CS3 - Introduction to Computers

David Morgan



Course Particulars








Required Textbook


Discovering Computers 2016 by Vermaat et al., ISBN: 978-1-3053-9185-7





Catalog Description


This is a beginning course intended for students who plan
to take additional computer programming or computer
science courses. Emphasis in the course is divided between
a broad survey of the field of computer information sys-
tems and the acquisition of computer skills necessary for
more advanced classes. Such skills would involve use of the
operating system, file management techniques, use of an
editor, and an introduction to programming.

Grades for the course are determined as a weighted average over a series of homework assignments including programming exercises, quizzes, and tests. As assignments are completed, grades to-date will be published on the class website (above), giving the weighting for each. In past semesters there have usually been 2 tests (including final), half a dozen quizzes, and a similar number of assignments. While there might be variation this is representative.

Averages are mathematically quite sensitive to missing terms. There can be a full-grade swing, everything else equal, between a zero- and a hundred-point score on a single assignment. Avoid zero-point scores by doing every assignment and gaining points for it (skipping results in zero). While a score of 50 may be considered poor it is much better than just skipping an assignment altogether, in terms of numerically upholding your overall average.

Grading Scale:

A 90 -100%
B 80 –89
C 70–79
D 60 –69
F Below 60%

Attendance may also be taken on a spot check basis and included with a low weighting. While the attendance term in the formula for calculating final grades has low weighting, absence affects grades beyond that because it limits your class awareness and subject-matter knowledge, which expresses itself in your work.

Website and course content
http://homepage.smc.edu/morgan_david/  I will use this website to communicate with you. You are responsible for awareness of the information posted here, e.g., announcements, grade reports, assignments. Access the website from any SMC computer lab, or an internet-connected browser anywhere.

Academic dishonesty
- The SMC Honor statement, signed by each student upon enrollment, reads: “In the pursuit of the high ideals and rigorous standards of academic life, I commit myself to respect and uphold the Santa Monica College Honor Code, Code of Academic Conduct, and Student Conduct Code. I will conduct myself honorably as a responsible member of the SMC community in all endeavors I pursue.”

Please be extremely careful that you do not engage in any behavior that could even be construed as cheating. Violations could result in failing grades, reports to the Campus Disciplinarian, and subsequent academic disciplinary action. Examples of behaviors that are not permitted include but are not limited to: copying another student's homework, inappropriate language or physicality in the classroom, and inappropriate behaviors during an exam (talking with another student, looking at or copying from another student's paper, using a disallowed PDA or calculator, using disallowed notes, leaving the room without prior permission, removing exam materials from the classroom). Honest and ethical students are protected in this class.esults in automatic zero on the affected work and automatic issue of an Academic Dishonesty Report Form. The Form enters your record along with regular grades to indicate your dishonesty. I am exerting an honest effort to contribute to your education for your benefit. If you intend to repay it with deception drop the class.

Title IX

Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Those interested in the details can view the entire Title IX Legal Manual at

Students who have experienced some form of sexual misconduct or discrimination are encouraged to talk to someone about their experience, so they can get the support they need. 
To learn more about support available for students, please see http://www.smc.edu/StudentServices/SVPE/Pages/What-is-Title-IX.aspx. You can also call Lisa Winter, Compliance Administrator Title IX Coordinator, at 310-434-4225.


A grade of “Incomplete” may only be granted at the very end of the term, when 90% of the course work has been satisfactorily completed by the student, but an unforeseen event or illness prevents the student from completing the coursework. “Incomplete” grade situations are extremely rare, and are entirely at the discretion of the instructor

Emergency Preparedness

The safety of students at SMC is a priority. Please note that emergency procedures are posted in this classroom and every classroom. Also, procedures for various emergencies are 
delineated on the SMC website: http://www.smc.edu/StudentServices/EmergencyPreparedness/Pages/Emergency-Preparedness.aspx

Please take the time to familiarize yourself with these procedures today, when knowledge of what to do can be the most effective.

Makeup work
Assignments: not accepted after due date. Makeup tests: will not be given. Test grades will not be dropped. If the final exam is missed you will not pass the course.

Drop policy
- Students are responsible for maintaining their own enrollment status. Students may drop the course with a W for the first portion of the class calendar. It is NOT possible to drop the class after that point. Students should check the Dates and Deadlines link under the "Semester dates and calendar" heading below for specific drop dates. Leaving yourself officially enrolled without submitting the required work results in an F.

To reach me outside class:


Office hours - see the chat section for this course in Canvas. Chat is live, real-time. The chat section is open all the time and you can converse with others there. I plan to be there Saturdays 11:30-noon. If I'm in the midst of a conversation at noon, I will remain there. 

Student learning outcomes
SLO #1:
Learn to assess, evaluate, and interpret ideas, images, and information critically in order to
communicate effectively, reach conclusions, and solve problems. Students will be able to:
a. Identify elements of software needs
b. Gather data to identify customer requirements
c. Identify input and output requirements
d. Identify system processing requirements
e. Clarify specifications
f. Identify hardware, networking, and software system functional
g. Demonstrate knowledge of security
h. Define business problems to be solved by the application
i. Demonstrate knowledge of the use, structure, and contents of a
requirements specification document
j. Define system and software requirements
SLO #2: Using ALICE, Visual Basic, and C languages, students will write programs that demonstrate that they are able to design, code, test, and debug software applications.

Students with Disabilities
- I am happy to make academic adjustments for students with documented disabilities. Please contact the Center for Students with Disabilities if this applies to you. The Center for Students with Disabilities is located in Room 101 of the Admission/Student Services Complex, next to Admissions. For more information, call (310) 434-4265 or (310) 434-4273.

Corsair Connect Guide
(student online service center)


Semester dates and calendar



Student codes of conduct -




Technical note:

Within Canvas I supply some content that resides on an outside website that is accessible by the unencrypted http protocol (as opposed to the encrypted one, called https, that is used for example when you go to a bank or other commercial website). Depending on your browser, it may yield a message that objects. I solved it this way: