CS 302: Computer Fluency

Fall 2019

elcome to your first computer science class! If you've ever felt you're "not a computer science person" (guess what... you are!), but you'd like to learn what all the buzz is about, you've come to the right place. Everyone deserves to learn computer science in an unbiased, inclusive environment. This course strives to provide that experience.

Try to keep a growth mindset while learning computer science. Computer science is something you do, not who you are. As Marissa Mayer said, "I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that's how you grow. When... I'm not really sure I can do this... you push through... that's when you have a breakthrough." "You can be good at technology and like fashion and art. You can be good at technology and be [an athlete]. You can be good at technology and be [a parent]. You can do it your way, on your terms."


Teaching Staff

Instructor: Chand John

See Canvas for office hour locations and information about TAs.


This course is based on Dr. Bruce Porter's CS 302 course.


The only required reading for this class will be online materials including some comics created by Chand John.

No textbook is required for this class, but if you'd like a textbook on Python programming, a good one is Starting out with Python by Tony Gaddis.

Session Times

This class meets three times a week. You're expected to attend every time. Mondays and Wednesdays are lecture/exam days when we meet together. Fridays are smaller discussion sections.

LecturesFriday Sections
MW 1-2pmFAC 215002010-11am GDC 6.202
50025 11am-12pmRLP 1.102
50030 12-1pmSZB 330
50035 1-2pmGDC 2.210
50040 2-3pmRLP 1.102
MW 2-3pmUTC 2.112A50045 10-11am CBA 4.326
50050 11am-12pmCBA 4.326
50055 12-1pmECJ 1.308
50060 1-2pmCBA 4.344
50065 2-3pmGDC 1.406

The Friday sections are very important--don't skip them. Please attend the section for which you're registered.


Our schedule may vary during the semester, but here's the plan:

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri

Class 1
Course Intro

9/2 (NO CLASS)


Class 2
Statements & Variables

HW1 due by 5pm

Class 3
Conditionals & Data Types

Music royalties & grade calculator

Class 4
For Loops

Athlete salaries

HW2 due by 5pm

Class 5
Loops with Conditionals

The Taylor Swift ticket price problem

Class 6
Review for Exam 1

HW3 due by 5pm

Class 7

Class 8
Linear Search

Work on HW4

Class 9
Binary Search

Pie monster math & celebrity earnings

Class 10
Searching Practice

Linear Search, Finding Minimum & Maximum

HW4 due by 5pm

Class 11
Arrays & Tables

Sort Women's NBA standings table

Class 12
Semiconductors & Binary Numbers

HW5 due by 5pm

Class 13
Binary ↔ Decimal

Class 14
Review for Exam 2

HW6 due by 5pm

Class 15

Class 16
Binary Arithmetic, Logic Gates, & Truth Tables

Work on HW7

Class 17
Truth Tables, Boolean Expressions, & Circuits

Class 18
The Internet

Analogies to postal service & transportation;
circuit vs. packet switching & TCP/IP

HW7 due by 5pm

Class 19
TCP/IP Addressing & Encryption

Class 20

HW8 due by 5pm

Class 21
Malware & Privacy

Class 22
Artificial Intelligence (AI)

A non-hyped, historical perspective

HW9 due by 5pm

Class 23
Machine Learning

A comic on the gradient descent algorithm

Class 24
Review for Exam 3

HW10 due by 5pm

Class 25



Class 26
Self-Driving Car Technology

Planes have been self-driving for decades!

Class 27
Ethics & Overview

HW11 due by 5pm

Class 28

What Can Computer Science Do for Your Career?


A grade is where you are (on the learning journey), not who you are.

Out of 100%, grades will be assigned using a plus/minus system:

%Letter Grade
≥ 93     A
≥ 90 and < 93     A-
≥ 87 and < 90     B+
≥ 83 and < 87     B
≥ 80 and < 83     B-
≥ 77 and < 80     C+
≥ 73 and < 77     C
≥ 70 and < 73     C-
≥ 67 and < 70     D+
≥ 63 and < 67     D
≥ 60 and < 63     D-
< 60     F

Pay close attention to the equals symbols above. For example, earning a final grade of 93% will lead to a letter grade of A, while earning a final grade of 92.99999999999999999999999% will lead to a letter grade of A-. All requests to round grades up will be denied.

In general, LATE ASSIGNMENTS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. It is not the instructor's job to reopen assignments for late submissions in Canvas just because you work on the day an assignment is due and didn't submit it due to being busy with work, or due to having other exams or projects due the same day or week. If you have obligations that conflict with the due date and time of an assignment, then submit the assignment early rather than late. Late submissions will be given a score of zero. This is not to be strict, but rather to allow the teaching staff time to grade submissions in a timely manner; if we don't know when you'll be submitting an assignment, the ENTIRE CLASS may have to wait longer to get their grades back. That isn't fair. The teaching staff understands that life circumstances can interfere with coursework, however, so please contact the instructor as early as possible about any life constraints that you feel may prevent you from meeting a class deadline.

