CSCE 181: Introduction to Computing
Spring 2010

[Announcements] [Syllabus] [Schedule] [Written Reports] [Useful Links] [Sources]


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Instructor: Prof. Jennifer Welch
Office: 425G H.R. Bright Bldg
Office Hours: Mondays 9:00 - 11:00 AM; other times by appointment
Email: welch (at)
Office Phone: 845-5076

Teaching Assistant: Virginia Walker
Office: Reed McDonald Building, Room 229
Office Hours: Mondays 1:30 - 3:00 PM and Thursdays 2:20 - 3:30 PM (*updated 2/1*); other times by appointment
Email: miss.v.walker (at)

Class Meeting Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:20 - 3:35 PM, room 124 Bright. There will be 14 class meetings total, typically one each week. Please check course web page for exact schedule, which is subject to change.

Course Web Page: You are responsible for checking it regularly.

Required Text: Writing for Computer Science, 2nd Edition, by Justin Zobel, Springer, 2004. Readings will be assigned from the book. You are expected to read these sections, and use the information to aid your writing. The book should also be an excellent reference for the future.

Recommended Texts:

Course Goals: The major goals of this course are
  1. to introduce you to the broad field of computing and
  2. to introduce you to technical writing.
The first goal is achieved through presentations by the instructor and others from academia, and by industry representatives, giving an overview of the field and highlighting how what you learn during your undergraduate program is relevant in both product development and in research. The second goal is achieved through a series of writing assignments.

Grading: Grading is on a pass/fail basis. To receive a satisfactory grade, you must complete all of the following.
  1. Short Reports: Complete six short written reports with a grade of 70% or higher. Details available soon.
  2. Long Report: Complete this report with a grade of 70% or higher. Details available soon.
  3. Class Participation: You are expected to ask questions of the speakers. State your name before asking the question so that the teaching assistant can record the information during class. You must ask at least two questions, in two different classes.
  4. Attendance: Attendance will be taken, and is mandatory for the class. At most two unexcused absences will be allowed. Students with more than two unexcused absences will fail the course. An absence is considered excused with proper university-approved documentation. More information is available at

Academic Integrity: The Aggie Honor Code states "An Aggie does not lie, cheat or steal or tolerate those who do". More information on academic integrity, plagiarism, etc. is available at the Aggie Honor System Office web site, including:

Please review this material.

For the assignments in this class, discussion of concepts with others is encouraged, but all assignments must be done on your own, unless otherwise instructed. If you use any source other than the text, reference it/him/her, whether it be a person, a book, a solution set, a web page or whatever. You MUST write up the solutions in your own words. Copying is strictly forbidden.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Policy Statement: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal antidiscrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Department of Student Life, Services for Students with Disabilities in Cain Hall, Rm. B118, or call 845-1637.

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Under assignments, Chapters refer to Zobel book, SR stands for short report, and LR stands for long report.

class date topic assignment
1 Tuesday, 1/19 Dr. Welch: Introduction
Read Chapters 1 and 13
2 Tuesday, 1/26 Reshma Ananthakrishnan, Microsoft
SR 0 due.
Read Chapters 2 and 3.
3 Tuesday, 2/2 Dr. Scott Schaefer: Graphics Research
4 Tuesday, 2/9 Dr. Welch: In-Class Writing Instruction and Exercise
SR 1 draft due,
final version due Thursday, 2/11
5 Tuesday, 2/16 Dr. Welch: History of Computing
SR 2 draft due,
final version due Thursday, 2/18
6 Tuesday, 2/23 Emmitt Wells, CompuCom SR 3 draft due,
final version due Thursday, 2/25
7 Tuesday, 3/2 Dr. Clay Williams, IBM, IAP Distinguished Lecturer: The Social Side of Software Engineering
LR topic and 3 references due
8 Tuesday, 3/9 Dr. Welch: Finding and Citing Sources
9 Tuesday, 3/23 Dr. James Caverlee: Information in the Social Web Era
LR first draft due
10 Tuesday, 3/30 Dr. Guofei Gu: Introduction to Computer and Networking Security
SR 4 due
(comments on LR first draft passed back)
11 Tuesday, 4/6 Student Panel .
12 Tuesday, 4/13 Dr. Welch: Social Aspects of Computing
LR second draft due
13 Tuesday, 4/20 Allen Hurst and Ed Grannan, Improving Enterprises
SR 5 due
(comments on LR second draft passed back)
14 Tuesday, 4/27 Dr. Robin Murphy LR final version due
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Written Reports

Useful Links


Much of this material came from Prof. John Keyser and his Spring 2007 offering of this course, and from Prof. Valerie Taylor and her Fall 2007 offering of this course.