Kevin Angstadt (he/him/his)
Office: Bewkes 121-1
Student Hours: QRC Lounge (outside Valentine 124)
- MW 1PM–2PM
- TTh 11AM–12PM
- By Appointment
Email Hours: I regularly check Email 9–5 Eastern on weekdays. While I may respond outside those hours, I make no guarantees.
Addressing: I encourage you to call me by any one of the following names. Please use what makes you feel the most comfortable.
- Prof./Dr. Angstadt
- Prof./Dr. A
- Prof./Dr. Kevin
Lily Kendall (she/her)
Francesca Mnenula (she/her)
- Section 01: TTh 2:20 PM–3:50 PM Eastern
- Section 02: TTh 12:40 PM–2:10 PM Eastern
Room: Bewkes 109
- None: this course assumes no background knowledge beyond high school math and typing.
- This course is synchronous; you must be available during the scheduled class time.
- CS 140 is intended for students who have not yet done any substantial programming. If you have substantial previous programming experience, please contact me so that we may determine if another course would be a better fit.
There are no required textbooks for this course. In addition to your notes, I will provide links to online resources to supplement your class notes. We will primarily refer to Harcourt’s An Introduction to Computer Science and Programming with Python and Wentworth et al.’s How to Think Like a Computer Scientist.
First Class Meeting
Last Day to Drop/Add
No Class (Mid-Semester Break)
Last Day to Request Pass/Fail
Last Day to Withdraw
No Class (Thanksgiving Break)
Last Class Meeting
Final Exam Period (all assignments due)
Course Overview and Goals
From the course catalog: An introduction to programming using a high-level language. Assumes no prior knowledge of programming, and focuses on essential skills. Students learn to create programs ranging from practical utilities to simple games. Offered every semester.
Welcome to the wonderful world of Computer Science! Almost every aspect of 21st century life relies on computers and computation. In this course, you will begin to learn how to program a computer. Computer programming can be both challenging and rewarding, and skillful programming requires equal parts technical precision and creative design. We will be learning Python, a modern programming language that many students find enjoyable and rewarding to learn. Further, Python is used extensively to write modern software, both in industry and also for research.
At the end of this course, you will be able to:
- Explain the basic operation of a computer and appreciate the complexity of the software we use on a daily basis
- Solve a range of computational and visual problems using Python
- Develop your own programs by composing key programming constructs, such as variables, functions, conditionals, and loops
This course is structured around learning many of the core pieces of the Python language. As we attempt to solve new problems, we will learn the necessary parts of the language to program a solution. A rough ordering of topics is presented below, but is subject to change as the semester progresses.
- Expressions, Statements, and Variables
- User Input
- Computer Graphics and Games
- for and while Loops
- Randomization and Simulation
- Event-Based Programming
- Image Processing
- Lists and Dictionaries
This course consists of both in-class components as well as activities that must be completed outside of class time. The subsequent subsections provide an overview of this course’s structure.
Each week, there will be synchronous lectures during our scheduled course time. These meetings will introduce you to the fun and exciting world of computer programming. Please review the attendance policy below for expectations about attending these lectures.
Lectures will be recorded and available on Canvas for students wishing to review material covered in this course.
In addition to attending lectures, you must also complete exercises associated with each class. You will typically be given time to work on these exercises near the end of scheduled course time, but the duration will vary day-to-day. You will likely need some time outside of class to complete these exercises. The purpose of these exercises is to give you additional opportunities to solve real-world problems using your newly acquired programming skills. Further, these exercises help you prepare for in-class assessments.
While correctness is important, your effort on these assignments will be weighted heavily. This includes, but is not limited to, thorough commenting of your code. Homework exercises assigned during the previous week are due on Gradescope before the start of the Tuesday class. All exercises must be submitted no later than two days after the official due date to receive credit.
Throughout the course of the semester, you will complete several programming assignments. These assignments are designed to give you additional practice with the material we are covering in class. Please refer to the individual assignments as they are released for detailed instructions on how and what to submit and specific due dates. Points will be deducted for late assignments, and all assignments must be submitted no later than one week after the official due date to receive credit.