There will be NO MAKE-UP EXAMS. Instead, if you miss an exam AND provide documentation for why you could not have taken the exam at the scheduled time (preferably, contact the instructor BEFORE the exam, but if you're unable, you must contact the instructor within 1 week of the exam time), your score on the other two exams will be scaled proportionally to make up 60% of your grade. Typically, this means instead of 3 exams that each count for 20% of your final grade, you'll have 2 exams count for 30% of your grade each. In the exceptional event that you anticipate missing two or more exams, please contact the instructor as early as possible. This policy is only meant to apply to life circumstances like medical emergencies or other hardships or other previously scheduled events. You may not simply skip an exam because you're busy. UT does not consider having many exams on the same day a hardship--you don't get to skip an exam or take a make-up exam due to having a lot of work in one day. If you simply miss an exam AND fail to communicate with the instructor (don't wait for the instructor to reach out to you) before 1 week has passed after the exam time, your score on the exam will be zero.


Quantitative Reasoning Flag

This course carries the Quantitative Reasoning flag. 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.

Staying in Touch

The class will be using Canvas. Announcements, assignments, and course materials will be posted there frequently. You're responsible for visiting the site frequently to keep up.

Anonymous Feedback

If you have any concerns or feedback for the instructor, you may provide anonymous feedback.

University Resources

Mental Health

Student Emergency Services

Technology help

If you have concerns about the safety or behavior of fellow students, TAs, or professors, call BCAL (the Behavior Concerns Advice Line): 512-232-5050. Your call can be anonymous. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Trust your instincts and share your concerns.


Professional, mutually respectful, and courteous conduct is expected from all students and teaching staff.

Here are the policies of the UT Computer Science Department and this class.

You must abide by UT's student conduct and academic integrity policies. Assignments must be done individually, except when group work has been approved. If you cheat, you fail.

Inclusive Behavior

Non-inclusive behavior goes completely against the expectations of this class and could be subject to grade penalties at the instructor's sole discretion.

Religious Holy Days

UT-Austin requires you to notify the instructor 14 days before an absence due to observance of a religious holy day. The instructor will allow you to complete any missed work.

Q Drop Policy

If you want to drop a class after the 12th class day, you can Q drop before the Q-drop deadline. Texas law allows you at most six Q drops while you are in college in any public Texas institution.

Student Accommodations

Students with a documented disability may request appropriate academic accommodations.

You must inform the instructor of any accommodations you may need during the first two weeks of the semester to receive appropriate accommodations. If at any time the class or physical spaces are not fully accessible to you, please let the instructor know. If any accommodations become necessary at any time during the semester, please contact the instructor as soon as possible with a letter from the SSD office to give the teaching staff ample time to try to make appropriate accommodations. Last-minute accommodation requests will be denied.

Academic Integrity

The temptation to cheat: If you're thinking about cheating, just don't. It's better to get a zero on an assignment than to cheat. A single instance of cheating will lead to a reduction of your final course grade to F (failing). If you cheat more than once in this class and/or any other classes, you are likely to get suspended from UT for one or multiple semesters. Please reach out to the instructor if you are tempted to cheat, which can happen if you're feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities. Penalties are ultimately determined by the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity and thus may not be limited to what is mentioned here.

Purpose of this policy: The goal of this policy is to protect the students who are doing honest work by severely penalizing those who choose to violate the rules of academic integrity. Penalties will only be handed out in cases where the instructor deems that there is significant reason to suspect dishonesty; the instructor does understand that just because two students had similar answers, doesn't mean they cheated. If you've been honest, you have nothing to worry about; however, everyone is responsible for understanding the policy below.

Penalties: Students found to have committed any form of academic dishonesty will be given an automatic final course grade of F (failing) on their transcript for the semester in which they committed that instance of academic dishonesty. In addition, the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity might suspend or expel a student based on the severity of their dishonesty or the number of times they have been caught cheating at UT. Penalties are to be recommended by the instructor and enforced by the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity, and thus the penalties for cheating may not be limited to those mentioned here.

How harsh is the cheating policy in this class? This policy is harsh. Once you have cheated, you have crossed into risky territory. Don't expect any special favors or sympathy if you cheat. This harshness is not meant to be mean or strict; it is to be precise and protect the teaching staff's time in support of all the students who are being honest, and prevent the academic dishonesty prosecution process from hijacking and destroying the teaching and learning process for the vast majority of students who don't cheat. The policy also appears harsh just because it needs to be specific and clear; otherwise, a student who cheats may not even get penalized for cheating because the Dean's Office will say the syllabus isn't clear; if you're a student who put in long hours of honest work, how would you feel about a student getting away with cheating in that way?

