[Dedicated to the memory of Professor Phil Dorin, teacher, mentor and friend.]
For Computer Science majors and minors only.
Prerequisite: A grade of C [2.0] or better in CMSI 185 or consent of instructor.
Note that we'll be using the Java programming language, but the course will also provide some general information about, and some examples from, many other programming languages.
The prerequisite course is CMSI 185 — Introduction to Computer Programming, or some equivalent. Students who have not taken [specifically] CMSI 185 must have prior approval of the instructor. If you do have some Java programming experience, it may be helpful, but you might find that you need to be willing to un-learn some potentially bad habits.
Note that the course description above is not very specific.... there is MUCH more detail below!
Programming, like anything else, takes practice. You should be willing to make mistakes, to learn how to fix them, and to learn not to be afraid of them. Humans [and now even computers!] learn by making mistakes, and this is the place to do so without fear.
The goal of this course is to learn the basics of Java computer programming and
software application construction, as well as to learn to apply algorithmic thinking. Students will
learn how to create working computer programs, how to think critically about deconstructing problems,
and how to appreciate the difference between well-crafted programs and what is known [in the software
schlock. Students learn to view computer programming as an art form as well as
a lucrative profession. The topics covered include [but are not limited to]:
.class files, which are then executed by a Java Virtual Machine [JVM]. Since program structure, type structure, and inheritance mechanisms of the two languages are quite different, learning Java will occupy roughly the first month of the course.
When you finish the course, you will be able to:
Some things we will study and do during this class:
In a nutshell, here's what you'll need to do to be successful in this course:
In addition to the time spent in two class meetings per week, students will be responsible for about 3-5 hours per week of academic work outside of the classroom. This work will consist of programming homework, watching some videos about programming and related computer science topics, reading/study of textbook material, and use of [and experimentation with] the Java programming language and topics discussed in class. Homework assignments are performed individually in this class, unlike CMSI 185. The intent of this course is to provide the necessary practice required to begin to master the subjects and topics covered.
There are two textbooks for this course. Since they are considered
recommended and are not
required, they are probably not on the shelf in the LMU bookstore. You might be
able to find copies in the LMU Hannon Library, but that will be on a first-come-first-served basis
[Gee, sounds like a queue data structure, huh?]. They are all available from Amazon and other fine
literature retailers, and I have included links to their listings. In addition, by careful Internet
searching, you may find links to PDF versions of these books. Since this is
an introductory course, there will be much of the
latest and greatest Java that will not be
germain or required for our purposes, so just about any version of the books will do. Note
that the use of the links to Amazon does not imply any endorsement, official or otherwise, of that
institution. Here is the list:
There is also a VERY large number of other resources which can be used to
mine the gold for all
sorts of related information about Java programming. There are ample Java resources on the Web;
Oracle's Java website is definitive,
and you'll want to refer to the Java API's
often. [You should bookmark these links in your browser so you can have them available while
Starting this semester, part of my office hours on Wednesday will be devoted to a collaborative help
session I'm calling
Help On Problem
Exercises, or HOPE. These sessions will be strictly for
extra help for your programming projects and exercises. The idea is for you to come in small groups
and work collaboratively with each other and with me, to get help on things that you are having some
difficulty with. So, for those who are struggling, there is HOPE. These sessions will take place
from [hopefully] 15:00 to 16:00 on Wednesday, in the Keck Lab Annex, Doolan 114
A list of topics covered, and the approximate order and time frame in which they will be discussed, is available on the class notes page for this site.
The specific reading assignments for this course are from the
Nutshell book. The readings will
also be covered in class, during the first 3 – 5 weeks of the course, but it will be in your best
interest to read not only what is covered from that book, but also whatever you can find about the Java
programming language, and about each of the computing paradigms that will be introduced during the course.
During the first month, the main objective is to become broadly familiar with the Java programming language and its development environment, and you should expect a new programming assignment every class, typically consisting of several small programs and methods.
During the remainder of the course, a new problem will be assigned [roughly] bi-weekly. For each one
several possible approaches will be discussed, eventually singling out one algorithm for you to put
into a Java program implementation. Sketches of the important program and data structures will then
be provided, and your
mission will be to complete the program[s].
Remember that the assignments are to be completed individually! While some collaboration is allowed/encouraged, it should be kept to a bare minimum. You may ask a classmate for help in diagnosing a syntax problem, or discuss the assignment in general terms, but, unless the assignment explicitly calls for pair programming, you may not share any code. You MAY NOT copy code from the internet or from fellow students! Doing so will be considered cheating/plagiarism [see the screed on this situation that appears below].
All written homework assignments are due at the beginning of the class on the date
they are due. Deviation from this process requires prior consent of the instructor.
I left my
homework at home is not a valid reason for late work. This is college, and you can be
responsible for remembering what you need to remember. Every effort is made to ensure assignments,
required deliverables, and due dates are prominently posted on these pages; it is your
responsibility to make sure you know what is due and when it is due.
You may certainly turn assignments in late; I will happily accept them, but they will be reduced in
grade by one letter for each day they are late.
class day; an
A+ homework due on Thursday which is not turned in until the following
Tuesday will unfortunately only earn a failing grade, unless some prior arrangements are made with
the instructor due to illness or some major schedule conflict. However, if you want to turn the
assignment in late, I'll still provide feedback even for assignments which have no chance of any
credit; I keep this policy to allow you to get the learning benefit of the assignment even if you
don't get a grade for it. My philosophy is that it is important for the students to know the
material, even if an assignment doesn't get the
All assignments will be submitted through the
Programming Project Homework descriptions and their due dates are listed on the Assignments web page of this site.
There will be no tests, no midterm exam, and no planned final exam for this course. At the whim of
the instructor, there may be one [or more]
quickie quiz[es] during the semester. However, I may
need to actually give a final exam, per the final exam schedule from the registrar's office, if I
am unable to assign individual grades due to potential collaborative effects.
You will need access to a computer of some variety. It doesn't matter whether it is a Windows, Mac, or Linux machine, since there are versions of the Java Development Environment for any and all platforms. You should download and install the Java Software Development Kit [SDK] from the Oracle Java website. For purposes of this class, just about any version later than Java 1.2 will work fine. Downloads of the latest version [Java 1.10] are available for all platforms here.
You will need to install and use some sort of text editor into which you can type your code in ASCII text-only form. You cannot use a word processor such as Microsoft Word or Mac's TextEdit [unless you configure it properly] or other word-processing software which puts in special characters that the Java compiler won't recognize. Several possible free tools are available, such as the following:
If you don't have a computer available, or if you just don't want to carry yours
around, there are plenty of computers of all types in the Keck Lab, Doolan 112. You will need an
account, which may be obtained for free from the Keck Lab Manager, Masao Kitamura, by simply filling
out a form. All of the Keck Lab computers have internet access, text editors, and browsers. They
also have word processors for doing lab write-ups, and are connected to both B&W and color laser
printers. However, since a big part of this class is working during the class period on the program
assignment, and includes being able to ask the professor for assistance in class, it's probably a
good idea for you to have your computer with you. Some sections of this class meet in the Keck Lab Annex,
which has a limited number of computers [I think there are three Windows boxes and one Mac at this writing],
so having your own laptop is a plus. In addition, there are several
big screen monitors in
both labs, which you are free to use as extension screens if you wish. We have extra HDMI cables and
dongles [adapters] which you can use during class as well.
Another helpful tool is a testing framework, also known as a
While test code, or at least skeletons for test code, will be provided to you for some projects,
there is a very nice free test framework called
J-Unit that can help you a lot. It is available
for free download from this site, which also has complete
instructions for setup and use, and some sample code to walk you through making sure it works.
Although attendance is not mandatory, it is in your own best interest to attend every class. Much of the material will be discussed in class, so counting on the book for all information which appears on tests will not provide you with complete information. In addition, there will be coding done during class time, and in-class exercises in small groups which you will miss out on if you are not there.
Obviously, if you skip too many classes, you will likely fail; this is a simple and self-fulfilling prophecy.
The class participation rubric appears with the grading stuff in the tables below.
