Introduction to Computers: Fall 2013
This course provides an introduction to computer usage in modern society, with a focus on uses in non-scientific disciplines. It covers the basic concept of computer hardware and software, computer usage, the Internet, and elementary programming skills. This is a hands-on class where you will learn about computers in lecture and apply that knowledge (and more) using computers for a variety of tasks in the laboratory sessions. This class is not a programming class - you will not emerge as experienced programmers, although you will learn the fundamentals of programming and will have written some small programs by the end of the quarter. Here is a more detailed list of objectives:
Being responsible for your grades
Regrading requests, if any, should be done within a week after the announcement/distribution of the graded papers. All requests must be submitted in writing, specifically explaining why additional credit is requested. Reevaluation may result in a decrease as well as an increase and is not limited to the specific question addressed by the student.
If you turn in your lab or homework late, you will only receive partial credit. If it is less than 24 hours late, you will receive 50% credit; if it is between 24 hours to 48 hours late, you will receive 25% credit; if it is more than 48 hours late, you will receive 0 credit. The only exception is when you bring me a doctor's note.
Grades for lab assignments, term paper, and midterm will be posted one week after the due/exam date. Please go to https://smartsite.ucdavis.edu/ to check your grades. It is very important you do check your grades.
The rules for conduct in UC Davis classes can be summarized with two principles:
As adults meeting in a professional context, we should all behave professionally: this means being polite and respectful to everyone we deal with.
As the instructor and TAs, it is our responsibility to teach as well as we can and to be available, polite and respectful to students.
In email, you must include ECS 15 in the subject line. This enables the instructors and TAs to respond much faster. Your email, with the required subject line, will be responded within a day in most cases (excluding weekends and holidays). Examples of suitable subject line are "ECS 15 - lab 1", "ECS 15- term paper", etc.
You are responsible for treating us and your fellow students politely and with respect.
Take the time to be polite and respectful when emailing the instructors and TAs. For example, this email to a TA is not appropriate:
> R U handing back midterms Th?
The question is fine, but the style is all wrong. It is not an appropriate professional communication, because it is not polite and respectful. This message is much better:
> Hi Gary, > > This is Shareen, from your Thursday discussion section. > I was wondering if you are going to be handing back the midterms this week? > > Thanks, Shareen
Notice the formal greeting, how the writer identifies herself, the use of complete sentences, the polite phrasing of the question, and the gracious closing.
As the instructor and teaching assistants, it is our responsiblity to make tests and assignments that are fair, to grade fairly, to look for cheating, and to refer students who cheat to Student Judicial Affairs for possible sanctions. The English department made the largest number of referrals to SJA last year, but Computer Science was in the top 10.
As students, it is your responsibility to avoid cheating and to discourage other students from cheating.
It is sometimes less clear to a student when s/he is cheating on a programming assignment. We want you to help each other, and we want you to look at examples of similar programs. So how do you know when helping and looking crosses the line into cheating? Here’s the basic rule:
You should write each line of your program yourself, and you should know what it does and why it is there.
Often the easiest way to write a program, even in industry, is to take an already-existing program that does something similar, and change it around. This is fine in “real-life”, but in this class, it is better not to cut-and-paste whole programs or even single lines, since as a beginner you need to concentrate on every line. You should, however, look very carefully at the example programs from lecture or the textbook, and figure out how your programs should be similar or different.
Writing programs can be very, very frustrating. Sometimes you don’t know how to start. Sometimes your program seems perfect, but it doesn’t do what you think it should be doing. Talk to the other students, to friends who are programmers, to the TAs, to anyone who can help! You should ask people for advice, have them look at your program, talk about big strategy, talk about details…. but make sure when the conversation is over that you understand every line of your (hopefully improved…) program. If your friend is telling you exactly what to type, you are cheating.
You should not begin an assignment by looking at another student’s program for that assignment. Never copy another student’s program, or part of another student’s program. Write your own, line by line. If you are looking at another student’s program to help them, that is not cheating. If they are letting you look at their program to help you, that is cheating. If you are looking at another student’s program while typing in yours, or if you cut-and-paste from another student’s program, you are clearly cheating and in addition you are very likely to be caught.
You will quickly see that there are always many, many ways to write a program for a particular programming assignment, just like there are many ways to write an essay for a particular English assignment. And it is almost as easy to recognize two almost identical programs as it is to recognize two almost identical essays.
The lecture materials are partially derived from the related courses of Sean Davis, Nina Amenta, Nick Puketza, Jim Kurose, Keith Ross, Xin Liu, and Raissa D'Souza.
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