Essential Computer Skills
Course Outline
CSCI 1300

Dr. Thomas E. Hicks
Computer Science Department
Trinity University


Essential Computer Skills (CSCI 1300) is Trinity University's attempt to prepare students  to utilize the computer efficiently and effectively in the "academic world" and be productive during internships. This class is a three hour computer science course whose major topics are described below.

Software & Topics
Introduction To Computing   
Hardware, Software, Files, Formats
Hardware Terminology  
Window 95/NT Operating System  
UNIX Operating System
Computers & Text   
Word Processing Software
Microsoft Word 97  
Power Point 97  
Text Editors vs Word Processors
Computers and Numbers   
Quantitative Analysis Using Spreadsheet Software
Microsoft Excel 97
Computers and Information Retrieval  
Structuring & Retrieving Data Using Database Software
Microsoft FoxPro (Version 5) or Access  
Create Database, Screens, Reports,  
Update, & Query Database
Computers and Graphics  
Visualizing &  Illustrating Data Using Graphics Software
Paint Shop Pro  
Graphical Image Construction   
Graphical Image Formats  
Using Digital Cameras & Scanners  
Multimedia - PowerPoint  
Multimedia - Web Pages
Computer Communications  
Using Local Area Networks, E-Mail, & WWW
Electronic Mail  
Netscape & Explorer Browsers  
Decompression Software - WinZip  
Data Communications  
Local Area Networks  
FTP - Using WS_FTP  
HTML & Web Page Construction  
WWW Editors  
Internet Search Engines  
Download & Install Applications
Computer Ethics  
Issues of Privacy and the Legal Use of Software & Data
Computer Ethics  
Software Usage  
Copyright & the Law

Required Textbooks

Easy Microsoft Access 97
     by Jeff Bryne (QUE ISBN# 0789710277)

The Computer Continuum
     by Kurt Lauckner (QUE ISBN# 1-58076-059-7)

Grade Breakdown

There will be two exams this semester.
Exam 1 - 200 points - 2/26
Exam 2 - 300 points - 4/23

There will be unannounced 15 point quizzes given as needed.  There will be no make-up quizzes given! Questions on the quiz will pertain to reading assignments, labs, and lecture during the previous two weeks. I will often place a quiz warning on the class schedule page.

Laboratory assignments will be assigned regularly throughout the semester. These labs will be collected in wire-band binders. The wire-band binders will generally be kept 1 - 2 weeks for grading and then returned.

Projects and Labs generally total 400-600 points. Computer Science is a "participant sport".  A sizable portion of your grade is related to your usage of computers! In order to do well in this course, most of you should plan on using the computer about eight-nine hours a week.

Grading Scale
A     93% - 100% 
A-   90% - 92.9% 
B+     87% - 89.9% 
B       83% - 86.9% 
B-     80% - 82.9%
C+     77% - 79.9% 
C       73% - 76.9% 
C-      70% - 72.9%
D+     67% - 69.9% 
D       63% - 66.9% 
D-      60% - 62.9% 
F     0% - 59.9% 

Students will receive at least the grades indicated by the scale above.

Materials Required

  1. 10-12 Floppy disks
  2. 2 Letter Size Wire-Band Report Covers (3 if you plan to turn in late assignments)
  3. 2 Disk Accessory Insert [3-ring binder zipper insert or 3-ring floppy disk pouch] (3 if you plan to turn in late assignments)
  4. 12 Notebook dividers (about two packs)

Lab Assignments & Projects In Wire-Band Report Covers Only

All assignments must be in wire-band report covers. No assignments  will be accepted unless they are punched and inserted into the wire band report covers. Make sure that all disks are in a plastic pouch; do not tape them in the binder or insert them loose. All loose disks and loose paper assignments will be discarded!

Where To Submit Lab Assignments For Grading

All labs are to by 2:35 P.M. on the date scheduled.  Labs submitted after 2:35 are late! Do not come to class late or skip class in order to complete your assignments, this will put you behind on the new material!

On top of the table, outside my office [Halsell 201 J] door, will be one basket marked To Grade - CSCI 1300 - 11:30 and another basket marked To Grade - CSCI 1300 - 1:30; place your assignments in the basket associated with your class.

All assignments are to be left in the "to grade" baskets on top of  the table outside my office. Do not give them to Dr. Hicks in a lab. Do not slide them under the department or office doors. Do not give them to a secretary. Do not give them to Dr. Hicks in his office.