You must email the course instructor if unexpected circumstances prevent you from completing programming assignments on time.
Each week, there will be a 30 minute quiz for you to complete in class on Tuesdays. This quiz will typically focus on material covered over the past week, and you will need to both read and write code. You are encouraged to review recent class material before coming to class. You will be allowed to review programs from class along with an offline copy of your notes while taking the quiz (if you take notes electronically, be sure to download or print a copy if you wish to use them during quiz time). Weeks without a quiz will be announced.
There is no final project in this course. Instead, there will be several programming assignments during the course of the semester (see above).
There are no traditional exams in this course (including no final exam). Instead, we will rely on the weekly quizzes to assess your learning throughout the semester.
Students are expected to attend each class meeting. Absences will leave holes in your understanding of course concepts. If you must miss a class, you are expected to make up the material on your own time before the next class. You are welcome to attend student hours if you have specific questions about the material you missed, but you will not receive any help if you ask, "what did I miss?" during student hours.
I do my best to post resources from class online (slides, recordings, etc.), but I write a significant amount on the board. This means you will need to review notes from a peer or rewatch the video recordings.
Should you become unable to attend class (e.g., you become sick, you have a doctor’s appointment, or your housing situation changes), please email the course instructor as soon as possible.
Final grades are based off of a cumulative point system. All points carry equal weight in this class. That means, for example, that 1 point from a homework exercise is equivalent to 1 point from a quiz. The point breakdown for this course will be roughly 20% exercises, 20% programming assignments, and 60% quizzes. Note that this is only an estimate; the actual point breakdown may be different.
Your final grade will be calculated as follows. First, the percent of total possible points you received is calculated. Then, this percentage is mapped to a numeric grade on the 4.00 scale (see below). Note that I do not guarantee any particular rounding scheme for this calculation.
The following table shows how averages translate to the 4-point grading scale.
Requests for an assignment regrade must be made to the instructor within one week of the assignment being returned to the student and by the final day of classes. Any requests submitted after this may be done at the instructor’s discretion. The instructor reserves the right to regrade the entire assignment, which may result in either an increase or a decrease in your grade. This is not intended to scare off students, but to avoid frivolous requests.
Examples of appropriate reasons for requesting a regrade include:
- You believe your answer to a question matches the answer on the key.
- Your answer is different from the key, but is also correct.
- There is an error in the summation of points.
Examples of inappropriate reasons for requesting a regrade include:
- Your programming assignment works on your computer but not the grading server.
- Most of what you wrote on an exam was correct, but you want more partial credit.
- You are one point away from a 3.75 and are trying to get extra points.
Our class takes place in the Bewkes 109 computer lab. Therefore, you will have access to a campus computer during class. You may also use these computers outside of class time; however, other classes do meet in this room.
Because you will be writing programs outside of class, students will benefit from a computer with an internet connection to participate in this course. If you do not have access to a reliable computer, please contact the instructor as soon as possible. There may be resources available to help.
Students are expected to remain on task during activities (no excessive web browsing, social media usage, etc.), as per the professionalism policy. If you have any concerns about this request, please contact me outside of class, and we will work together to find an appropriate solution.
Generally speaking, I encourage taking notes by hand. At least one study found that students who took notes longhand remembered more and had a deeper understanding of the material. I typically take notes on the board (rather than using slides), which will help you keep up if you are taking notes by hand.
Academic Integrity and Professionalism Policy
As noted in the Academic Honor Code in the Student Handbook, “all students at St. Lawrence University are bound by honor to maintain the highest level of academic integrity.” Please review the handbook for general guidelines. In particular, you should only be turning in your own work. Additionally, you are expected to abide by the additional policies listed below. It is the instructor’s responsibility to report violations of these policies to the Dean.
Students are also expected to act in a professional manner for the duration of the course. This includes (but is not limited to): staying on task during labs, being respectful of others, and promptness for labs and deadlines. Unprofessional behavior will result in a reduction of the student's final grade.
