CSCI 112 Fall 2011
Exploring Computer Science
Archived Class
Charles Cusack
Computer Science
Hope College



CSCI 125
CSCI 255
MATH 341


Grade Distribution

  • Exams
    There will be one midterm exam and one final exam for the course. The final exam will be cumulative.
  • Homework
    There will be about 12-16 homework assignments consisting of one or more questions or problems related to the current topic, often taken from the textbook.

    All homework must be typeset using Word or some other software. Unless there is a significant amount of mathematics involved, handwritten assignments will not be accepted.

    You must show all of your work and explain your answers. Numbers and/or algebra by themselves are not enough. You will lose a significant amount of credit if you do not show enough work/context for your answers.

    All work that you turn in must be your own. You are encouraged to discuss homework questions together, but your answers must be your own work. Discussing ways to approach solving problems is always acceptable; discussing the answers to questions often leads to students turning in work that is not truly their own and should be avoided. Please see my policies page for how I deal with academic dishonesty.

  • Project
    There will be one major project for the course, consisting of 5 parts. You will be expected to write a 7-8 page paper about a computer science topic of your choice. See the Project page for more details.
  • SRQ
    SRQ is an abbreviation for Summary/Response/Questions, and it is typically a response to a reading assignment.
    Every day there is a reading assignment you need to write a 1-2 page SRQ. You must always write an SRQ for sections of the textbook. If multiple sections are assigned, you should write a single SRQ for those sections. For reading assignments that are not from the textbook, you only need to write an SRQ if the link to the reading in the schedule contains "(SRQ)" after it.
    Your SRQ must be typed/typeset (using Microsoft Word, Open Office, etc.) and submitted as a PDF named Brookshear-X.Y.pdf, where X.Y is the section of the book (and Brookshear is the author of the book).
    For example, for section 2.3, the file would be Brookshear-2.3.pdf. For sections 2.4-2.7, you would name it Brookshear-2.4-2.7.pdf.
    SRQs must be handed in electronically via handin using assignment 112SRQ and are due at 8:00am. There are various ways of creating PDFs.
    CutePDF, which is installed on all of the lab machines and is freely available, installs like a printer so you can print to a PDF document from whatever program you use.

    Include your name and the section(s) of the book that the summary is about. Then include the following three sections (with headings):
    • Summary: Start with a 1-2 sentence overview of the main topic(s) of the section. Then fill in more details. Highlight the definitions, theorems, etc. that seem to be the most important.
    • Response: In 1-4 sentences, discuss what you think about the section—is it interesting, boring, does it connect to something else in the book or from another class? Can you see how the material might come in handy in another context? In particular, emphasize why the topic is relevant to computer scientists.
    • Questions: When you read something there will always be questions. There are several types of questions you might have.
      • Things you didn't understand. Give specific terms, concepts, examples, or exercises that you had trouble with, being as detailed as possible.
      • How this section connects with previous material.
      • How the material might be extended or applied to other things.
      • Why certain symbols or terms where chosen.
      There are plenty of other questions that might come to your mind as you read—include them.

    Grades will be on a scale from 0-4 based on completeness, correctness, insight, and mechanics (grammar, spelling, etc.). Sometimes I will grade soley based on having turned it in (so 0 or 4). Roughly, the grades mean the following:
    0Didn't turn it in
    1Very poor attempt
    2The required sections are present, but too brief or very poorly written.
    3A very good attempt, but there are some problems with one or more of the sections and/or the mechanics need work.
    4An excellent SRQ.
    The Free Late policy does not apply to SRQs—they must be handed in on time or they don't count.
  • Participation
    There are three main criteria here, not necessarily equally wieighted:
    1. Classroom discussion and activities. This includes attendance, how engaged you are during class, whether you are contributing to a positive learning environment or causing distractions, etc. You participation in the course is important to your success. The more engaged you are during the lectures, the more you will get out of class. Therefore I keep track of how much each student participates. During certain portions of the course, your participation during class will be particularly important.
    2. Getting help when needed (Office Hours, etc.). Contrary to what some students may believe, it is a good thing to ask your professors questions when you get stuck. Thus, I want to encourage you to do so. If you are struggling with the material and never come for help, it will be reflected in this part of your grade.
    3. Colloquium attendance. You must attend at least 75% of the colloquiums to not get marked down. Colloquiums are usually at 11:00am on Thursdays, so please plan your other activities in such a way as to leave this time open.