Spring 2016 CSCI 107 Syllabus


The course instructor for CSCI 107 is J Dean Brock. CSCI 107 meets Monday and Wednesday from 5:10 PM. All class meetings will start in RRO 217. Sometimes the class will move to RRO 223 for tutorials and exercises.

Class home page

All class handouts, including homework assignments, can be accessed 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

CSCI 107 — Introduction to Computers and Multimedia

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.

Degree requirements fulfilled

CSCI 107 is a required course in the Computer Science major and minor.

Of course, all students can use CSCI 107 to fulfill 3 credit hours of the required 120 for graduation.

Learning objectives

Obviously, that catalog description was written in the days of PowerPoint and static web pages. At this time, we are continuing to request that CSCI 107 be designated as UNC Asheville’s Scientific Perspective. Our up-to-date learning objectives that align with this requirement are that students should be able to do the following:

Aligning with the AP Computer Science Principles

In Fall 2016, the Advanced Placement (AP) program will add a new test in AP Computer Science Principles. This test has been under development since 2008 with active involvement from computer science faculty at Duke University, North Carolina State, and UNC-Charlotte.

The goals of CSCI 107 and AP Computer Science Principles are well-aligned, and this term CSCI 107 will use some of the instruction plans and study materials being developed for AP Computer Science Principles. It may get a little bumpy.

Learning about web design

We will also study web design from HTML5 to JavaScript during the semester.

One other objective

Last year, the Department of Computer Science purchased a 3-D printer which has yet to be used in any course. We should be the first to use it! Start thinking about something you’d like to print. I suggest starting with a toy and working up to a doohickey.

Textbook and readings

Often required reading will be assigned for a class. Read it and come to class prepared.

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

The first textbook for this course will be HTML5: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald (ISBN-13: 978-1449363260). We will use about half the book during 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.

The second textbook for the course will be the popular on-line book Blown to Bits by Hal Abelson, Ken Ledeen, and Harry Lewis. This fun-to-read book predicts how the digital revolution will change the world. It is also the suggested textbook for AP Computer Science Principles.


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

You are welcome to use your favorite laptop to the lab, but you must have the appropriate software installed before the class using it begins.


The following weights are used in computing the course grade.

Grade component Weight
Three exams
Homeworks, projects, presentations …


The following numeric 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


All CSCI 107 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 will be given in regular meeting times. The third 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.

Weightings of individual exams

The total exam grade will be the larger of either (exam1+exam2+exam3)/3 or (2 exam1+2 exam2+3 exam3)/7.

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.

Providing the instructor with a list of planned university-sanctioned absences at the beginning of the course does not constitute adequate notice.

Homework and assignments

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

Homework ranges from simple “finger” exercises to projects in which media, programs, and web pages are produced.

All homework has a specific due time. Late homework submissions must be downloaded to moodle. A penalty of 1% per hour, rounded up to the next hour, will be applied to late homework.

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 show up on time.

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, 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 may 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.

Unless explicitly stated in the description of an assignment, a submitted assignment must be the result of your individual effort. Your are required to cite any sources, including the work of other students, used in completing their assignments.

This is similar to the expectations of the professional workplace. If a co-worker helps you with a task, you must acknowledge their contribution. It’s only fair. If you incorporate any code from the Internet, you must cite the source. Your company does not want to be sued.

Impermissible actions

There are several impermissible actions that will result in the imposition of course or university sanctions. Impermissible actions in homework assignments include, but are not limited to, the following:

Impermissible actions on exams include, but are not limited to, the following:

Sometimes these rules may be modified for specific assignments and exams. For example, group projects 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. These are the expected sanctions for courses at UNC Asheville.

University policy on academic misconduct

The UNC Asheville Student Handbook has a section devoted to Academic Misconduct which 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 and help

I have office hours from 3:00 to 4:30 PM on Tuesday and Thursday. My office is RRO 221A. The best way to get in touch with me quickly is to send email to brock@unca.edu.

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

Regulations related to email to and from faculty

Information protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) should only be sent from your official university email address. 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.

Email sent to me, even if it does not involve the use of state-maintained computers, may be subject to the North Carolina Public Records Law and, as such, may be disclosed to third parties.