In addition to the general policies described in the Student Handbook, you are expected to follow the following policies, which are specific to this course.
Programming assignments are designed to help you learn. Learning doesn’t always come easily, so struggling with some programs is normal and expected. If you aren’t ever struggling, you probably aren’t learning!
That is one important reason to complete your assignments independently. Another reason is that academic integrity requires you to submit your own work. This rule applies to code just as it does to any other form of writing.
Signs of code plagiarism include:
- Code that uses syntax that was not introduced in course materials.
- Code that is very similar to that of classmates or previous students.
- Code that you cannot explain or reproduce.
Examples of code plagiarism include:
- Copying existing code (from a classmate, a previous student, the web, etc.)
- Having someone (human or AI) write the code for you (or feed it to you bit by bit).
- Working so closely with a classmate that you end up with essentially the same code.
- Providing your code to a classmate, who then copies it (making you both culpable).
Students and faculty all have responsibilities to uphold academic integrity at St. Lawrence. If I see signs of plagiarism in your code, I will ask you to meet with me to discuss it. Any plagiarized assignment must receive a grade penalty and a letter to the Academic Dean.
You must always cite any people or other allowed resources (including class notes, and assigned readings) that helped you complete your work. You may do this by adding comments to your code. Failure to appropriately cite resources will be considered a breach of the honor policy and will be dealt with as described in this document. If, at any point, you are unsure about the citation policy, ask. Your grade is not affected by the number of resources you cite; I will not be impressed by low or high citation counts. Use the resources you need to complete the assignments!
In addition to following the practice of academic honesty, the purpose of these citations is to help you find resources when you look back at your work. If you were confused by something before, it’s likely you might be confused by it again later.
When it comes to academic integrity and professionalism, it’s best to ask questions if you are unsure. It has been my experience that most violations are acts of desperation or misunderstanding rather than ill will. I would rather you ask for help or clarification than commit an act of academic dishonesty.
As a general rule of thumb, when you are talking to someone (other than the instructor) about work in this class, close all code that you are working on. If you cannot look at your code (or others’ code!) while you are discussing content, it becomes significantly more difficult to violate these policies.
In most cases, I don’t believe that students maliciously break these policies; violations tend to be an act of desperation. If you are tempted to copy code from online, a classmate, or a peer, STOP and email me. You will find that my late assignment penalty is significantly less harsh than my academic dishonesty penalty.
All course materials will be available through our Canvas course page. This is the “home base” for this course. If you are looking for something related to CS-140, this is the place to start!
You will submit assignments for this course using Gradescope, which will be linked directly from Canvas. For programming assignments, you will upload your Python files directly. When submitting a written assignment, you will need to convert your submission into either a PDF or a set of picture files. Contact the instructor if you have any difficulty uploading your assignments.
Recordings of classes will be available on Panopto under the Panopto link. You can access these videos by using the direct links provided in Canvas.
Tips for Success
Computer Science courses can often look and feel different from your other classes at St. Lawrence. Nevertheless, mature study habits can help you be successful and achieve your personal goals this semester. Many of these tips apply to courses across the curriculum, but a few are also specific to this particular class.
- Start homework exercises and projects early, not the day before it is due. Humans are notoriously bad at estimating time; it’s better to have too much time rather than too little.
- Struggle through the frustration and don’t give in to temptation to take shortcuts or use disallowed resources
- This is part of the learning process (and why you should start early)
- Take a break. Sometimes stepping away from a problem can give you new insights
- If you’ve tried to solve a problem three times and it’s still not making sense, then it is a good time to ask for help
- Challenge yourself to ask questions and offer answers in class
- Nothing bad happens if you make a mistake
- If you have a question, you can be sure that at least two other people in class have the same question—ask it and help all three of you
- Set aside time outside of class and keep a regular schedule of when you are going to study for this class
- Do not use this time for other work or commitments unless you have already finished everything (including studying) for this class
- As a rule of thumb, set aside two (2) hours of time for every one (1) hour of class
- If you have academic accommodations, adjust the time you set aside to match
- Find a place you can concentrate. There may be too many distractions in your room, so consider the library, PQRC, classroom, or majors’ room
- After each class, review the code and notes you took
- Fix any typos or mistakes that you find
- Add additional comments to your code to explain ideas
- Make extra notes to clarify what you wrote down and complete any examples that were left for you to do
- Create a list of questions you have about the material
- Do the assigned reading
- Show up for student hours
- This is a great time to ask your questions!
