CS 302: Computer Fluency

Spring 2020

elcome to your first computer science class! Chand John teaches it. See Canvas for office hours and TA info. NO TEXTBOOK IS REQUIRED! Starting out with Python by Tony Gaddis is optional. FRIDAY DISCUSSION ATTENDANCE IS REQUIRED except on the days noted in the calendar below. You're expected to check Canvas daily. There is NO FINAL EXAM. This course carries the Quantitative Reasoning (QR) flag, so a substantial portion of your grade will come from your use of quantitative skills to analyze real-world problems.

Note that due to the public health crisis related to COVID-19 affecting the world right now, classes are abruptly being moved online at UT. You should be aware that class sessions and discussion sections will be recorded using the Zoom videoconferencing tool, and students should have no expectation of privacy of the video and audio that is captured from them during the recording. If you wish not to have your video or audio recorded, leave both video and audio muted during the Zoom meetings. By default, your video and audio should be off. Note also that you are not allowed to share any recordings from our course with anyone outside the course; if you violate this policy, you will be subject to student misconduct penalties.

ClassFriday Sections
MW 2-3pmGDC 2.216 (the big auditorium)5015510-11am JES A207A
50160 11am-12pmJES A207A
50165 12-1pmWCP 5.102
50170 1-2pmRLP 1.102
50175 2-3pmRLP 0.104

This calendar is still being updated. It is not final yet.

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri

Class 1
Course Intro

Class 2
Statements & Variables

Class 3
Conditionals & Data Types

Music royalties & grade calculator

Ungraded Exercise 1 in discussion:
Inputs & conditionals

HW1 due by 5pm

Class 4
For Loops

Athlete salaries

Class 5
Loops with Conditionals

The Taylor Swift ticket price problem

Ungraded Exercise 2 in discussion:
Conditionals & loops

HW2 due by 5pm

Class 6
The Taylor Swift ticket price problem, continued

Class 7
Review for Exam 1

Discussion activity:
Practice for Exam 1

HW3 due by 5pm

Class 8

Class 9
Linear Search

Ungraded Exercise 3 in discussion:
Analyze Austin weather using arrays & statistics

Class 10
Binary Search

Pie monster math & celebrity earnings

Class 11
Searching Practice

Linear Search, Finding Minimum & Maximum

Discussion activity:
Matching arrays & statistics

HW4 due by 5pm

Class 12
Arrays & Tables

Sort Women's NBA standings table

Class 13
Semiconductors & Binary Numbers

Ungraded Exercise 4 in section:
Binary & decimal numbers

HW5 due by 5pm

Class 14
Binary ↔ Decimal

Class 15
Binary Arithmetic, Logic Gates, & Truth Tables

Ungraded Exercise 5 in section:
Practice for Exam 2

HW6 due by 5pm







Class 16
Review for Exam 2

Class 17

Ungraded Exercise 6 in section:
Circuit design

Class 18
Truth Tables, Boolean Expressions, & Circuits

Class 19
The Internet

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

Ungraded Exercise 7 in section:
Surveying our own use of technology

HW7 due by 5pm

Class 20
TCP/IP Addressing & Encryption

Class 21

Discussion activity:
Work on HW8 (attendance optional today)

HW8 due by 5pm

Class 22
Malware & Privacy

Class 23
Artificial Intelligence (AI)

A non-hyped, historical perspective

Ungraded Exercise 8 in discussion:
AI & jobs articles & analysis

HW9 due by 5pm

Class 24
Machine Learning

A comic on the gradient descent algorithm

Class 25
Review for Exam 3

Ungraded Exercise 9 in discussion:
Practice for Exam 3

HW10 due by 5pm

Class 26

Class 27
Ethics & Overview

Discussion activity:
Special topics with TAs! (attendance optional)


There are 10 homework assignments, but the lowest assignment grade is dropped. Note that some assignments have more points than others, so the assignment that's dropped will be the one with the fewest points earned, and not necessarily the one with the lowest percentage grade.

Exams traditionally have been multiple-choice exams on paper; however, we may do electronic exams this semester instead. The decision will be made as the semester progresses, so be ready for either online exams (e.g., Canvas quizzes that are monitored) or paper exams in class.

We plan to return grades for homework assignments within 10 days of the deadline. Please check with your TA if you haven't received a grade on an assignment within that time frame.

≥ 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

Slip Days

Discussion Attendance

For the Friday discussion days that are not marked as optional in the schedule above, attendance is required. However, we understand that life circumstances can get in the way of attendance. If you miss a Friday section, you MUST send a single email to both the instructor and your TA before 24 hours have passed since the end of your discussion session; and preferably you should do this much earlier if you know in advance that you will be missing class days. If you miss section due to a reason determined by the instructor to be an excusable reason such as a serious illness, you may be given credit for attendance despite missing that discussion section. If you fail to send a single email to both the instructor and your TA within that time frame, you will lose attendance points. If you fail to send a single email to both the instructor and your TA and instead send separate emails or only email one of us, YOUR EMAIL WILL BE IGNORED and you will be treated as if you never had never attempted to communicate with us about your attendance.

Attending football games, taking trips to visit family that overlap with class time, etc., are not generally considered excused absences.

We may have some extra credit opportunities during the semester which may help make up for a few missed attendance days, so missing a few discussion sections is unlikely to harm your grade in any notable way. Missing more than 3 discussion sections is likely going to be a problem so you should notify us with a single email to the instructor and your TA.


You have exactly 120 hours (5 days) from the time you receive a grade to request a regrade of an assignment or quiz. Please note that if we find other mistakes during a regrade, your grade could go down.

Dropping an Exam

Under extenuating circumstances such as a serious illness or death in the family, you may drop one exam grade and have the other two exams count for 30% of your final grade each, for a total of 60%.

To drop an exam, you must PROVIDE DOCUMENTATION proving that an extenuating circumstance has occurred or will occur. In many cases, Student Emergency Services can provide this documentation to the instructor on your behalf.

Pre-planned trips, vacations, weddings, oversleeping, having multiple exams or projects due on the same day, etc., do NOT count as extenuating circumstances.

You MUST NOTIFY THE INSTRUCTOR (not just a TA) as early as possible if you anticipate missing an exam. If you miss an exam for an unexcused reason (ultimately, the decision of what will be excused is at the instructor's sole discretion), and/or you fail to communicate with the instructor about missing an exam before 24 hours after the time of the exam (or as soon as you are physically able, as determined reasonably by the instructor), YOUR GRADE ON THE EXAM WILL BE ZERO.

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 are highly encouraged to 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.