Where To Pick Up Graded Lab Assignments

Beneath the table, outside my office [Halsell 201 J] door, will be one basket marked Graded Labs  - CSCI 1300 - 11:30 and another basket marked Graded Labs - CSCI 1300 - 1:30; pick up graded assignments from the proper basket. They will generally be graded and returned to the baskets in 7-10 days; often in one week!

Late Lab Assignments Will Be Accepted Three days Late!!

Late Labs will be accepted. The penalty for 1 day late shall not exceed 15%. The penalty for two days late shall not exceed 30%. The penalty for three days late shall not exceed 50%.   Labs turned in more than three day late will generally receive very  little credit!

There will often be several assignments due on the same date. In order to avoid late penalties on all labs, students may submit a portion of the labs, in one binder, on time and submit the remaining late labs in a separate binder later.

What if the Lab is Down For A Period Of Time?

Should university access to computer facilities significantly effect your ability to complete an assignment, due dates will be appropriately adjusted; these dates will not be altered if a lab is down for only part of an evening. It is not necessary to call Dr. Hicks if the network goes down. Labs should be done as scheduled!

Wire-Band Report Requirements

All assignments will be professional in appearance and professional in quality! No assignments will be accepted unless they are bound in the wire-band binders. Each assignment will be punched and properly inserted into the wire-band binder. Do not submit a pocket folder! Do not submit a three ring notebook! Think ahead; you have one week to get this together!

  1. The wire band binder will have a label, with your name, course number, and class time on the outside.
  2. The first item on the inside will be the disk accessory insert and any necessary floppy disks; all disks placed in this folder must be labeled. Place your Name on each disk!
  3. A notebook divider will be immediately after the disk accessory insert.
  4. Each lab must have the lab assignment sheet in the front; these are available on the Internet.!
  5. The labs shall be inserted into the wire-band folder in the order that they appear on the schedule!
  6. Remove all graded assignments from the report folders and keep the graded assignments until the end of the semester.
  7. Some assignments will be team assignments. Most assignments will be individual assignments. You need turn in only one copy of a team assignment.
Having difficulties?
  1. Check your mail!
  2. Seek help from group members.
  3. Bring printed copies of information that will help us detect your problems without going on-line!

Can you send me email?

Yes! I try to check my e-mail M-F but I am sometimes detained by students. I do answer many short questions. I do not debug programs mailed to me!
Home Page For Dr. Thomas E. Hicks
When seeking a letter of reference or a job recommendation
  1. bring an informal transcript
  2. a letter listing work experiences, awards, scholarships, etc.
  3. a placement form to add the recommendation to your file (if applicable)
  4. stamped and addressed (typed) envelopes (if applicable)
  5. hard copies of significant programming efforts that I have not seen (computer science majors)
Academic Integrity:

Some assignments will be team assignments. Most assignments will be individual assignments. With the exception of fellow team members, working on a team assignment, each student is to complete his/her own work. All exams shall be done individually by each student. It is this professor's feelings that those students who sacrifice their own integrity by falsely representing their work, or who knowingly aide others in doing so, have no place in higher education.

The general policy for cheating is an automatic "F" in the course, a letter submitted to student affairs, and the proper following of Trinity University academic integrity policy.

Take great care to erase all labs from university computers so that others may not submit your work as their own!  Do not loan any lab or project to a fellow student! Do your own work!

Before you resort to turning in someone else's work as your own, let's talk. If you are under undue pressure to aide other students in such a way that your own security is threatened, let's talk.It is not worth failing a three hour course and risking your entire academic future!

Office Hours:- Halsell 201J & Halsell 201K [First Come- First Serve]

Monday                  8:00-11:15  AM
Tuesday                  8:00 - 12:00 AM
Wednesday            8:00-11:15  AM

I am almost always in my office or helping a student in a lab during office hours; if I must miss my office hours, I generally post a note on the door and/or send mail to my students and/or notify students in lecture. If  I am not physically in the office, I will have most often gone to one of the Halsell Labs to help one of my students. If  I am not in my office, check the CS Majors Lab [Halsell 340], check the UNIX lab [Halsell 228], the Virtual Reality Lab [Halsell 200] or the University Lab [Halsell 226]. Please let me know that you are waiting to see me.