- You don’t need questions to attend, however. You might use this time for some of your set-aside review
- Come to class; watching the recordings is not a substitute for attending
- Make sure that your development environment is in “a good state”
- No errors in your IDE settings
- Code from previous classes works without crashing
- OneDrive is running and signed in (you might have to re-enter your password at least once during the semester)
Mental Health and Wellbeing
St. Lawrence University is committed to advancing the mental health and wellbeing of its students. If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed, depressed, and/or in need of support, services are available.
For help, contact the Diana B. Torrey '82 Health and Counseling Center at (315) 229-5392 Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM–4:30 PM. After hours, call Campus Safety at (315) 229-5555 to speak with the after-hours crisis counselor. The nation-wide 24/7 crisis counselor service can be reached by calling (315) 229-1914.
For more details, visit https://www.stlawu.edu/offices/health-and-counseling-services.
Student Accessibility Services
Your experience in this class is important to me. It is the policy and practice of St. Lawrence University to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law. If you have already established accommodations with the Student Accessibility Services Office, please meet with them to activate your accommodations so we can discuss how they will be implemented in this course.
If you have not yet established services through the Student Accessibility Services Office but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), please contact the Student Accessibility Services Office directly to set up a meeting to discuss establishing with their office. The Student Accessibility Services Office will work with you on the interactive process that establishes reasonable accommodations.
Color Vision Deficiency
If you are color vision deficient, the Student Accessibility Services office has on loan glasses for students who are color vision deficient. Please contact the office to make an appointment.
For more specific information about setting up an appointment with Student Accessibility Services please see the options listed below:
For further information about Student Accessibility Services, you can check the website at https://www.stlawu.edu/offices/student-accessibility-services
Diversity and Equity Statement
As indicated by the University’s Statement on Diversity and the student handbook, we are committed to treating students fairly and with dignity regardless of age, color, creed, disability, marital status, national origin or ancestry, race, religion, sex (including gender identity and gender expression), sexual orientation, and/or veteran status.
It is my intent that students from all backgrounds and perspectives be well served by this course, that students’ learning needs be addressed both in and out of class, and that the diversity that students bring to this class be viewed as a resource, strength and benefit. Should you have any concerns, problems, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I strive to make my classrooms safe spaces for learning.
Please also feel free to talk to me about events that happen outside my classroom. If you do not feel comfortable talking to me, there are many other resources available to you on campus, including those on this list of on-campus resources: https://www.stlawu.edu/offices/diversity-and-inclusion/campus-resources.
You can report a bias incident here: https://www.stlawu.edu/offices/diversity-and-inclusion/bias-incident-reporting.
The Peterson Quantitative Resource Center (PQRC) offers free, no appointment necessary peer tutoring across a range of courses with quantitative content. The PQRC student staff of mentors is trained to assist students to develop and to improve their quantitative skills and understanding. More information about the PQRC’s current hours and modes of operation can be found at the PQRC webpage: https://www.stlawu.edu/offices/pqrc.
Your class work might be used for research purposes. For example, we may use anonymized student assignments to design algorithms or build tools to help programmers or teachers. Any student who wishes to opt out can contact the instructor to do so up to seven days after final grades have been issued. This has no impact on your grade in any manner.
Right to Revise
This is a "living syllabus". Therefore, its contents may be changed throughout the course of the semester to address changing needs. I will do my best to notify students of changes; however, it is up to the student to monitor this page for any changes. Final authority on any decision in this course rests with the instructor (i.e., Kevin Angstadt), not with this document.
Many ideas for this class were borrowed from similar classes taught at St. Lawrence, Macalester College, Grinnell College, UVA, and Michigan.