Machinery. This course also partially satisfies the requirements for Understanding the World Through Science of the common curriculum. It builds on the material of the first course, but begins to look more seriously at object-oriented programming techniques as well as how to design and write proper code using that paradigm. It aims to improve your ability to solve problems using computer programs of your own construction. This course will further your ability to use more complex data structures and algorithms in the solution of such problems and help you to get a feel for how large programming projects can behave and how you can do things to make them easier to work with and more flexible. Topics to be covered include the following.

As my previous students can attest, the courses that I teach are aggressive. I have one overriding objective in my courses and that is to make you think. If I make you think new thoughts for most of the semester I will have done well. If I give you new ways to think thoughts (old and new), then I will truly have succeeded. This course is not about busy work, though inevitably a fair bit of work will be required. Exactly how much work you have to put in will often be inversely proportional to how much you think about the work that you should be doing. Writing programs on the scale of most of the assignments for this course requires a significant amount of design and thought to make sure that what you are trying to do will actually accomplish what you want it to and that it will do it correctly. Failure to think nearly always leads to more work for you in the end.

Assignments - The assignments in this course will all be based around a single problem. Each assignment will require you to produce a solution to a specific part of the problem so that all can be used together in the end for a single application. A description of the project for the semester can be found here.

For each assignment you will be expected to not only submit code that properly solves the problem, but also a design for that program that illustrates your thought processes in creating that program. The designs will be due one class before the programs themselves are. They will constitute 20% of the grade for each assignment and will not be accepted late (see below for late policy on the programs themselves). You will also submit a modified design with the final program that reflects the changes you had to make while writing the actual implementation. The designs will be a combination of UML diagrams produced by Together and the generated documentation from the doc comments you add to the subbed out code. These designs will be placed in your web directories under Sol. The project page has a description of exactly how I want you to name those directories.

The work you submit for your assignments should be of your own construction. You should feel free to confer with your fellow students or other people you might know about general questions dealing with the design of your programs or about specific syntactic problems. Having other people write code for you, or working from other people's code will be considered cheating and will carry repercussions as dictated by the student handbook. In general, the safest route when you have questions about assignments is to come talk to me. It should be said that this should in no way preclude you from studying the concept of computer programming with your follow students. Only discussions specific to the assignments are potentially risky.

Coding Practices - You are expected to follow certain coding practices for any code that you turn in as work in this course. In this sense I'm fairly lenient. I only require uniform indentation and reasonable documentation. For this class I'm requiring some documentation comments for all classes and methods so that javadoc documentation can be generated for your code and your design documentation will be more informative. The design work should force you to write enough documentation that incorporating it into the code will be easy. I will not help you to debug any code that is not well indented. I don't care exactly how you decide to align brackets or put in white space (though some white space is helpful), but you have to be uniform, and all blocks of code should be indented beyond what the surrounding code had been.

Grades - The grade for this course will be composed of four components. These components and what they entail is discussed below. This table summarizes how each component contributes to your grade in the course.

Assignments (8)
Tests (2)
Quizzes (6 drop 1)
Class Participation

Assignments - The nature of the assignments was discussed in the previous section of the syllabus. Eight assignments will be given over the course of the semester and each will contribute equally to this portion of your grade. Unless otherwise specified, all assignments will be due on the date shown on the course schedule. Late assignments will be deducted 10 points for each day that they are late. After 5 days they will not be accepted. The 8th assignment is due during the finals period on 5/8.

Tests - There will be two tests during the course of the semester. The first is an in-class midterm exam and the second is the final. Each will count for 15% of your course grade. See the lectures page for the date of the first test. The final will be held during the normally scheduled time for your section, 8:30am on May 8th for the 8:30 section and 2:00pm on May 5th for the 11:20 section. If you are going to miss a test I MUST be told in advance, even if it is a phone call 5 minutes before class. If you have to take a makeup exam odds are good that it will be at least slightly more difficult than the original.

Quizzes - There will also be six quizzes given during the course of the semester. These quizzes serve many purposes in this class. First, it gives both you and I information about how well you are understanding the material in the class. Second, and more importantly, they will help you prepare for the midterm and the final. The quizzes will be short, 10 minutes, however, they will have questions that are similar in format to what you can expect to see on the tests (only fewer of them). They will be given promptly at the beginning of class to help insure that you arrive on time, and they will often cover material from the reading for that day to help provide you with incentive to actually do the readings. Note that these quizzes do not have a huge impact upon your grade. Because one of them is dropped, there will be no make-up quizzes.

Class Participation - I like you to participate in class. Discussion is typically far more entertaining than listening to me drone on for 75 minutes. It can also be more educational as the people most inclined to understand your confusion on certain points will be your peers. This part of the grade will actually come from 3 sources. The first is attendance. You can't participate in class if you aren't there. The second is verbal participation during class. I do keep track of this over the course of the semester and it does matter. Third, you can send me links to interesting things that you might happen to find on the web. If I think that they are significant enough, I will link them to the course web page. Each link you send me is worth participation points.

Extra Credit - During the course of the semester there will be a number of opportunities for you to receive extra credit. I typically place extra credit problems on the quizzes and tests. I will also giving extra points at the end of the semester for students who participate at and extra points to the student with the highest ranking there. This should not take away significant time from your normal studies though.