CSC 241 Introduction to Computer Science I

Craig Miller

Office: CDM 745
Fall 2020-2021
Class number: 10102
Section number: 401
MW 10:10AM - 11:40AM
OLSYN CH000 Online Campus


An introduction to problem solving, algorithms and structured programming using a higher-level programming language. The course will focus on skills for developing algorithms, and for writing and debugging programs. Students will learn how and when to use loops, conditionals, and functional abstractions in the context of problems motivated by real world applications.

Course Goals

This course is the first of a two-course sequence introducing computer science. The focus of the course is on problem solving, algorithm development, and structured and object-oriented programming using Python and the Python API (application programming interface), all in the context of building computer applications.

In the first course we will focus on structured programming and learn how and when to use conditionals, loops, and functional and modular abstractions.

After you have taken this class:

  • You will understand that a main focus of computer science is developing applications for computer systems.
  • You will have stronger problem solving skills.
  • You will know who to develop algorithmic solutions for basic computational problems.
  • You will understand fundamental programming structures such as expressions, assignments, decision and iteration structures, functions and modules.
  • You will have basic Python programming skills.
  • You will be prepared for the second course in the sequence, CSC 242: Introduction to Computer Science II


Introduction to Computer Science with Python, 2nd edition (ebook) Ljubomir Perkovic, Wiley, 2015. ISBN (ebook): 978-1-118-89105-6


Assignment Weight
Eight programming assignments (10 points each) 35% (70 points, best 7 of 8)
Nine lab exercises (2.5 points each) 10% (20 points, best 8 of 9)
Midterm Exam 20% (40 points)
Final Exam 35% (70 points)

Students receiving more than 90% of possible points are guaranteed at least an A-, more than 80% at least a B-, more than 70% at least a C-, and more than 60% at least a D.

Students are expected to either attend each Zoom session or view the recording created from the Zoom session. Attendance will be kept even though it is not a part of the course grade.

Students are generally expected to attend the lab Zoom session at the scheduled time, although participation does not count towards the lab score. In any case, lab work is due before the end of the lab period.

To complete this course, students will need the following:

  • Reliable internet access
  • A computer that can run Python 3.8 (freely available)
  • A computer equipped with speaker (or headphones), microphone and video camera

Students without internet access and an appropriately equipped computer will need to drop the course.

Exams are scheduled at the beginning of the quarter and students should plan on having internet access during the scheduled times. Exams might include online quizzes and asking students to video-record explanations of code.

When completing exams and quizzes, students may not collaborate with any other person. Collaboration with others on exams and quizzes will be considered a violation of the university's policy on academic integrity. Violators will receive a zero for the corresponding exam and will be reported as required by the policy.

Tests and quizzes can be made up with a serious documented excuse (e.g. illness, death in the family) and must be arranged as soon as possible. Arrangements involving other excuses require prior permission from the instructor.

The goal of assignments is to practice the concepts taught in class. You are expected to do your own assignments. However, some collaboration with other students is allowed for assignments and is even encouraged. The following types of collaboration are allowed:

  • Discussing strategies for solving a problem
  • Explaining why a script does not work
  • Reviewing and testing someone else's programming script
  • Using Python code provided by the instructor and texts

The following types of collaboration are not allowed:

  • Copying someone else's Python code
  • Literally telling someone what code to write

Engaging in these last two types of collaboration will be considered a violation of the university's policy on academic integrity. Violators will receive a zero for the corresponding assignment and will be reported as required by the policy.

Late assignments will be accepted up to three days late with a one point penalty. Assignments submitted more than 3 days after the due date will not be accepted without an excused absence cleared by the dean of students office.

Additional assignments for extra credit will not be offered.

All grade challenges must be submitted in writing and include an explanation why the given score or grade should be reconsidered.


MAT 130 or placement into MAT 140

Tentative Schedule


Week Topic Reading Lab Exercise Assignment
Sep 9 Course overview, Intro to CS, Expressions Ch. 1    
Sep 14 & 16 Assignment statements, data types Ch. 2, 3.1 Lab 1 Assn 1
Sep 21 & 23 I/O, Control statements Ch. 3 Lab 2 Assn 2
Sep 28 & 30 Functions, Complex Data Types Ch. 3, 4 Lab 3 Assn 3
Oct 5 & 7 File I/O Ch. 4 Lab 4 Assn 4
Oct 12 & 14 Errors, Debugging   Lab 5 Midterm (Monday)
Oct 19 & 21 Exceptions Ch. 4.4 Lab 6 Assn 5
Oct 26 & 28 Patterns and loops Ch. 5 Lab 7 Assn 6
Nov 2 & 4 Advanced types Ch. 6 Lab 8 Assn 7
Nov 9 & 11 Functions and namespaces, Review Ch. 7 Lab 9 Assn 8
Nov 16 Review      
Nov 18       Final Exam (Wednesday)

The final exam is on Wednesday Nov 18, 2020, from 8:30 AM to 10:45 AM.

School policies:

Changes to Syllabus

This syllabus is subject to change as necessary during the quarter. If a change occurs, it will be thoroughly addressed during class, posted under Announcements in D2L and sent via email.

Online Course Evaluations

Evaluations are a way for students to provide valuable feedback regarding their instructor and the course. Detailed feedback will enable the instructor to continuously tailor teaching methods and course content to meet the learning goals of the course and the academic needs of the students. They are a requirement of the course and are key to continue to provide you with the highest quality of teaching. The evaluations are anonymous; the instructor and administration do not track who entered what responses. A program is used to check if the student completed the evaluations, but the evaluation is completely separate from the student’s identity. Since 100% participation is our goal, students are sent periodic reminders over three weeks. Students do not receive reminders once they complete the evaluation. Students complete the evaluation online in CampusConnect.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

This course will be subject to the university's academic integrity policy. More information can be found at If you have any questions be sure to consult with your professor.

Academic Policies

All students are required to manage their class schedules each term in accordance with the deadlines for enrolling and withdrawing as indicated in the University Academic Calendar. Information on enrollment, withdrawal, grading and incompletes can be found at

Students with Disabilities

Students who feel they may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately to discuss their specific needs. All discussions will remain confidential.
To ensure that you receive the most appropriate accommodation based on your needs, contact the instructor as early as possible in the quarter (preferably within the first week of class), and make sure that you have contacted the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) at:
Lewis Center 1420, 25 East Jackson Blvd.
Phone number: (312)362-8002
Fax: (312)362-6544
TTY: (773)325.7296