Course Syllabus

IMPORTANT NOTE:  All dates and policies contained in the CS 1420 syllabus and Canvas course are subject to change.  Students can expect to be informed immediately and clearly of any changes.

Critical Information


Prof. Parker, 3144 MEB, 

Class meetings

Mondays and Wednesdays 1:25-2:45p in GC 1900, led by Prof. Parker

Lab sessions

Tuesdays at various times and locations (see your class schedule), led by Teaching Assistants (TAs)

Attendance and recordings

Due to the interactive nature of class meetings, attendance is expected.  When not prevented by technical difficulties, class meetings on Mondays and Wednesdays are recorded.  These recordings include only video of the instructor's screen, audio of the instructor, and occasionally, audio of students who ask questions.  These recordings are not intended as a substitution for attending class.  Furthermore, they are not of optimal quality and may not be available for every class meeting.  Lab sessions on Tuesdays are not recorded and attendance is required.


Introduction to Programming Using Java

Important dates

All exams are paper-based, administered in person, and may not be missed.

  • Midterm 1 is Wednesday, February 7 during the class meeting.
  • Midterm 2 is Wednesday, March 20 during the class meeting.
  • Final Exam (cumulative) is Tuesday, April 30 1-3p.

Final course grade

If a student's average score on exams is 65% or better, their final CS 1420 grade is comprised of exams 45%, programming assignments 35%, labs 10%, weekly review quizzes 10%.  Otherwise, their final course grade is the same as their exam average. 


All class announcements and student questions (public or private) take place on Piazza — sign up right away and set notifications appropriately.

Posting of course materials by students

All CS 1420 course materials belong to Prof. Parker.  These materials are made available to students enrolled in CS 1420 this semester.  No student may post or share outside of class any materials (syllabus, lecture slides, assignment instructions, recordings, etc.) without the instructors' explicit permission.  Doing so is a violation of copyright.

Course Information

CS 1420: Accelerated Introduction to Object-Oriented Programing covers the material of CS 1400 and CS 1410 in a single semester.  As such, students should expect a very fast-paced course in which not all of the topics they need to know are covered during class meetings and lab sessions.  While the course assumes that students have some amount of programming experience, beginners may succeed in this class if they are ready for the heavy workload.

A student is most likely to succeed in this course if they have previously taken any course in programming, they have a course load under 15 credits this semester, their extracurricular/home/work time commitments will not interfere, and they have good study habits (time management, independence, etc.).  Students are expected to spend time independently exploring and experimenting with the course material beyond what is required to solve assignments.


The course co-requisite is MATH 1060 or MATH 1080 (or higher math).  Students who do not meet this requirement are to be removed from CS 1420 in the first week of class.

Learning objectives 

Upon completion of CS 1420, students are able to:

  1. use variables, assignment, selection, repetition, and arrays to form solutions to simple problems
  2. exploit procedural abstraction (non-recursive and recursive methods) and data abstraction (classes and objects) to decompose a program into manageable pieces
  3. leverage inheritance and polymorphism as cornerstones of the object-oriented programming design process
  4. understand the organization of common application types such as command-line programs and graphical user interfaces
  5. leverage the features of an Integrated Development Environment to design, implement, test, debug, and document a complete computer program, given only a problem statement
  6. emphasize code clarity and documentation as integral parts of the development process
  7. recognize what it means to be a computing professional and apply ethical codes of conduct to various scenarios

Students can expect to achieve these outcomes only if they attend class meetings and lab sessions, as well as complete Canvas quizzes, assignments, and exams in good faith and on time.  Furthermore, students may vary in their competency level on these outcomes.

Course Materials


The CS 1420 Canvas course is always under development, with updates to the class schedule, course notes, provided code samples, assignment specifications, and more, occurring regularly.  It is critical that students become familiar with the Canvas course right away and plan to visit it three times a week, at a minimum.


Regular reading is assigned from the course textbook, as well as other online notes, books, and articles linked from Canvas.

Course notes

The instructors often makes use of slides, sample source code, and other materials during class.  These items are posted to Canvas following the class meeting.

Laboratory practice

Lab sessions meet on Tuesdays to give students guided practice applying the concepts of CS 1420.  To avoid more participants than can be managed by the TA(s), students should regularly attend the lab section for which they are registered.  Infrequently attending a different lab section is allowed and need not be approved by an instructor.  Students should bring their own laptops or plan to borrow a laptop from the Marriott Library for the semester.

