NVCC CSC 110-006A, Introduction to Computing, Fall 2012

Wednesdays, 7:30PM-10:10PM
Alexandria campus, AA-0156
Joel Lepak
Course website

Important dates

Course description

This course is an introduction to all aspects of computing. We'll focus on how to solve problems using common computer applications and a programming language (Processing). The idea is that by the end of the course, you'll know enough to at least recognize the kind of problems that a computer can help with, and pick off the low-hanging fruit. Along the way, maybe you'll gain a greater understanding of the creative possibilities in computing, the role of computers in society, and other liberal arts crap.

Prerequisites are Readiness for ENG 111 & MTH 163. We'll assume you've used a computer before. At the very least, you should know how to type and use a mouse. If you successfully registered for this class, you've probably got that covered.

See course content summary.


We'll often follow along with CSC 110 course materials prepared by Professors Fitton and Butu.

We'll make use of excerpts from books available from Safari Books Online. Most of these will be selected from the existing CSC 110 course materials, but there will be a few others.

For the programming portion of the course, we'll make use of several excellent (and free) online resources. Our main reference is still TBD, but we might make use of:


Your grade will be based on the following components:

The grading scale is:

There is no curve or extra credit.


Homework will be assigned roughly weekly, and due roughly a week later.

You are expected to write all your own answers, code, and comments for homeworks. