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21369 CSC 1023N - 0 - Introduction to Computer Science

Spring 2012
On Line Course
Herbert J. Bernstein ( )



This web page is http://www.bernstein-plus-sons.com/.dowling/CSC1023S12/CSC1023_Syllabus.html
Copyright © 2001 -- 2004, 2010, 2011 Herbert J. Bernstein and other parties. All rights reserved.

This is the syllabus for an on line section of CSC 1023N for Spring 2012. 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

Covers the fundamentals of computing, including the basics of computer hardware and software, the Internet and World Wide Web, the history of computing, ethical issues related to technology, data communications and networking, problem- solving techniques, the limits of computers, top-down analysis and elementary programming concepts. The focus of this course is on concepts and basic skills and also on understanding the mindset and discipline needed to solve challenging problems with computers. Students create short computer programs using modern software development tools.

Note: For Spring 2012 we are using Python rather than Javascript as a sample programming language.

This Syllabus is for the following Spring 2012 section:

Introduction to Computer Science - 21369 - CSC 1023N - 0
Associated Term: Winter/Spring 2012
Registration Dates: Nov 14, 2011 to May 14, 2012
Levels: Undergraduate
Instructors: Herbert J. Bernstein (P)

Dowling On Line Campus
Lecture Schedule Type
On Line Instructional Method
3.000 Credits
View Catalog Entry

Scheduled Meeting Times
Type Time Days Where Date Range Schedule Type Instructors
On line TBA   Internet teaching on line LINE Jan 27, 2012 - May 14, 2012 Lecture Herbert J. Bernstein


Office Hours:

Students have the option of meeting with the instructor either on-site or via Skype. In order to avoid conflicts with other students and other obligations of the instructor, if possible please make an appointment via email.

Note that, in general, Dr. Bernstein will be at the Brookhaven campus on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and on the Oakdale campus on Wednesday afternoons. Meetings on the Oakdale campus will be in KSC 103. Meetings at the Oakdale campus are by appointment only.

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

Required Texts:

Students are expected to have their text books no later than the second week of the semester.

Recommended Reading:

The following text is recommended for all prospective computer science majors

This four 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. In addtion to maintaining a written notebook, each student will be required to maintain a course blog (see below).

Required Computer Accounts:

Each student has a Dowling College email account. In addition, each student is required to sign-up for a Google gmail account, so that they will have access to Google Sites and Google Blogger (blogspot.com). There will be a common course blog at http://yayahjbcsc1023s12.blogspot.com. In addition, each student is required to maintain their own blog for the course. Once you have a gmail account, you should create a blog for the course using your gmail user name followed by CSC1023S12. You will use the blog to discuss your own progress and to maintain useful brief notes for the course.

You will also need a Google Sites account to post your assignments and to maintain notes that are not appropriate for your course blog. There will be a common course web site at https://sites.google.com/site/yayahjbcsc1023s12/. Each student is required to maintain their own course web site, to which they will post their assignments. Once you have a gmail account, you should create a Google Sites course web page using your gmail user name followed by CSC2012S12.

In addition, each student will have an account on a unix system at Dowling College, on arcib.dowling.edu. Those accounts will be useful in running compilers and practicing creations of web pages.


This is an online class, with no on-site meetings. The major risk in taking an on line course is in failing to make steady progress through the semester. Therefore, all students are required both to demonstrate their progress with on-line quizzes and to attend at least one online meeting every 2 weeks with the instructor to discuss the work they are doing for this class. Students are encouraged to schedule these online meetings in groups via Skype, but they may meet the requirement with individual Skype meetings or by on-site meetings during office hours.

Students who fail to maintain regular contact with the instructor prior to the midterm will get a midterm warning and be advised to withdraw from the course.

Grading Policy:

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 by 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 weekly brief quizzes related to, but not necessarily identical to, earlier assignments.

The weekly quizzes are open-web, open-book, open-notes quizzes, but that won't work in your favor if you don't do the reading.

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).

You will be required to show your notebook to the instructor via Skype.

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 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 ungraded 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.

Secure Remote Access with GUI

Using VNC via SSH: vnc.html

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 25 December 2011.