CSCI 140 Introduction to Computer Science


This section of the course (Fall 2013) meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1:10PM to 2:00PM in Ritter Hall 225.

General Description

The first two or three courses taken by Computer Science majors have traditionally been "programming" courses in languages like C, C++, and Java, or in the more distant past, Pascal or Fortran. At SLU we believe that it is valuable to provide first-year students with a broad introduction to the entire discipline of Computer Science, which, after all, involves much much more than just software development. This is the purpose of CSCI 140.

A detailed list of topics to be covered can be found on the course schedule page; as advertised, there is a bit of everything: units on hardware, algorithms, various programming paradigms, operating systems, networking, and some theoretical topics. On the course schedule page you will also find announcements of exams, homework assignments, and other date-sensitive material.

The course prerequisite is three years of high school mathematics.

Textbook Information

The required textbook for the course is Computer Science Illuminated, 5th edition, by Nell Dale and John Lewis. It is available from the SLU Bookstore, or from

Computer Accounts

You should already have been emailed the details of your account on our department server a username (likely the same as your SLU email username), and a randomly chosen password. The easiest way to log into the server is directly from the computers in the Linux Lab, Ritter Hall 121. This is a great place to do your homework - there will be lab tutors staffing that room at various times during the week, including some nights and weekends. The tutors are there to help you, so make use of them! Alternatively, if you'd like to log in from somewhere else on campus, e.g. your dorm room, you can install a program on your computer called the NX Client and use that to connect to turing. The NX Client should be available from other computer labs on campus as well. Here are some instructions supplied by the Math and CS department web site.

It is a good idea to change your password to something a bit easier to remember the first time you log in. You can do this by opening a terminal and using the "passwd" command. You'll need to enter your old password first followed by your new password, and again for confirmation.

Please read our department and university policies on appropriate use of computer systems.

Homework and Exams

There will be homework and reading assignments every week. It is essential to keep up with the reading since there is a lot of material to cover, and only a limited amount of time we're able to spend together in class.

There will be an in-class midterm exam given Friday, October 18th which accounts for 25% of your final grade. The final exam is scheduled for Friday, December 13th from 12:00-1:50PM; it is comprehensive and is worth 35% of your final grade. Class participation and homework assignments count for 40%, and so it essential to get your homeworks done, and attendance at every class meeting is mandatory. Make-up exams will not be given.

Students are expected to be honest in their academic work. The University reserves the right to penalize any student whose academic conduct at any time is, in its judgment, detrimental to the University. Such conduct shall include cases of plagiarism, collusion, cheating, giving or receiving or offering or soliciting information in examinations, or the use of previously prepared material in examinations or quizzes. Violations should be reported to your course instructor, who will investigate and adjudicate them according to the policy on academic honesty of the College of Arts and Sciences. If the charges are found to be true, the student may be liable for academic or disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion by the University. Students should review the College of Arts and Sciences policy on Academic Honesty.

In recognition that people learn in a variety of ways and that learning is influenced by multiple factors (e.g., prior experience, study skills, learning disability), resources to support student success are available on campus. Students who think they might benefit from these resources can find out more about:

Students who believe that, due to a disability, they could benefit from academic accommodations are encouraged to contact Disability Services at 314-977-8885 or visit the Student Success Center. Confidentiality will be observed in all inquiries. Course instructors support student accommodation requests when an approved letter from Disability Services has been received and when students discuss these accommodations with the instructor after receipt of the approved letter.