Course Syllabus

Course Basics

Course CS1960/EAE1410: Computer Programming I
Credits 3
Pre-reqs None

Lectures Lectures are Mondays and Wednesdays 2:00-2:50 in L105 WEB. Please pay attention to the numbering scheme in WEB - there are upper 1st and 2nd level floors and lower 1st and 2nd level floors. The lower floors surround the courtyard area on the west side of the building.

Lab sessions Multiple Friday sessions: 9-40-10:30a, 10:45-11:35a, 11:50a-12:40p in WEB L208 (the CADE Engman Teaching Lab). Lab attendance at your registered lab session is required and has graded work. 

Instructor David E. Johnson
Instructor Email
Office 3146 MEB (along the west face of the MEB 3rd floor)

Course Staff Email

Textbook Programming in Python 3. Available from Enter the textbook code: UTAHCS1960JohnsonFall2017 and pay the $48 fee. 

Important Dates Tests or programming exercises on September 15th, October 18th, November 17th, and the final on December 11th. These dates cannot be missed except for documented emergencies and you should plan around them.

Clicker or audience response device During most lectures, I will have small audience participation questions that you can answer using a smart phone, tablet, or laptop. I have a limited number of tablets available for checkout during lecture if you do not have a device. These audience response questions will be through

Description This course is designed for non-CS major students who desire a practical course for gaining basic computer programming skills. The course will use the Python language to develop skills in problem-solving, debugging, acquiring real-world data, processing data, and interacting with and visualizing solutions. The course will show the power in writing small programs that leverage existing code to create interesting applications. Examples from a variety of fields will be used to illustrate the utility of computers and programming. Students should leave the course with the confidence and ability to write useful, small-scale programs in their area of interest.

At the end of the course, students will be able to

  • write small functions and scripts in Python to accomplish desired tasks
  • use external Python code in their own programs to add functionality to their programs
  • debug and modify small programs
  • use object-oriented constructs within their programs
  • take a real-world task and see how to use programs to automate or analyze that task 

Course Materials  

Website The class website is the Canvas course available through CIS. It will be updated throughout the semester with the class schedule, lecture notes, laboratory exercises, assignment specifications, and much more. 

Lecture notes The instructor will often make use of slides and other documents during lecture. These documents will be posted on the class website following the lecture; however, such posted documents may not represent completely the material covered in class. Students who must miss class are strongly encouraged to check with a classmate or TA.

Python All programming in CS 1960 is in Python, using the Idle programming environment. Python is available for your use on the College of Engineering’s lab machines. Instructions for installing both on your personal computer is available on the class website in the Class Resources module.

New students should create a College of Engineering lab account at:

Student Evaluation 

Programming assignments The instructions for each assignment and its due date will be posted on the class website roughly one week before it must be submitted. Assignments are submitted online via the submission tool located beneath the instructions for each assignment. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure the successful and timely submission of each programming assignment — start early and follow the instructions carefully. Corrupted or missing files will not be grounds for extensions. Double-check your submissions, and save a digital copy of all of your work. 

Late Assignments Assignments turned in after the due date and time receive an immediate 10% score deduction. After 24 hours, the total deduction becomes 20% and after 48 hours the score becomes 0% and a likely candidate for the one dropped assignment grade discussed below. In general, you should use the dropped score as the way this course handles the problems we all face during the semester rather than asking for instructor consent for late work. Longer term issues should be discussed with the instructor - we are not trying to fail students! 

Lab exercises Students in labs generally work through online instructions with the aid of the lab TA and turn in a worksheet for grading. I drop the lowest 2 lab scores, so that helps you manage unexpected (or expected) problems with attendance. You should review the material in the online lab instructions even if you do not do the lab worksheet. Labs are very beneficial for reviewing material covered in lecture and introducing new material -- attendance is expected and graded through the worksheet mechanism.

Practical Tests There will be two lab periods devoted to practical programming tests - you will be given a series of programming problems that will be solved during the lab period for a score. These do not count as a droppable lab score. These tests will be held September 15th and November 17th and can only be missed for a documented medical emergency.

Mid-term and Final Exam There will be one written mid-term and a final test. The mid-term is during lecture October 18th, after fall break. The cumulative final exam is December 11 from 1-3PM. These tests cannot be missed except for a documented medical emergency.

Participation Participation will be measured through completion of assigned zyBook exercises, a few online quizzes, and through participation in the audience response questions. In general, these scores will be converted into more of a participation score than a correctness score. Several audience response score will be dropped (or excused) automatically. The zyBook exercises, while required, can be done with study groups or partners without triggering the academic misconduct policy. You may explicitly work with other people on the zyBook problems.

Final course grade: Assignments 45%, Practical Tests 12%, Mid-term and Final Exam 26%, Labs 10%, Zybook, online quiz, and lecture participation 7%.

Your weighted, cumulative course percentage score is turned into letter grades using the following scheme:

[100-94] A, (94-90] A-, (90-87] B+, (87-84] B, (84-80] B-, (80-77] C+, (77-74] C, (74-70] C-, (70-67] D+, (67-64] D, (64-60] D-, (60-0] E

where [ ] means including that number and ( ) means up to but not including. 

Regrades Students who wish to appeal a score on an assignment, a lab, a quiz, or a test must do so within one week of receiving the score and use the Regrade Request Form posted on the class website.

