Syllabus - Computer Sciences 307 -Foundations of Computer Science
CS 307 The University of Texas at Austin Summer 2011

Class Basics:

Teaching Staff:

Course Objectives:  This is a second course in computer programming. The purposes of the course are to learn fundamental computer science concepts including data types, data structures (lists, stacks, queues, and trees), and algorithms; recursion; data abstraction and encapsulation; specification and testing. Object oriented design and implementation. Introduction to reasoning about programs correctness and efficiency. The course is taught using Java.

Estimates of the required effort to pass the class for the on target student:

Course may be counted toward the quantitative reasoning flag requirement. Quantitative Reasoning courses are designed to equip you with skills that are necessary for understanding the types of quantitative arguments you will regularly encounter in your adult and professional life. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from your use of quantitative skills to analyze real-world problems.

Formal Course Prerequisites:

  1. One year of programming in high school, a grade of at least C in CS303E or CS 305J or consent of instructor.
  2. Credit or registration for Mathematics 408C, 408K, or 408N, or a score of at least 520 on the SAT Mathematics Level 1 or Level 2 test

Informal Course Prerequisites: Mastery of the following basic programming topics: data types, variables, expressions and operators, control structures (looping and decision making), procedures( a.k.a. functions, methods, or subroutines), parameters, arrays, simple user defined data types (records, structures, objects), top down design.

You should be able to design and implement a program in the programming language of your choice based on a simple problem statement. The problem should be complex enough that a well designed solution requires the following:

  1. at least 200 - 300 lines of code for a well designed solution
  2. uses arrays of records or arrays of objects
  3. requires 8 or more procedures / functions / methods for a well designed solution

For example, create from scratch a program that allows two people to play a game of connect 4 on the computer. The display can be a simple text based interface. Both players share the same keyboard and take turns.


iClicker Participation

Class Discussion Tool: I have set up a discussion group for the class on Piazzza.

Email: All students should become familiar with the University's official e-mail student notification policy. It is the student's responsibility to keep the University informed as to changes in his or her e-mail address. Students are expected to check e-mail on a frequent and regular basis in order to stay current with University-related communications, recognizing that certain communications may be time-critical. It is recommended that e-mail be checked daily. The complete text of this policy and instructions for updating your e-mail address are available at which includes instructions on how to update the email address you have on record with UT.

In this course e-mail will be used as a means of communication with students. You will be responsible for checking your e-mail regularly for class work and announcements.

Computing Facilities:

Software: Required software for programming assignments is described on this web page:

Schedule: A schedule of lecture topics, reading assignments, and assignment distribution and due dates is available online, via the class web page,  The schedule page contains links to slides for the lectures, assignments, and online readings. Readings are to be completed before class. The schedule is subject to change.

Grading: the class components used to determine your final average are:

Component Type Number Total Points Description
iClicker Participation 25 75 (3 each) Determined by responses to questions with the iClicker.
Quizzes in Discussion Section 9 90 (10 each) A quiz is given at the start of each Thursday discussion section. Quiz will be writing code and is designed to be preparation for the midterm and final.
Assignments 9 210 Medium scale programming projects per the assignments page.
Midterm Exam 1 200 In class, Friday, July 15. Covers up to and including topic 8 on algorithm analysis. See old tests page to see the structure of exams. Note, the material on the summer midterm is a little different due to the pacing of the course. The summer midterm covers the same materials as the long semesters' midterm 1 and the Big O / algorithm analysis material from the long semesters' midterm 2.
Final Exam 1 460 Monday, August 15, 7 - 10 pm.  See old tests page to see the structure of exams. Exam is cumulative.

Last semester 192 students enrolled in the course. 138 students got a C or better. 38 students got a D or F. 16 students dropped the course. The majority of students getting Ds or Fs missed 1 or more exams without an excuse, had a failing homework average, or had a failing quiz average. (In other words they quit trying.)

No whining: Feedback and concerns about the course are always welcome; legitimate grading errors that are identified in a timely fashion will certainly be corrected, but whining is counter-productive and will only irritate those who evaluate your work to determine grades.

Academic Dishonesty:

Academic Dishonesty: Taken from the CS department Code of Conduct.

