Computer Science 170
Introduction to Computers and their Applications
Spring 2012

Dr. Stephen Bloch
office 203 Post Hall
phone 877-4483
Web page
Class Web page
office hours MWF 11:00-12:00 and T 10:00-4:00

January 21, 2012

1  Subject Matter

This is a “how-to” course about computers. Most of you have been using computers in one way or another for most of your lives, but I'll try to make sure that everybody, no matter what your computer experience, has something to learn from this course. This course satisfies the “Second Competency” component of the old Adelphi General Education requirements, and the “Information Literacy” component of the new Adelphi General Education requirements, and is a requirement for the “Computer and Management Information Systems” major, but does not count as a math/science distribution course. If you’re interested in writing your own programs or are considering majoring in computer science, you may still take this course but might be better served by a programming course like CS 160 “Computer Programming for Non-Majors” or CS 171 “Introduction to Computer Programming”; talk to me.

Topics covered this semester fall into several main categories:

2  Textbooks

This course will involve reading assignments from Parsons & Oja’s Computer Concepts, and a lot of on-line materials. Since the Parsons & Oja book has a new edition every year, it doesn’t have much resale value, so I wouldn’t recommend buying it for about $90, but you can do a 6-month “digital rental” for about $55; there’s also a copy of last year’s edition on reserve at Swirbul Library, and older editions on the shelves, so you don’t have to buy it at all.

We’ll go through most of the first 7 chapters this semester, about 500 pages, plus a bunch of on-line reading assignments; this comes to about 40 pages/week (although a lot of it is fairly easy reading, with lots of pictures!) Make time in your weekly schedule for the reading!

3  Grading

As I write this (the week before classes start), I envision 7 small homework assignments, each worth 10% of the semester grade, and a final exam worth 20% The remaining 10% of your grade will be based on class participation: asking and answering good questions in class, working well with team-mates, participating constructively in on-line discussions, etc. This schedule may change; I’ll keep an up-to-date schedule on my Web page.

Homework will be accepted late, at a penalty of 20% per day (or portion thereof) late: an hour late is 20% off, 25 hours late is 40% off, and after five days, don’t bother turning it in.

The final exam must be taken at the scheduled time, unless arranged in advance or prevented by a documented medical or family emergency. If you have three or more exams scheduled on the same date, or a religious holiday that conflicts with an exam or assignment due date, please notify me in writing within the first two weeks of the semester in order to receive due consideration. Exams not taken without one of the above excuses will be recorded with a grade of 0.

4  Ethics

Assignments in this class are to be done either individually or in teams of two; in the latter case, you may not do multiple homeworks with the same partner. You may discuss general approaches to a problem with classmates, but you may not copy. If you do, all the students involved will be penalized (e.g. I’ll grade the assignment once and divide the points equally among the several people who turned it in).

All work on an exam must be entirely the work of the one person whose name is at the top of the page. If I have evidence that one student copied from another on an exam, both students will be penalized; see above.

The Adelphi Code of Ethics applies to this course; look it up on the Web at .

5  Schedule

This class meets every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00-10:50 AM in Science 227, except on University holidays or if I cancel class. The schedule of topics, reading, and homework is on the Web; the dates are subject to change depending on how classroom discussions actually go. I expect you to have read the reading assignments before the lecture that deals with that topic; this way I can concentrate my time on answering questions and clarifying subtle or difficult points in the textbook, rather than on reading the textbook to you, which will bore both of us. Please read ahead!

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