Syllabus - Computer Sciences 312 -Introduction to Programming
The University of Texas at Austin Spring 2014
Instructor: Vallath Nandakumar

Description: This course focuses on how to write computer programs that solve problems on a general purpose computer.  It is intended as a first programming course for computer science majors.

Computer programs are instructions to a computer, and often start out by being written in specialized languages that humans and computers can both understand. This course will use a particular programming language, Java, and most of your learning will be through actual programming.

Objectives: This is a first course in computer programming. The purposes of the course are to learn fundamental computer science concepts including algorithm development, problem decomposition, data types, variables, decision making, iteration, arrays, and 2D arrays. By the end of the course students are expected to be able to implement programs consisting of several programmer defined data types and several hundred lines of code employing non-trivial algorithms.

Estimates of the required effort to pass the class are:

Prerequisites: Credit with a grade of at least C- or registration for Mathematics 305G, or a score of 70 on the ALEKS placement examination.

Lecture:  Mon/Wed/Fri, 10 - 11 AM, All lectures will be in BUR 106.

Discussion Sections:

Unique Hour Room Day Discussion Section TA Grader
53550 900 to  1000a GDC  2.210 Tu
53555 900 to  1000a
JES  A305A
F Xiaofan (Luis)
Xiaofan (Luis)
53560 1000 to  1100a
GDC  2.210
53565 1100 to  1200p
WEL  3.402 F Xiaofan (Luis)
53570 100 to   200p GDC  1.406
Xiaofan (Luis)
100 to  200p
 WEL  2.256
 F Lewis

Teaching Staff:

Lewis Fishgold
Cade Parker
Taylor Ellis
Teaching Assistant, Xiaofan (Luis) Lu, email:  xiaofan [at]
Teaching Assistant, Lewis Fishgold, email:  lewfish [at]
Undergraduate Proctor, Cade Parker, email:
Undergraduate Proctor, Taylor Ellis, email: ellis.tay [at]

Class web site: Course materials and announcements are available there.

Co-op bookstore list of materials are here.

Required Textbook: Building Java Programs by Stuart Reges and Marty Stepp, 3rd Edition.  ISBN 978-0133360905, Pearson Education / Addison Wesley. Textbook homepage is  You may buy the electronic version of the book that includes MyProgrammingLab if you don't want the paper copy, or if you have the second edition. (The second edition is mainly different in the exercises; the other content is the same as the third edition.)

MyProgrammingLab: You are required to do exercises in MyProgrammingLab as per the schedule on the schedule page.  You will be graded on these.  MyProgrammingLab is an accompaniment to the textbook, and can be purchased with the textbook, ISBN 9780133437300.

Class Participation, iClicker

        If you do not meet these requirements you will not receive clicker credit for that day.

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

Email: All students must become familiar with the University's official e-mail student notification policy. It is your responsibility to keep the University informed as to changes in your e-mail address. You 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. Instructions for updating your e-mail address are available here.

You are responsible for checking your e-mail and the class discussion group regularly for class work and announcements.

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

Computing Facilities:

CS Lab Account:

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: Class components used to determine your final average.

Component Type Number Points Total Points
Assignments 12 varies: 10 or 20
Quizzes 11 10 each 110
iClicker Participation 40 1 each 40
MyProgrammingLab 103

Midterm 1
1 125 125
Midterm 2
1 175 175
Final Exam

Guiding Principle - 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.

Important Dates for Changing Academic Status and Dropping the Course: Refer to the Registrar's academic calendar for the deadlines for changes in academic status. Highlights are:

Students experiencing significant nonacademic problems (extended health problems or family emergencies) should contact the CNS Dean’s Office (WCH 1.106, (512) 471-4536) or the Dean of Student’s Office ( for assistance.

See the College of Natural Science Guidelines and Procedures page for more information. (

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. This means do not post your solution code to any public web site such as pastebin. Also, do not post your work to the web even after you have completed CS312.

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 CS312 the policy on collaboration is modified as follows:

If you are repeating the course you may reuse code you completed on your own. You may NOT use code from a program you worked on as part of a pair or code that was from a program involved in an academic dishonesty case. You must start from scratch on any and all programs that:

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.

Examples of cheating are many and include accessing another student's account, looking at someone else's solution code, copying or downloading someone else's solution code, referring to solutions from previous semesters, having another student walk you through the solution and how to code it, having another student perform significant debugging of your code, having another student write your code for you and / 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 class slides and the class coding examples.
  3. You may share additional test cases and expected results of test cases. You may not share solution code or experiment code.

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 student or look at examples from the web you should employ the World of Warcraft Rule:

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, working on another class.)

You are also allowed to post short segments of code (2 lines or less) of code that are giving you syntax errors to the class listserv 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 Holidays: By UT Austin policy, you must notify me of your pending absence at least fourteen days prior to the date of observance of a religious holy day. If you must miss a class, an examination, a work assignment, or a project in order to observe a religious holy day, you will be given an opportunity to complete the missed work within a reasonable time after the absence.

Students with Disabilities: students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities, 471-6259,  Please present written proof of your special need from the above-mentioned office not later than the twelfth day of class, i.e. not later than Wed, Jan 29, 2014.  If your accommodation includes a longer duration or quiet facilities for the midterms or final, it is your responsibility to secure a spot in the SSD facilities on the day of the exam, overlapping with the regular exam time (if possible).  You will have to request these facilities a month in advance of the test.

To the CS 312 home page