This document and others linked within it should be your PRIMARY source for understanding the expectations of this course. Be sure to read it carefully. You must contact the instructor for clarification if you receive information from any another source that is in contradiction to what is provided below.
Grade breakdown by evaluation component
- Homeworks/Quizzes: 10%
- Lab assignments: 30%
- Midterm Exams (2): 30%
- Final Examination : 30%
Are any scores dropped?
I will drop the lowest three homeworks. I will not drop any labs, exams, etc.
Grade assignment policy
Curving: The grade scale above represents the minimum letter grade you will be assigned—at the instructor's discretion, the grading scale may be altered in the students' favor if this will better reflect the students' mastery of the material. Thus, if there is a "curve", it will be applied at the end, not to individual assignments.
A+ grades: These may be awarded to the very best performing students in the class—but the cutoff for A+ grades will be determined at the end of the course at the discretion of the instructor (there is no pre-determined cutoff---an average of 97 or more doesn't guarantee you an A+ grade.)
Everything is cumulative—that's just how CS is.
Finally—note that just as in a math class, everything we do builds on all the work that came before. So, everything is cumulative—so, you can't afford to miss any classes unless absolutely necessary. Miss two lectures in a 10-week two-lecture per week course, and you've already skipped exactly 10% of the course—it wouldn't be surprising if your performance (i.e. final grade) in the course dipped by a similar amount.
For office hours please check the course Google Calendar.
For hw, lab and exam schedule, please check the assignment calendar.
Textbook: Problem Solving with C++, Walter Savitch, Edition 9. Available for purchase at the UCSB book store
iClickers: You will need to own an iClicker and register it on Gauchospace. Be sure to register your clicker by the end of the first week.
You can find examples of previous quarter’s exams at the following links.
But BEWARE—offerings of CS16 may vary in terms of their exact pace, and placement of exams. So these exams are a guide to the style of my exams, but NOT necessarily for specific content.
In addition, these exams from prior to F14 used the C programming language rather than C++, and went at a much slower pace, so treat them with even more skepticism.
This course is the first in a three course sequence, CS16-24-32 that provides a foundation in data structures and algorithms for deeper study of Computer Science.
This is NOT an introductory programming course. This is an INTERMEDIATE programming course.
What you need BEFORE you take this course
This course will present C++ from the beginning; no prior knowledge of C++ is assumed. However, it IS assumed that you already have successfully completed CMPSC 8, or have an equivalent background in programming. You should be comfortable with all of the following:
What you SHOULD HAVE LEARNED BY THE END of this course to be ready for CS24
So, what is it that you need to know by the end of this course? Here's the list of just a few of the things you'll need to know to be ready for CS24 (the next programming course). You'll have the opportunity to learn all of these things (though not necessarily in this order).
- A few of the basic data types of C++, including at least, int, double, char, bool, string
- The basic control structures of C++ (if/else, while, for etc.)
- Defining functions in C++, and passing parameters to functions in three different ways (by value, by pointer, and by reference)
- Scope and lifetime of variables in C++
- The use of “const” with parameters to functions
- Using arrays in C++, and C-strings (null-terminated character arrays)
- How arrays are passed to functions, and the relationship between arrays and pointers
- Defining and working with structs in C++
- Using structs to create singly linked lists where the space for the list nodes is allocated on the heap
- The difference between space allocated on the stack (e.g. local variables) and space allocated on the heap (with the new and delete operators)
- Converting from binary to decimal, octal, and hex, and back again—and how this relates to how C++ programs store various kinds of data in memory.
- The basic principles of recursion, and some idea of when a recursive solution is appropriate.
The swimming/guitar/painting analogy
You cannot learn to swim, play guitar, or paint from a textbook or a lecture. You can only:
- learn to swim by spending many hours in the pool,
- learn to play guitar by spending many hours playing the instrument
- learn to paint by spending many hours putting brush to canvas.
The same is true of programming. Programming is not a series of facts to be memorized—you cannot "cram" for a computer science exam. You must practice, practice, practice.
There are five components to this course, each of which has a special job to do:
- (1) Reading—Between each class, you'll have reading to do in the textbook. There is too much information you need to learn in this course for you to get all of it in lecture, so the readings are essential. The reading assignments for the next class can be found in the lecture notes for that class.
- (2) Homeworks
The reading and homeworks are practice for the exams. Homeworks will be posted on the course website each week (downloadable as a pdf). You must submitted your homwork answers electronically as a pdf file to gradescope. The preferred format is that you download the source pdf of the homework, write or type your answers. You may also print the original homework, write your answers using a dark pencil or pen, then scan your work. You may also simply use any text editor to write the answers to each question, convert the file to pdf and upload to gradescope.
- (3) Programming Assignments (Labs)—Programming assignments (also called labs) are given once a week, and are typically assigned every Friday. You may work on them during closed labs and plan to finish the assignment on your own time outside of lab. You must however, read the assignment and attempt the parts that you do with little assistant as soon as the assignment is released. The assumption is that you at the very least read the assignment before your lab section. You are encouraged to use pair programming in most of the labs but please read the collaboration policy for each lab. Some labs have to be completed individually.
- (4) Lectures—Learning is something that you do as a student, not something that is "done to you" by a teacher. Therefore most of the learning you will do in this course takes place when you are actively involved in doing something challenging (i.e., during the homework assignments and labs). Most of the information you will need to do those assignments will come from the reading.
Therefore, you may ask, what is the purpose of the lectures?
The purpose of the lectures in this course is to guide you through the readings, homeworks, and labs:
- to provide an overview of how everything fits together
- to provide hands-on demonstrations of things you'll do on your own later
- to provide additional information that is not in the textbook
- to provide additional explanations about things in the text that might not be clear
- to provide an opportunity to ask questions, and hear answers to questions asked by others.
- (5) Exams—There are three exams in this course— two midterms and a final. No makeups will be given for the final exam. Please make sure that you have no conflicts with the final if you are taking this course.