There will be no extra credit given in this course. If this policy changes during the semester, you will be notified and the details will be provided so that you understand things clearly.
Grades for the course are assigned according to the weighting factors shown in the tables below.
Final letter grades will be assigned based on the following scale:
|Percent||Letter||Rating and Achievement|
|91 - 100%||A / A-||Professional work; outstanding|
|81 - 90%||B+ / B / B-||Entry level work; above average, shows extra effort and interest|
|71 - 80%||C+ / C / C-||Satisfactory work; expected with reasonable effort|
|61 - 70%||D||Substandard work; minimal effort shown|
|60 or less||F||Thank you for playing; see you next semester|
|Class Participation Criteria||Value|
|Absent *without* prior notification/agreement of professor||0|
|Absent *with* prior consent/agreement of instructor||1|
|Demonstrates adequate preparation.|
Knows basic reading facts, but does not show evidence of trying to interpret or analyze them; demonstrates sporadic class involvement.
|Demonstrates excellent preparation to readings and other material.|
Offers analysis, synthesis, and evaluation; puts together pieces of the discussion to develop new approaches that take the class further.
New for Fall 2016: Minimum Grade Requirement for LMU Core Curriculum Courses
Effective Fall 2016:To satisfy a Core requirement [other than a flag requirement], a course must be completed with a grade of C- or better. To satisfy a flag requirement, a course must be completed with a grade of D or better.Baccalaureate Degree Requirements, 2016-17 University Bulletin.
Should a student receive a D in a Core Curriculum course, the student will earn the course units, but the Core Curriculum requirement [except for flags] will not be met.
Important to Note: This policy does not affect any grade received prior to Fall 2016. Those grades of D earned in Core Curriculum courses prior to Fall 2016 will remain on record as having met the Core Curriculum requirement. This policy only affects grades awarded in Fall 2016 and beyond.
Also of note…
An incomplete will be granted only when the student requesting the incomplete has completed at least 80% of the coursework, and has at least a B average in the course work completed. This is standard LMU policy.
Leave of Absence/Withdrawal: Please read the revised policy here:
All work is evaluated for both technical merit and quality of written and/or oral presentation.
Find yourself a good spelling and grammar checker, or a trusted human editor, if you are
having any difficulty with the rules of standard English language usage. Another excellent resource is the
Academic Resource Center, located on the
south side of Daum Hall. The center takes appointments, and also allows drop-in consultation sessions,
and they have a number of good benefits. Call  338-2847 to schedule an appointment. [For those that
don't know, Daum Hall is the building where the LMU Security and Parking office used to be. ARC is on the
FAIR WARNING!!! DANGER WILL ROBINSON!!! FAIR WARNING!!!
In this class, documentation which is not of professional quality is no longer acceptable. Spelling, grammar, and internal document consistency all count and will cost you big-time if not correct! I will not hesitate to knock off a full letter grade on an otherwise perfectly correct assignment if there are egregious and/or numerous spelling/grammar errors. In addition, coding style will play a large part in determining the grade on the code for the homework. It is the job of each student to properly structure, comment, and indent, to select proper names for variables, and to not "hard-code" values.
FAIR WARNING!!! DANGER WILL ROBINSON!!! FAIR WARNING!!!
Academic dishonesty will be treated as an extremely serious matter with severe consequences that can
range from receiving no credit for assignments/tests, failing the class, to expulsion. It is never
permissible to turn in any work that has not been authored by the individual student, such as work that
has been copied from another student or copied from a source [including the Internet] without properly
acknowledging the source. It is your responsibility to make sure that your work meets the standard
set forth in the
Academic Honesty Policy
Cheating on assignments, plagiarism, falsification of data, and other similar or related violations of LMU standards of honesty and integrity ARE NOT TOLERATED. Any student or students who commit such offences will receive a failing grade for that assignment, possibly a failing grade for the course, and conceivably further disciplinary action. It is acceptable to use code from textbooks, friends, coworkers, or other sources, as long as the source of the code is cited/acknowledged in all reports and source file headers.
