CSC 207 - Introduction to Computer Science

Centenary College of Louisiana
1A Magale Library
MW 2-3:45 - Fall 2008

Instructor: Dr. Mark Goadrich

Contact Info
104 Wright Building
(318) 869-5194

Office Hours
MW 10-12, TR 10-11
or by appointment

Overview | Syllabus | Labs | Projects | Exams | Grading

What's New

  • Aug 25: First day of class. This web-page will be your main source of information about this class. Plan to check this page regularly.

    Course Details


    How to Think Like a (Python) Programmer
    by Allen Downey, 2007
    Olin College, MA
    Do not download the text from the above website.
    This textbook is open-source; I am reorganizing it to match our course syllabus.
    Readings from the textbook will be posted in PDF form when assigned under the syllabus section.


    This course is an introduction to the study of computer science using the programming language of Python. Topics covered will include mathematical functions, string manipulation, logic and control structures, file input/output, elementary data structures, and object-oriented programming. You will learn the principles of problem solving, programming and algorithm development in lab assignments, projects and exams.

    We will be studying these computer-science concepts through an interdisciplinary approach focused on the topic of intelligent life in the universe. Specifically, we will be asking three main questions:

    Answers to these questions will be explored within the fields of astrobiology, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, mathematics and cryptography, and we will see how elements of computer science underlie these disciplines.

    Quizzes and Participation

    You are encouraged to attend class and participate in discussions every day. Sporadically throughout the semester, there will be short quizzes covering material from the previous class. These quizzes will serve as records of your attendance, and in total they will comprise 5% of your final grade. Active participation in class discussions will comprise another 5% of your final grade. This will be awarded for answering questions, asking questions, presenting material, etc.

    Extra Credit

    Extra credit for this course can be earned by participating in the Centenary Math Problem of the Week (POTW). Each reasonable submission will be worth an additional 0.5% toward your final grade, CC me with your submission for credit.


    Centenary assures students with disabilities equal opportunity to reach the same level of achievement as other students. Strict confidentiality will be maintained on students with disabilities. Services for students with disabilities are available through the Counseling Center, located on the ground floor of Rotary Residence Hall, phone (318) 869-5424.

    Honor Code

    All students are bound by the Honor System. The Honor System is applicable to all academic work. See the Centenary College Handbook for the complete Honor Code. You may discuss topics with other students and tutors, but all code you write must be your own, and you must be able to explain to me how it works. In this course, it is a violation of the honor code to look at code from previous semesters or in other students' directories.


    Extensions and rescheduling for labs, projects, exams and quizzes are only given when circumstances beyond your control (e.g. being sick, choir or sports travel) prevent you from completing a project on time. You must notify me either by email or phone of your circumstances well in advance of the due date. No extensions are given for requests made within three days of the due date.


    We will be covering most of the material in the textbook, which will be released in chapters each week. You should view your textbook as another perspective on the material presented in class and covered in the labs. We will also be using additional supplemental material such as relevant web-pages and background material for the lab assignments. Readings will be assigned before material will be covered in class. You are expected to review the material and come to class prepared. As readings are assigned, they will be posted here.


    Much of your experience with programming in this course will be through weekly labs, which will comprise 25% of your final grade. Each lab will be assigned in class with time allotted to work through the materials, and will be due at the beginning of the next class period. All labs are weighted equally within the Lab portion of your final grade.

    You may work with a partner on the lab assignments if you choose. Their name must be listed on any code you hand in as joint work.


    You will have three projects in this course, one about every five weeks, for a total of 35% of your final grade. These projects will cover concepts we have discussed in class and in labs, and will be due approximately two weeks after they are assigned.

    You must work individually on these projects. You may discuss concepts and ideas with your classmates, but the code you turn in must be your own. You will be graded not only on correctness, but also technique, documentation and evaluation of your solution. Further details on the grading standards and handin instructions for each project will be given when they are assigned.


    There will be two in-class exams, each worth 15% of your final grade. They will consist of short answer along with writing and debugging code.


    Your final grade for this course will be based on the Labs, Projects, Quizzes, Exams and Participation described above.
    Grading Scale
    Exam 115%
    Exam 215%

    © Mark Goadrich, Centenary College of Louisiana