Algorithms and OOD (CSC 207 2014F) : Assignments

Assignment 1: Course Details and RISC Survey

Due: 10:30 p.m., Sunday, 31 August 2014

Summary: In this assignment, you will gather information about the structure of the course, discuss the course with me, and enter some background information for a College survey.

Purposes: To encourage you to learn about the structure of the course and the course web. To give me a bit more information about you.

Expected Time: One to two hours for parts one, two, and three. Additional time for the readings in part four: About one hour.

Collaboration: Each student should turn in his, her, or zir own responses to this assignment. However, you may certainly work with other students as you review the course materials and answer the questions. You may discuss the assignment with anyone you wish. You may obtain help from anyone you wish, but you should clearly document that help.

Citation: Since this assignment explicitly asks you to read and summarize pages on the course web, you need not cite such pages. However, if you rely on pages from outside the course web for information, you should cite those pages.

Submitting: Email your answers to part one to , using a subject of “CSC 207 Course Details (Your Name)”. For example, if I were to submit answers to the first set of questions, it would be titled “CSC 207 Course Details (Samuel A. Rebelsky)”. Email your answers to part two to , using a subject of “CSC 207 Intro Survey (Your Name)”.

You do not need to submit anything to me for parts three and four. You do, however, need to submit the RISC form online. (I will not know that who submitted it, but I will be able to tell how many people did.)

Warning: So that this assignment is a learning experience for everyone, I may spend class time publicly critiquing your work.

Part One: The Course

As you might have been able to tell from the first day of class, I have a wide variety of opinions about learning and teaching in CS which are reflected in how I run the class. You can (and should) learn more about these perspectives from the course web. In this portion of the assignment, you will review the course web and answer some basic questions.

First, read the following items

Next, answer the following questions.

  1. What should you do to prepare for each class meeting?
  2. Suppose you get everything correct on a homework assignment. What grade should you expect to receive on that assignment? What does that grade mean?
  3. What happens if you turn in a homework assignment late?
  4. Explain what an eboard is (or seems to be) and list a few ways one can get the eboard for a particular class.
  5. Give at least two ways that you can figure out what work you have due for the course.
  6. When can you work with other students in the course and when can you not work with other students?
  7. How can you obtain help from me?
  8. Who else can you rely upon for help in this course?
  9. Do you agree to abide by my policies on academic honesty? If you feel that you can't agree with them, we'll need to have a meeting ASAP to discuss your concerns or questions, as these polices are in effect for the course. (If I feel that your concerns or questions are reasonable, I will likely revise these policies.)
  10. What are two other important things you learned in this part of the assignment?
  11. What are two important things you learned on the first day of class?
  12. Why do you think I gave you this assignment?
  13. What questions about the course do you have that are not answered by the Web site?

Part Two: About You

As I start a new course, I like to learn a little bit about each student in the course. I find that knowing more about my students helps me teach better. Hence, I provide a short survey at the start of each semester.

  1. What is your name?
  2. What are your preferred gender pronouns (e.g., he/him/his, she/her/her, zhe/zir/zir)?
  3. How would you prefer that I address you if I address you by your given name (first name)?
  4. How would you prefer that I address you if I address you by your surname (family name, last name)? That is, if I address students using forms like “Mr. Smith” and “Ms. Jones”, how should I address you?
  5. What phone number should I use when I want to contact you? (I used to rely upon the campus directory, but evidence suggests that most students disconnect their campus phones.) May I use this number to send you text messages if I determine that texting is the best way to reach you?
  6. What is your major (or intended major)? And yes, it's okay to say “I have no idea.
  7. Who is your academic adviser?
  8. Optional: Where can I find your PGP key?
  9. Why did you register for CSC 207?
  10. What do you hope to learn or gain from this course?
  11. Do you anticipate taking more courses in computer science after CSC 207?
  12. Tell me a little bit about your background with computers.
  13. What were your biggest challenges in CSC 151 and CSC 161?
  14. What programming languages do you know? Of those, which is your favorite, and why?
  15. What are your biggest concerns for this course?
  16. What do you like most about Grinnell? (If you don't like anything about Grinnell, what do you dislike least?)
  17. What do you dislike most about Grinnell? If you like everything about Grinnell, what do you like least about Grinnell?
  18. What else should I know about you?
  19. Since I'm asking you all of these questions, it is only fair that you get to ask me some questions. What, if anything, would you like to know about me?

Part Three: RISCy Behavior

Please take Grinnell College's RISC (Research in the Integrated Science Curriculum) survey, which is available at

Part Four: Start Reading

Do the readings for the next class, which can be found at{html,pdf}{html,pdf}. (That funny stuff in braces means taht you can use either suffix.)

Important Evaluation Criteria

I will evaluate your work on the seriousness with which you approach the assignment and your correctness in answering the questions. (And, yes, particularly clever or amusing answers are likely to earn you a modicum of additional credit.)