"The University and the Department are committed to preserving the reputation of your degree. It means a lot to you. In order to guarantee that every degree means what it says it means, we must enforce a strict policy that guarantees that the work that you turn in is your own and that the grades you receive measure your personal achievements in your classes:

Every piece of work that you turn in with your name on it must be yours and yours alone unless explicitly allowed by an instructor in a particular class. Specifically, unless otherwise authorized by an instructor:

You are responsible for complying with this policy in two ways:

  1. You must not turn in work that is not yours, except as expressly permitted by the instructor of each course.
  2. You must not enable someone else to turn in work that is not theirs. Do not share your work with anyone else. Make sure that you adequately protect all your files. Even after you have finished a class, do not share your work or published answers with the students who come after you. They need to do their work on their own.

The penalty for academic dishonesty will be a course grade of F and a referral of the case to the Dean of Students. Further penalties, including suspension or expulsion from the university may be imposed by that office.

One final word: This policy is not intended to discourage students from learning from each other, nor is it unmindful of the fact that most significant work in computer science and in the computing industry is done by teams of people working together. But, because of our need to assign individual grades, we are forced to impose an otherwise artificial requirement for individual work. In some classes, it is possible to allow and even encourage collaboration in ways that do not interfere with the instructor's ability to assign grades. In these cases, your instructor will make clear to you exactly what kinds of collaboration are allowed for that class."

For CS307 the policy on collaboration is modified as follows: You are encouraged to study for tests together, to discuss methods for solving the assignments, to help each other in using the software, and to discuss methods for debugging code. Essentially if you talk about an assignment with any one else you are okay, but the moment you start looking at someone else's source code or showing someone else your source code you have crossed the line into cheating. You should not ask anyone to give you a copy of their code or, conversely, give your code to another student who asks you for it. Similarly, you should not discuss your algorithmic strategies to such an extent that you and your collaborators end up turning in exactly the same code. Discuss high level approaches together, but do the coding on your own.

Understand the difference between cheating and collaboration. Collaboration is allowed, cheating will lead to failure in the course.

Examples of cheating are many, but include accessing another student's account, looking at someone else's solution code, copying or downloading someone else's solution code, or allowing others to copy of access your solution code. This means you shall not look on the internet for code to solve your problems.

Examples of allowable collaboration include discussions and debate of general concepts and solution strategies and help with syntax errors.

The code you can reuse in this course are:

  1. You may use any code you develop with the instructor, TAs, or proctors.
  2. You may use code (with attribution) from the recommended textbooks, the class slides, and the class coding examples.
  3. You may share additional test cases and expected results of test cases.

You shall not make use of code you find from other sources including the world wide web. Materials from the web should only be used for educational purposes. Thus, you can read about linked lists and look at examples of linked list code, but you must not copy any code from the web or be looking at any of this code from the web when writing anything you turn in. If you discuss an assignment with another students or look at examples from the web you should employ the World of Warcraft Rule: after a discussion with another student or looking at example code you should do something that has nothing to do with computer science or programming for al least half an hour. Playing World of Warcraft or other similar activity. (Watching a sitcom, reading a book.)

You are also allowed to post short segments of code (3 lines or less) of code that are giving you syntax errors to the Piazzza discussion group in order to get help on fixing the syntax error.

If you have any doubts about what is allowed ask the instructor.

Plagiarism detection software will be used on assignments to find students who have copied code from one another. 

For more information on Scholastic Dishonesty see the University Policy on Scholastic Dishonesty

Religious Holy Days: A student who is absent from an examination or cannot meet an assignment deadline due to the observance of a religious holy day may take the examination on an alternate day, submit the assignment up to 24 hours late without penalty, or be excused from the examination or assignment, if proper notice of the planned absence has been given. Notice must be given at least fourteen days prior to the classes scheduled on dates the student will be absent. For religious holy days that fall within the first two weeks of the semester, notice should be given on the first day of the semester. It must be personally delivered to the instructor and signed and dated by the instructor, or sent certified mail, return receipt requested. Email notification will be accepted if received, but a student submitting such notification must receive email confirmation from the instructor. A student who fails to complete missed work within the time allowed will be subject to the normal academic penalties.

Disability Related Needs: Please notify me of any modification/adaptation you may require to accommodate a disability-related need. You will be requested to provide documentation to the Office of the Dean of Students in order that the most appropriate accommodations can be determined. Specialized services are available on campus through Services for Students with Disabilities, SSB 4th floor, A5800, 471-6259,  TTY 471-4641

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