CSC 170
Introduction to Computers and their Applications

Fall, 2007

Syllabus Calendar Homework Assignments Textbook

Getting Help

My office hours (in Alumnae Hall 113A; if I'm not there, look around the corner in 114) are

You can also get help from the tutors at the Learning Center (in Earle Hall).


This class will use two textbooks:

We'll go through most of the Parsons & Oja book, a few of the projects in the Office book, and use a lot of on-line resources. Note that the Bookstore has 8th, 9th, and 10th editions of the Parsons & Oja book. I don't know exactly what the differences are, but they release a new edition every year, and a lot of the material in the book changes very rapidly, so I'd recommend getting the latest edition you can.

Who should take this course?

Ten years ago, this course taught people how to use computers for word processing, e-mail, Web browsing, presentations, etc. Nowadays, most students coming to Adelphi already know this stuff, either from home or from high school. So we'll discuss some applications you may not already know, e.g. spreadsheets and databases. We'll talk about how the Internet works: how computers pass information from one to another, and keep track of where to send things. We'll talk about firewalls, security, botnets, encryption, viruses, distributed denial-of-service attacks, etc. We'll learn how to build and publish Web pages, including looking "under the hood" at HTML code and different kinds of graphics files. We'll talk about how Web search engines actually work, and how to make best use of their results. And we'll talk quite a bit about the impact of computers and telecommunications on human society: gender and economic issues, freedom of speech vs. government surveillance, intellectual property, censorship, voting machines, etc.

If you are (or are considering being) a math or computer science major, you'll need to take one or more programming courses like CSC 160 or CSC 171 (ask me for advice on which). If you are a Computer and Management Information Systems major, you need both this course and some programming courses. For General Education requirements, this course counts as a Second Competency but not as a Math/Science Distribution course.

Some Suggested Reading

On privacy, intellectual property, ethics, and politics, as affected by computers and telecommunications

On the history of the computer industry

Technical stuff

Some Web sites to critique

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