Zero tolerance for stalling or manipulation: The instructor will not tolerate any efforts on the student's part to stall or delay the process of prosecuting academic dishonesty cases. The instructor will not tolerate any student's efforts to manipulate, bribe, or lie their way out of penalties due to academic dishonesty. While typically the instructor will try to accommodate one meeting with any student accused of academic dishonesty, the instructor reserves the right to refuse to meet with any student accused of academic dishonesty and instead communicate with the student via email or Canvas messages, especially if the number of students suspected of cheating exceeds one.

What is considered cheating? While you're welcome to discuss homework assignments with each other, the solutions you write up and submit must be your own. The moment you look at someone else's solution, or show someone else even one letter or number of a solution, you have crossed the line into cheating and are subject to possible academic penalties including a failing grade in this course for the semester, or suspension or expulsion as determined by the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity. Just don't write anything down or look at anyone's computer when discussing any graded work for this class, and don't show anyone else what's on your computer or in your written homework solutions during that time either. Copying solutions found online is also considered cheating. If you're not sure where the line is, just don't Google any homework problems or look up or copy anyone else's solutions, whether from the current semester or in the past. If you post solutions online, you could be subject to academic penalties including suspension and expulsion, even if your solutions are only found online after the semester is over. You're always welcome to contact the instructor if you're not sure whether a particular action is considered dishonest; the instructor will NOT penalize you for asking questions or admitting to stumbling upon something online when searching for something else, IF you inform the instructor BEFORE the assignment is submitted. Waiting until after you submit an assignment or after you are suspected of cheating is too late and you will be subject to academic penalties in that case. On an exam or quiz, looking at someone else's answers or talking to any fellow student can be considered cheating at the discretion of the teaching staff. Also, you are expected to take reasonable measures to protect your work from unauthorized access by others, including your electronic files, print-outs, and written work.

The process: Academic dishonesty will be handled as follows:

  1. A member of the teaching staff suspects a student cheated in some way.
  2. The instructor contacts the student via email or Canvas message.
  3. The teaching staff gives the student 7 calendar days to do ALL of the following: (1) optionally meet with an academic conduct officer to discuss your options (2) respond to the instructor via email or Canvas message to explain what happened, (3) MAKE A DECISION and communicate to the instructor whether you want to sign the academic disposition form to admit to cheating and resolve the issue between us (it will go on your academic record, but usually not on your transcript (don't take my word for it; check with the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity for confirmation and additional details), as a flag against your record at the very least), or to have the case handled entirely by the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity, and (4) actually sign the form if you choose to do so. ALL of this must happen within the 7-day period from the exact timestamp of the first message sent by the instructor informing you that you were suspected of academic dishonesty. The 7-day period includes holidays and weekends, so don't think that holidays will give you extra time to deal with this. The instructor prefers that you sign the document electronically to save paper and time.
  4. The Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity will confirm the final penalties and the instructor will enact any of those penalties in accordance with the Office's decision.
The instructor reserves the right to refuse to meet with any student suspected of academic dishonesty. Those meetings are frequently used by students to try to manipulate the instructor into reducing penalties; if the instructor gets even a vague feeling that you are trying to do this, at the instructor's sole discretion, and at any time with or without warning, you will have forfeited the right to signing the academic disposition form; the instructor will promptly ask you to leave if you are trying to manipulate, bribe, or lie your way out of academic penalties, and you will default to having your case handled entirely by the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity.

The academic disposition form is usually an easier way to settle dishonesty cases; if it's the only time you cheat at UT, it gives you a warning and a flag on your academic record and likely a failing grade for the class, BUT, it should have no further direct effect on your transcript; however, if you go through the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity, the process typically results in a hearing where all the evidence is assembled and you and the instructor will be questioned about the evidence; once the case is in the Office's hands, the instructor can make no guarantees on how severe the penalties may end up being.

Children in Class

(This policy is adapted from Dr. Alison Norman's classes, whose policy in turn is based on that by Dr. Melissa Cheyney at Oregon State University.) Please contact the instructor within the first two weeks of class to discuss any accommodations you need or constraints you face due to being a student-parent. The instructor is well aware that parents can face many unique challenges including feeding children, managing breastmilk or formula, dealing with illnesses, and covering gaps in childcare. The instructor does have to ensure that any children brought to class are not disruptive to the rest of the class and thus may have to place constraints on the extent to which children may be in attendance with their student-parent(s) in class, but under various circumstances, and at the instructor's sole discretion, children may be brought to class to ease the student-parent's concerns in balancing school/work and parenting. I also ask that all students work with me to create a welcoming environment for all forms of diversity including diversity in parenting status. I do ask that non-parents cooperate with me to reserve seats near the door(s) for your parent classmates. Don't hesitate to contact the instructor about any concerns regarding school-parenting balance at anytime throughout the semester.


Campus Safety

Emergency Preparedness

Familiarize yourself with all exit doors of each classroom. The nearest exit door may not be the door you used for entry. Students requiring assistance shall inform the instructor in writing during the first week of class.