Personal computers

Students may use their own computers or ones borrowed from the library for completing assignments and taking Canvas quizzes; however, broken tools or computers, or network connectivity issues are not sufficient basis for a deadline extension.  Plan ahead and use a campus lab computer if problems arise.

Java and Eclipse

All programming in CS 1420 is in Java, using the Eclipse programming environment.  Both Java and Eclipse are platform-independent, and instructions for installing both on your personal computer are available on the class website.

Student Evaluation

Programming assignments

The instructions for each assignment and its due date are posted on Canvas at least one week before it must be submitted. 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 are not grounds for extensions — double-check your submissions and save a digital copy of all of your work in your Price College of Engineering account.  The timestamps of files outside of this account are not trusted.

Each assignment's deadline is followed by a one-day late period.  Late submissions are penalized 10 points.  Note that 12a marks the start of a new day and -10 points.


Midterm exams are to be given during class meetings on February 7 and March 20.  The final exam is cumulative and to be given 1-3p April 30.  No exam may be taken at a different time for any reason other than a medical emergency or conflict with another exam, and documentation may be required.

Each student must bring their UCard to every exam, and they may be asked to show their UCard when turning in the exam.  No other type of identification may be used for this purpose.

Labs sessions

Each lab is comprised of a TA-led activity and a Canvas quiz, to be completed by students each Tuesday.

Weekly review quizzes

Students take Canvas quizzes regularly, reviewing the material covered recently in class meetings and lab, as well as preparing for an upcoming assignment.  Note that these Canvas quizzes are distinguished from those used in labs. 

Each quiz's deadline is followed by a one-day late period.  A late submission is penalized 10%.

Final course grade

If a student's average score on exams is 65% or better, their final CS 1420 grade is comprised of exams 45%, programming assignments 35%, labs 10%, weekly review quizzes 10%.  If a student's average score on exams is less than 65%, their final course grade is the same as their exam average. 


Students desiring to appeal a score on an assignment or exam must do so via Gradescope.  For any Canvas quiz, the appeal must be made via a private post to Instructors in Piazza.  All such appeals are due no later than one week after the score is published.

Letter grades

The following table is used to associate numerical scores with the corresponding letter grade.  Note the lack of rounding.

93 ≤ X ≤ 100 A
90 ≤ X < 93 A-
87 ≤ X < 90 B+
83 ≤ X < 87 B
80 ≤ X < 83 B-
77 ≤ X < 80 C+
73 ≤ X < 77 C
70 ≤ X < 73 C-
67 ≤ X < 70 D+
63 ≤ X < 67 D
60 ≤ X < 63 D-
X < 60 E

Getting Help

To get help understanding course material, students may see a Teaching Assistant during TA Help Hours, see an instructor during Office Hours, or post a question to Piazza.  To contact the course staff directly, use Piazza — use of the Canvas Inbox or email is discouraged for CS 1420 communications.  See the Instructions on how to get help page for details.

Policies and Guidelines

Laptop and mobile device policy

Students are expected to engage with the instructors and classmates during class meetings.  Laptops and mobile devices are permitted for note taking; however, research has shown that handwritten note taking is more beneficial to students than typed note taking1.  All CS 1420 exams require students to handwrite solutions on paper, making handwritten note taking good practice.  Furthermore, laptops and mobile devices tempt students to multitask during class meetings, the success of which is wishful thinking for students who must focus in order to learn new and complex material.  For these reasons, students are discouraged from using laptops and mobile devices during class except when contributing to polling questions.

ADA statement

The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services and activities for people with disabilities.  If you need accommodations in the class, reasonable prior notice needs to be given to the Center for Disability & Access, 162 Olpin Union Building, 801-581-5020.  CDA will work with you and the instructors to make arrangements for accommodations. 

All written information in this course can be made available in alternative format with prior notification to the Center for Disability & Access.

Other polices and guidelines 

Students are bound by the following policies and guidelines:

Students should read and understand each of these documents, asking questions as needed.

Student mental health resources

Rates of burnout, anxiety, depression, isolation, and loneliness have noticeably increased during the pandemic.  If you need help, reach out for campus mental health resources, including counseling, trainings and other support.

1Mueller, P. A. & Oppenheimer, D. M. (2014). The pen is mightier than the keyboard: Advantages of longhand over laptop note taking.  Psychological Science, 25(6), 1159-1168. doi:10.1177/0956797614524581.