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Department of Information Science and Telecommunications


INFSCI 0012 - Introduction to Programming

(Spring 2002, CRN 43348)

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Syllabus and Schedule

Course Objectives

  1. To understand the nature of programming as human activity
  2. To learn and experience main components of programming process
  3. To understand main control structures of procedural programming languages
  4. To learn and being able to use major programming patterns
  5. To understad the principles of data storage and manipulation
  6. To get prepared for the more advanced programming courses such as IS15 and IS 20

Upon satisfactory completion of this course, students will will be able to write small meaningful C programs that includes major control structures (such as loop, selection), programming patterns (such as maximum or sequential array processing), and data types. On the way to that goal we will have to learn a reasonable subset of C language, explore many working examples and write multiple C programs.

The course is targeted to the students who have no or very little programming knowledge and experience. Those with some good programming backround are advised to proceed directly to IS15. Vice versa, the students who expetience problems when taking more fast and steep programming courses such as IS15 are advised to take IS12 first.

Assessment and Grading

Components of the Final Grade

Course assessment includes quizzes that will be offered through the course, homework programming assignments, and two exams - midterm and final. The final exam is not cumulative. You final grade has three components: work over the duration of the course, midterm exam grade, and final exam grade. Each of these components will be evaluated separately using 100pt extended Letter Grade scale (0-20 is F range, 20-40 is D range, 40-60 is C range, 60-80 is B range and 80-100 is A range). After that the final grade will be calculated as 40% course + 30% midterm + 30% final.

Grade for the work over the duration of the course is a sum of your assignment grades, quiz grades (we will have a quiz every week, but two lowest quiz grades will be excluded) and activity points. Your progress will be measured as a percentage of the max possible points: (assessment_points + quiz_points + activity_points)/(max_assessment_points + max_quiz_points) * 100%. Using this formula you can always check where you are standing. Score < 50% corresponds to F, 50-62.5 is D range, 62.5-75 is C range, 75-87.5 is B range, and 87.5-100 is A range. The formula to convert this score to 100pt extended Letter Grade scale is (X-37.5)/12.5*20.

Activity Points

You can earn bonus "activity points" for several things such as asking a good question in a discussion forum, providing a helpful answer in a discussion forum, helping during the lecture, attending additional "catch-up" sessions, finding errors in slides and examples. Activity points will be added to your assessment/quiz results.

Submitting and Naming

All assignments has to be submitted in paper form on the due date before or after the lecture has to be in instructor's hands by 4pm on the due date. Submit a printed copy of the program code and a sample output (starting from assignment #3). In addition, the program code of the assignment in ascii form has to be submitted electronically using CourseWeb's dropbox at any time by or on the due date (your submissions are time stamped). Naming conditions for electronic submissions are strict. When submitting via the dropbox, the link to your file should be named programX_Y where X is an assignment number and Y is a problem number within the assignment. You will lose 1/2 point for every misnamed link starting from assignment 3. All submitted work should bear the number of the assignment/quiz and the author's name in printed form inside the header comment. You will lose 1/2 point for every solution that lacks the header comment with this data. By submitting work under your name, you are indicating that you have completed the assignment. This means that you should be able to completely explain every line of code in your program. Failure to be able to account for your coding decisions will be reflected in your grade.

Course Policies

Academic Integrity

You are expected to be fully aware of your responsibility to maintain a high quality of integrity in all of your work. All work must be your own, unless collaboration is specifically and explicitly permitted. Any unauthorized collaboration or copying will at minimum result in no credit for the affected assignment and may be subject to further action under the University Guidelines for Academic Integrity. You are expected to have read and understood these Guidelines. A document discussing these guidelines was included in your orientation materials.


Class attendance, while not mandatory, is required if you want to succeed in this course. While most of the material covered by the lectures could be found in course books, for most of the lectures the order of presentation does not match any book exactly. Some material is not sufficiently covered by the book. Finally, all lectures include animated demonstration of examples. If you have missed the lecture, make sure you have a copy of the slides. Spare copies can be picked up from a folder near the instructor's office or printed from the Web.

Late Submissions and Resubmissions

The due date for assignments is strict. For extreme circumstances you have 5 late days to use at your discretion (i.e. you may use them on a single assignment, or distribute them over several assignments). Outside of this limit late assignment will not be considered. You can also improve your submission or fix errors in your submission until due date. Simply upload the new version adding "_v2", "_v3", etc to the name of the link to the program (i.e., program3_1_v2) The rules for submitting an updated version are the same as for late submissions - by or on the due date or use your late days limit. No assignment can be submitted or resubmitted after it was analyzed during the lecture.


If you miss a quiz or and assignment, you will receive a zero. There will be no make-up quizzes, but the instructor will drop the two lowest scores on the quizzes. There are also no make-up assignments since most of the assignments will be analysed in the class on or shortly after the due date. Missed exams can be made up in cases of extreme circumstances.

Office Hours

Office hours are an opportunity for you to clarify details you may have missed in class or to resolve a serious problem you have encountered when working on an assignment. They are not a place to get a "second run" of the lecture if you missed the class or obtain answers on the assignment. If you come to office hours with a problem on the assignment, make sure that you have access to an electronic version of your code.

Special Considerations

If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and Office of Disability Resources and Services, 216 William Pitt Union, (412) 648-7890 / (412) 383-7355 (TTY) as early as possible in the term. DRS will verify your disability and determine reasonable accommodations for this course.

Course Overview

  1. Introduction
  2. Karel the Robot: language and enviroment
  3. Simple Karel programs
  4. Defining new instructions in Karel
  5. Selection control structures in Karel
  6. Loop control structures in Karel
  7. Introduction to C
  8. First program, compilation, syntax errors
  9. Variables, data types, and arithmetic expressions
  10. Comparisons, simple conditions, while loop
  11. More Data Types, conversions, constants, for loop
  12. Conditional statement, complex conditions
  13. Embedded while and if
  14. Arrays. Array processing with for
  15. Functions, parameter passing
  16. Recursion

Course Schedule

Tuesday January 8 Lecture 1
Thursday January 10 Lecture 2
Tuesday January 15 No class meeting
Thursday January 17 Lecture 3. Last chance to drop.
Tuesday January 22 Lecture 4
Thursday January 24 Lecture 5
Tuesday January 29 Lecture 6
Thursday January 31 Lecture 7
Tuesday February 5 Lecture 8
Thursday February 7 Lecture 9
Tuesday February 12 Lecture 10
Thursday February 14 Lecture 11
Tuesday February 19 Lecture 12
Thursday February 21 Lecture 13
Tuesday February 26 Lecture 14
Thursday February 28 Midterm exam
Tuesday March 5 Spring Recess
Thursday March 7 Spring Recess
Tuesday March 12 Lecture 15. Last chance to withdwaw
Thursday March 14 Lecture 16
Tuesday March 19 Lecture 17
Thursday March 21 Lecture 18
Tuesday March 26 Lecture 19
Thursday March 28 Lecture 20
Tuesday April 2 Lecture 21
Thursday April 4 Lecture 22
Tuesday April 9 Lecture 23
Thursday April 11 Lecture 24
Tuesday April 16 Lecture 25
Thursday April 18 Lecture 26
Week of April 22 Final Exam

Copyright © 2002 Peter Brusilovsky