This does not mean that collaboration is discouraged; in fact, discussion of assignment algorithms is encouraged. However, this does mean that exact duplicates of code modules which are turned in by more than one student as individual work, or uncited copying from the Internet or any other source, will not be allowed. Such a situation will be dealt with in the manner outlined above. In short, if you are responsible for your own work, do your own work.
Repeat: failure to follow this simple guideline will result in a failing grade on that assignment, likely failing grade in the course, and quite possibly further disciplinary action.
Students with special needs who require reasonable modifications, special assistance, or accommodations in this course should promptly direct their request to the Disability Support Services [DSS] Office. Any student who currently has a documented disability [ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Learning, Physical, or Psychiatric] needing academic accommodations should contact the DSS Office [Daum Hall 2nd floor, 310-338-4216] as early in the semester as possible. All discussions will remain confidential. Please visit http://www.lmu.edu/dss for additional information.
As an LMU Lion, by the Lion's code, you are pledged to join the discourse of the academy with honesty of voice and integrity of scholarship and to show respect for staff, professors, and other students.
The following LMU documents are available to reference:
Disruptive Behavior, and/or intentionally or recklessly interfering with normal University life, activities, processes or University-sponsored activities including, but not limited to: studying; teaching; research; classroom instruction; campus or residential life; University administration; judicial proceedings; or fire, police or emergency services.[see the student policies website]
Disruptive behavior which is persistent or significantly interferes with classroom activities may be subject to disciplinary action. A student may be referred to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs if their behavior constitutes a violation of the conduct code.[See Disruptive Behavior Brochure.]
For more information on this or any other conduct issues, please refer to the Student Codes and Policies page on the Student Affairs Division Home Page. The Lion's Code, Student Conduct Code, Honor Code and Process, and information on many other policies are available from that link.
Electronic Devices: Without being totalitarian about it, because I forget sometimes myself, I would prefer that you turn off your cell phone ringer during class. Cell phone ring tones and text message tones can become disruptive. I know this because my own ring tone is one of the worst offenders. If you have a laptop, I don't mind if you want to IM with your friends or surf the Internet during class time, but be aware that will not be accepted as a valid excuse if you are called on and don't know what we're talking about — this could be a contributing factor for a low class participation grade for that day, but it's really up to you to decide. Just please keep the volume off so that you don't disturb others.
To report an emergency or suspicious activity, contact the LMU Department of Public Safety by phone [x222 or 310-338-2893] or at the nearest emergency call box. In the event of an evacuation, follow the evacuation signage throughout the building to the designated safe refuge area where you will receive further instruction from Public Safety or a Building Captain. For more safety information and preparedness tips, visit http://www.lmu.edu/emergency.
I have office hours on Mondays and Wednesdays from noon to 4 PM, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:15 to 6:15 PM. That's 1200 to 1600 and 1615 to 1815 in 24-hour time format. Also, if my door is open, you are welcome to stop in without an appointment. I use an appointment system to make sure that if someone wants/needs one-on-one time, it is available.
You can set up such one-on-one appointments at my You Can Book Me site. Just visit the page and click on any available slot (which isn't lined out), Then enter your information in the window fields. We will both get a confirmation e-mail, which is my notification that you'll be coming in. Easy, huh!? NOTE: be sure to enter YOUR e-mail address in the place provided, NOT MY e-mail address. The tool notifies me automatically, but YOU won't get a notification unless you enter *YOUR* e-mail address. OK? OK…
I am also always available by e-mail at either of the following addresses:
I check email at both these addresses at least twice a day, usually three times a day. In addition I am frequently on line for G-mail IM sessions after 8:30, PM at the above address..
YOU SHOULD CHECK YOUR LION EMAIL ADDRESS OF RECORD. I will start by sending all
email blasts to everyone's
lion.lmu.edu email addresses. If you specifically provide
me with a preferred alternative email to use I will be happy to oblige. I create a distribution list
to which I send all general communications, so it is important for me to have an email address
which you will check on a regular basis.
If necessary, this syllabus, the course web site, and its contents are subject to revision; students are responsible for keeping up with any changes or modifications, which will be distributed either in class or using the normal [specified] communications channels previously described [usually via e-mail].