Spring 2015 CSCI 107 Syllabus


The course instructor for CSCI 107 is J Dean Brock.

Lectures in CSCI 107 are from 10:00 AM to 10:50 AM on Monday and Wednesday. The CSCI 107 lab will meet in KAR 037 on Monday afternoon from 1:45 PM to 3:00 PM.

When UNC Asheville is following the Late Start Schedule, the class will meet from 11:40 AM to 12:30 PM and the lab will meet from 2:50 PM to 3:50 PM.

Class home page

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

Course topics

Fairly specific, though sometimes tentative, information about the topics covered in the course can be found on the class’ topics and schedule pages.

Catalog Course Description

A survey of computer hardware and software, networking and the Internet, the convergence of personal computers and consumer electronics, digital representation of sound and images, multimedia presentations and authoring. Includes formal labs to develop skills in useful computer applications such as spreadsheets, databases, Internet browsers and multimedia design tools.

Learning objectives

Obviously, that catalog description was written in the days of PowerPoint and static web pages. Here are some up-to-date learning objectives.

  1. Write an Hour-of-code program in JavaScript just like the President did
  2. Create a database
  3. Use open source programs to create audio, raster-based and vector-based images
  4. Talk intelligently about computer architecture and operating systems
  5. Appreciate the impact of computer gaming, social media and web search on the way we work and play
  6. Know what’s inside your smart phone and laptop
  7. Understand how computers make HDTV broadcasts possible
  8. Appreciate why a computer can do math as fast a 100,000,000,000 people
  9. Appreciate why a three-year old can reason better than a computer
  10. Perform amazing feats of “computer science math”
  11. Explain what the North Koreans may have done to Sony
  12. Study the history of computers, both the hardware and the applications
  13. Learn to either fear, accept or ignore the singularity or gray goo
  14. Write some interesting web-based applications
  15. Use an Arduino and a transistor to control a motor

Textbook and readings

Most of the readings of the course will be from on-line sources that will be embedded in the lecture and lab schedules. You will also be asked to view a few on-line videos, such as the Creating Computing with Semmy YouTube series.

The textbook for the course will be HTML5: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald (ISBN-13: 978-1449363260). We will use about 0.428571 of this book during about 0.285714 of the course. The UNC Asheville library has an on-line copy of this book that you can read so you don’t need to buy a copy.


We will use only open-source software applications in this course. These applications will include a few of the following:

We will be using a proprietary operating system called Windows 7 in the ITS-maintained computer lab. You are welcome to use your favorite laptop to the lab, but you must have the appropriate software installed before the lab using it begins.


The following weights are used in computing the course grade.

Grade component Weight
Three exams


All three of the exams will consist of an ordinary exam and a practical. The distinction between the exams is explained on the Exams and Practicals page. The first two exams are in-class exams given on Monday in both the lecture and lab meeting times. The last exam will be given in the scheduled final exam time.

The ordinary exams will be closed book and closed notes. No electronic devices, including calculators, may be used during the exam. The practical exams will be completed using computers.

Exam attendance

UNC Asheville’s Academic Policies and Procedures do provide excused absences for “travel on university-sanctioned business” and “up to two excused absences per semester for religious observances” when seven days notice is given. The instructor will announce exam times with at least ten days notice. This will allow the instructor to reschedule exams to avoid excused absences.


Students will complete near-weekly assignments to be turned in at class or submitted via the UNC Asheville moodle system.

Some homework assignments will require classroom presentations.

Students are required to cite any sources, including the work or advice of other students, used in completing their assignments. This rule implies that students must submit the names of any students with whom they have discussed a homework assignment. If this is not done, no credit will be given for the homework. Intensive use of other sources can result in adjustments to the homework grade.

Late homework

All homeworks have a specific due time. Late assignments will be accepted for up to four days with a penalty of 10% for each 24-hour period.


In general, the lab grade is passed on participation and graded on a 10-point scale.


The following numerical scale will be used in assigning grades based on Score, the score computed using the weights described above.

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

Classroom expectations

The classroom is a place where students and faculty behave professionally. We are polite and attentive. We avoid talk of politics and religion. We do not use offensive language.

We all try to come to class on time. If students are late, they sit near the door. (A late instructor still must come to the front of the room.)

Electronics in the classroom

You are welcome to use your electronic devices to take notes. However, you should read the article Why students using laptops learn less in class even when they really are taking notes from the Washington Post before you give up on handwritten notes.

Electronic devices should not be used for gaming and social media during class. This distracts others in the class.

Sometimes you may need to discretely respond to a TXT message received during class. In these cases, it usually is best to leave the room. Do not use TXT messages to communicate to others in class. That is very impolite.

Required attendance

Some class activities, such as exams and labs, generate grades. You will receive a grade of 0 for those activities you miss. If you have an authorized excuse, you will be given an opportunity for a make-up.

Some class periods will be dedicated to student presentations. You are expected to attend all presentations by your fellow students. If you do not, your grade for own presentation will be adjusted.

Academic misconduct

It is never proper to claim another’s work as your own in graded work.

Impermissible actions

There are several impermissible actions that will result in the imposition of course or university sanctions. Impermissible actions in homework assignments include the following:

Impermissible actions on exams include the following:

Sometimes these rules may be modified or clarified for specific assignments and exams. For example, ”pair“ programming may be allowed for an assignment, or simple scientific calculators may be allowed during an exam.

Course sanctions for impermissible actions

The first offense will result in a grade of 0 for the related assignment or exam. The second offense will result in a grade of F for the course.

University policy on academic misconduct

The UNC Asheville Student Handbook has a section devoted to Academic Misconduct. It states the following:

A student accused of academic dishonesty should talk with his or her instructor. In all situations where a student has been disciplined for plagiarism or cheating, the instructor is to submit to the VCAA a brief statement of the case; the student is to receive a copy of this document. Depending upon the severity and/or repetition of the offense, the VCAA may choose to impose a penalty of cancellation of graduation with honors; cancellation of scholarships; dismissal from the university; or any other penalty which he or she deems logical and deserved. A student has 10 class days to respond to this document, in writing; this response is to be sent to the VCAA for attachment to the document submitted by the instructor.

In practice, students who have been involved in academic misconduct in three courses will be suspended for a semester. However a single significant offense, such as the submission of a plagiarized paper in entirety, can result in immediate dismissal.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Statement from the Office of Academic Accessibility

University of North Carolina at Asheville is committed to making courses, programs and activities accessible to persons with documented disabilities. Students requiring reasonable accommodations must register with the Office of Academic Accessibility by providing supporting documentation. All information provided will remain confidential. For more information please contact the Office of Academic Accessibility at (828)232-5050 or academicaccess@unca.edu or visit them in the OneStop Student Services Center.

Specific clarifications for CSCI 107

Students who have been approved for extended time for exams by the Office of Academic Accessibility must have their exams administered by the Office of Academic Accessibility and must take their exams at a time overlapping the scheduled in-class exam.

For more information

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

I get lots of email, so please include CSCI 107 in the subject line.

Email and FERPA

Academic administrators at UNC Asheville have told instructors that information protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act should only be sent to official university email addresses. Information related to recorded grades is clearly protected, as is any discussion that would allow a reader to draw conclusions about your performance or attendance in class.