Dropped scores Students may end up missing a deadline or a lab session for a reason that is not granted an exception (generally, documented medical reasons). Therefore, to allow for such an occurrence, the lowest score earned on an assignment, and the lowest two scores on lab exercises are dropped from the record of each student at the end of the semester. Students should plan to use the “drop scores” judiciously — there is only one for an assignment and two for a lab. These dropped scores are automatically applied. No test or final exam scores are dropped.

Getting Help 

Instructor office hours See the link at the top of the course website under Course Resources. 

Teaching assistants and consulting hours See the link at the top of the course website under Course Resources for the consulting schedule of the course TAs. During consultation, use the TA Queue (also on the class website) to alert the TA on duty that you have a question. TA hours are held in the CADE lab, please see the link for more information.

Communication For questions outside of class and consulting hours, students are encouraged to use email. 

To send urgent messages to everyone in the class, such as corrections to assignments or changes in due dates, the course staff will make use of the email addresses that the campus CIS system uses. Students are expected to check that email and the class website regularly. 

To ask a question of the course staff, students should use the course staff email list at

In general, we can often provide quick and detailed responses through email and it is an excellent mechanism for getting feedback. See further instructions under the Course Resources module in Canvas.

Course Guidelines 

Behavior in the classroom All students are expected to maintain professional behavior, according to (the University of Utah Student Code). Students should read the Code carefully and know that they are responsible for the content. According to Faculty Rules and Regulations, it is the faculty responsibility to enforce responsible classroom behaviors, beginning with verbal warnings and progressing to dismissal from class and a failing grade. Students have the right to appeal such action to the Student Behavior Committee. 

Students are expected to engage with the instructor and classmates during class meetings. Students are permitted to use a laptop or mobile device to take notes or to participate in course questions. Use of a laptop or mobile device for any other purpose is not permitted, and students who do so will be asked to leave the classroom. While you may consider it a right to casually browse the web, engage in social media, or play games during lecture, such activity is very distracting to others (especially in a crowded classroom) and is not permitted.

Working together Students are encouraged to discuss assignments and laboratory exercises with fellow classmates, but each student is responsible for formulating and writing their own answer. Cheating is: sharing written or electronic work either by copying, retyping, looking at, or supplying a copy. Cheating is not: discussing concepts, answering questions about concepts or clarifying ambiguities, or helping someone understand how to use the class tools and software. 

Students may occasionally be required to work on assignments or lab exercises in pairs. Guidelines and rules for working together will be posted with such assignments. 

Cheating is taken very seriously and students must be careful not to collaborate on assignments. 

Submissions are routinely checked by the course staff for signs of unauthorized collaboration. 

There must be no collaboration during tests or the final exam. Please see the University of Utah Student Code for a detailed description of the university policy on cheating.

Any student found cheating will fail the entire course. 

College of Engineering guidelines For information on withdrawing from courses, appealing grades, and more, see the College of Engineering guidelines at

Students with disabilities The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services and activities for people with disabilities. If you will need accommodations in the class, reasonable prior notice needs to be given to the Center for Disability and Access ( CDA will work with you and the instructor to make arrangements for accommodations. Accommodations cannot be given without paperwork from this office.

Addressing Sexual Misconduct. Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender (which includes sexual orientation and gender identity/expression) is a civil rights offense subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories such as race, national origin, color, religion, age, status as a person with a disability, veteran’s status or genetic information. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you are encouraged to report it to the Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, 135 Park Building, 801-581-8365, or the Office of the Dean of Students, 270 Union Building, 801-581-7066. For support and confidential consultation, contact the Center for Student Wellness, 426 SSB, 801-581-7776. To report to the police, contact the Department of Public Safety, 801-585-2677(COPS).

Student Names & Personal Pronouns Class rosters are provided to the instructor with the students legal name as well as Preferred first name(if previously entered by you in the Student Profile section of your CIS account). While CIS refers to this as merely a preference, I will honor you by referring to you with the name and pronoun that feels best for you in class, on papers, exams, group projects, etc. Please advise me of any name or pronoun changes (and update CIS) so I can help create a learning environment in which you, your name, and your pronoun will be respected. If you need assistance getting your preferred name on your UIDcard, please visit the LGBT Resource Center Room 409 in the Olpin Union Building, or email to schedule a time to drop by. The LGBT Resource Center hours are M-F 8am-5pm, and 8am-6pm on Tuesdays.

Student Wellness Personal concerns such as stress, anxiety, relationship difficulties, depression, cross-cultural differences, etc., can interfere with a student’s ability to succeed and thrive at the University of Utah. For helpful resources contact the Center for Student Wellness at or 801-581-7776.

Veterans Center If you are a student veteran, the U of Utah has a Veterans Support Center located in Room 161 in the Olpin Union Building. Hours: M-F 8-5pm. Please visit their website for more information about what support they offer, a list of ongoing events and links to outside resources: Please also let me know if you need any additional support in this class for any reason.

Learners of English as an Additional/Second Language If you are an English language learner, please be aware of several resources on campus that will support you with your language and writing development. These resources include: the Writing Center (; the Writing Program (; the English Language Institute ( Please let me know if there is any additional support you would like to discuss for this class.

Note: This syllabus is meant to serve as an outline and guide for our course. Please note that I may modify it with reasonable notice to you. I may also modify the Course Schedule to accommodate the needs of our class. Any changes will be announced in class and posted on Canvas under Announcements.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due