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90628 CSC 1023N - 0 - Introduction to Computer Science

Fall 2010
90628: Thursday, 5:30 pm - 8:11 pm , Kramer Science Center 102A
Herbert J. Bernstein ( )



This web page is http://www.bernstein-plus-sons.com/.dowling/CSC1023F10/CSC1023_Syllabus.html
Copyright © 2001 -- 2004, 2010 Herbert J. Bernstein and other parties. All rights reserved.

This is the syllabus for one section of CSC 1023N for Fall 2010. As the course moves forward, students should return to this page frequently for updated material.

Catalog descriptions:

CSC 1023N. Introduction to Computer Science

3 Credits

The fundamentals of computer science are covered, including concepts of computer hardware (the actual machines) and computer software (programs). The focus of this course is on concepts and basic skills, understanding the mindset and discipline needed to solve complex problems with computers and computer programs. Topics covered include ethical issues, fiduciary responsibility, Murphy's Law, KISS, history of computing, problem solving techniques, top-down analysis, bottom-up synthesis, data communications and networking, using the web, elementary programming concepts, variables, loops, conditionals and programming for the web with html and Javascript. Heavy emphasis will be placed on reading, on oral and written presentation skills and on numeracy.

Prerequisites: Sound preparation in numeracy and in speaking, reading and writing English is required.

Note: For Fall 2010 we are using Python rather than Javascript as a sample programming language.

This Syllabus is for the following Fall 2010 section:

CRN   Subj   Crse   Sec   Credits   Title   Campus  
  Start Date   End Date   Days   Times   Bldg   Room  
90628  CSC  1023N  3.00   Intro to Computer Science  Oakdale 
  Sep 01, 2010  Dec 18, 2010  05:30 pm - 08:11 pm  KSC  102A 
  Instructor(s): Herbert J. Bernstein 


Office Hours:

There will be no meeting of this class on Thursday, 9 September 2010 (Rosh Hashanah) and Thursday, 25 November 2010 (Thanksgiving)

Note that, in general, Dr. Bernstein will be at the Oakdale campus on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. Meetings at the Brookhaven campus are by appointment only. If at all possible, please use email to schedule meetings in advance to avoid conflicts with other students and other obligations of the instructor.

For more information see http://www.bernstein-plus-sons.com/.dowling/HJB_Contact_Info.html.

Required Text:

Students are advised to bring the required texts to every meeting of the class to help them in answering the daily quiz questions.

Recommended Reading:

The following text is recommended for all prospective computer science majors

This three volume set is an essential reference for any serious computer scientist. There will be no specific assignments from Knuth, but reading it may well help in understanding the required text and the lectures and to get ready for a career in Computer Science.

Required Supplies:

A hard bound laboratory notebook. An inexpensive black-and-white covered composition book will suffice but it must be bound (not looseleaf).

Keeping clear written records is an important part of working in any scientific field. It is particularly important in Computer Science, where there are very complex, non-obvious decisions to make.

Students are expected to have their text books no later than the second meeting of the class.


Attendance will be taken at all class meetings. All absences must be explained in writing (or via email). Students who miss 2 or more lectures must meet with the instructor to review their progress in the course. Students who miss more than 2 lectures prior to the midterm will get a midterm warning and will be advised to withdraw from the course. Grades will be reduced for unexcused absences (see grading policy, below).

Grading Policy:

All students will be required to actively participate in classroom discussions. Many assignments will be given for drill. Students will be shown how to set up a minimal web site early in the course. All completed assignments must be posted on the student's web page on the due date. Students will be required to "turn in" some of those assignments for grading by sending an email with the appropriate URLs. Students will be given daily brief quizzes related to, but not necessarily identical to, earlier assignments. Quizzes will often be based on the assigned readings, asking questions that have not yet been discussed in class. This is intended to encourage students to do the assigned readings.

Even though the daily quizzes are open-book quizzes, students are more likely to be able to find the answers if they have done the readings before coming to class. There will be no makeups for these quizzes.

Every student will be required to maintain a contemporaneous hardbound notebook recording all significant activities related to this course. The notebook should record the major topics discussed, questions about the subject matter of the course and the answers when they are found, and all activities related to the course project (see below). The instructor will borrow the notebooks several times during the year and grade them for thoroughness, clarity and relevance to the course. Only the portions of the notebook that are dated, written in the student's own hand and on the permanent pages of the notebook will be acceptable for use during the midterm and final.

IMPORTANT: No other reference materials will be permitted during the midterm and final. Only the graded notebook(s) written in the student's own hand will be permitted as a reference during the midtem and final. The textbooks will NOT be allowed as references during the midterm and final.

Students will be required to complete a course-related web page programming project, which is to be done as an individual programming effort.

An open-notes, open computer/calculator midterm and an open-notes, open computer/calculator final will be given. In general, no assignments will be accepted late and no makeups will be given for missed quizzes or examinations. Requests for exceptions to this policy will be considered only for the most pressing reasons (illness requiring hospitalization, death in the family, reserve call-up, etc.), must be submitted in writing or by email in a timely manner, and will be granted only if the instructor has sound reason to believe that the student is highly likely to master the material of the course within the current semester.

Course Syllabus

The syllabus and the course objectives that follow are derived in part from the IEEE/ACM "Computing Curricula 2001 Computer Science" - Final Report - (December 15, 2001) by the Joint Task Force on Computing Curricula, IEEE Computer Society, Association for Computing Machinery.

Course Objectives

Assessable Learning Outcomes

All of the course objectives stated above are desired learning outcomes, and students should strive of achieve all of them. Certain objectives, however, are strong indicators of having mastered most of the remaining objectives. The following will explicitly be assessed:

In addition, basic learning skills, critical thinking, a scholarly approach to learning and diligent attention to all the material presented in lectures, in readings and available to the student from other sources are assessable outcomes of this course.


Each student will be expected to display a solid grasp of the concepts of the design of web pages with active content by creating a web-based project. Each student will work on his or her own project. Each student will be required to explain to demonstrate their project to the class, explain how it works, and to respond to questions from the class and from the instructor on the project. Students may propose their own project no later than the 4th week of class. If no project is proposed, the instructor will assign a project.


Any work with computers requires some background in mathematical concepts and logical reasoning. The skills in the DVM0001 course description are needed to be able to cope with the material presented. Creating web pages is a form of creative writing. Students must have sound skills in speaking, reading and writing English. There will be an


diagnostic quiz given during the first lecture to help students understand how well prepared they are for the work in this course.

If students' English and math skills are weak or nonexistent they may have serious difficulty doing the assignments for the course. In that case, intensive tutoring and/or delaying taking this course until their skills are better aligned to the demands of the course may be worth considering. Students with questions about their English and math skills should discuss the matter with the instructor.


Please consult the course assigments page frequently.

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Dowling Computer Club

If you're interested in joining with your fellow students in developing and maintaining a web site, or pursuing your exploration of computer hardware or software, you might want to consider joining the Dowling Computer Club. Just follow the link for further details:

Dowling College Computer Club Web Site

Updated 2 September 2010.