Spring 2005 CSCI 173 Syllabus


The course instructor is Dean Brock. The course lectures will be delivered on Monday and Wednesday from 12:20 PM to 1:10 PM in Rhoades 217. On Friday from 12:20 PM to 2:00 PM, there will be a formal lab in Robinson 004.

Class home page

All class handouts, including homework assignments, can be found through the following URL:

Course Description

Here is the offical course description which never was posted in UNCA's registration system.

Official Course Description

Literate computer users are masters of everyday computer tools. Fluent computer users understand the principles of information technology and can apply those to master emerging IT technology. This course is about fluency. Students will learn about a bit about computer and network hardware, software packages, and even programming. We'll also study why computer fails as tasks you've been doing since kindergarden, such as, finding the bunny in the picture.

Students in the Computer Science and Multimedia programs are encouraged to take this course as a substitute for CSCI 107.

More about substitution for CSCI 107

The Chair of the Department of Computer Science, who just happens to be the instructor of this course, is willing to write a letter approving the substitution of this course within the major requirements for UNCA's Computer Science degree. However, if you are a major in UNCA's Multimedia Arts and Sciences program, you must get the Chair of the Department of Multimedia Arts and Sciences to write a similar letter if you plan to substitute this course for CSCI 107.

What I've been told to cover

The faculty in Computer Science and Multimedia Arts and Sciences have specificly requested that I cover the following skills.

What I also hope to cover

In addition to the above, we'll cover a bit about artificial intellegence, computer hardware, security, privacy, and history of computation. There's a lot that can be done.


There will be some readings from George Beekman's Computer Confluence: Exploring Tomorrow's Technology. This is the same textbook used in CSCI 107. There will also be some on-line reading assignments using the "electronic resources" of UNCA's Ramsey Library.

You may just want to "share" a copy of Computer Confluence with a fellow student. The exams will be closed book, so you don't need to worry about having a copy at the tests.

Grading Policy

Your grade will be based upon:

Three semester exams 60%
Presentations 10%
Homework 10%
Lab 20%

The following numerical scale will be used in assigning grades based on Score, the weighted score computed using the preceding table.

Score ≥ 93A
Score ≥ 90 & Score < 93A-
Score ≥ 87 & Score < 90B+
Score ≥ 83 & Score < 87B
Score ≥ 80 & Score < 83B-
Score ≥ 77 & Score < 80C+
Score ≥ 73 & Score < 77C
Score ≥ 70 & Score < 73C-
Score ≥ 67 & Score < 70D+
Score ≥ 60 & Score < 67D
Score < 60F

Course Requirements


There will be three 50-minute in-class exams. No make-up exams will be given. If you have a conflict with a scheduled exam, you must notify the instructor in advance to arrange an alternative. Likewise, if you are unable to take an exam due to illness or emergency, you must notify this instructor immediately. Failure to notify prior to the exam time will result in a test grade of zero.


Students will make two brief (15 to 20 minute) presentations during the semester of a topic of their choice.


The homework that you complete in this course will generally be a digital "product". Cooperation and exchange of ideas with other students are encouraged; however, copying is not. Any cases involving suspected academic dishonesty result in a grade of zero for the assignment. See Student Responsibilities - Academic Honesty at http://www.unca.edu/catalog/academicregs.html#grading.

Attendance Policy

Students are expected to attend all class lectures. Failure to do so will be considered a lack of interest in success on the part of the student. It is very important that you do the assigned reading and come to class prepared to participate.

There will be about thirteen labs during the semester. In computing your average lab grade, your lowest lab grade will be dropped. That is your one allowed miss. Labs must be completed during the lab period. If you feel you already know the material covered in a particular lab, then show up to help out your fellow students. Helpfulness has its own rewards.

Email Communication

Your instructor will periodically communicate with you through e-mail to your bulldog account (yourlogin@bulldog.unca.edu). These communications will typically be regarding assignments. You must periodically check this e-mail account for messages and to insure that new messages can be received. Be sure that your mailbox is not full.

For more information

The best way to get in touch with me is to send email to brock@cs.unca.edu. If you need to see me, send me email to arrange an appointment.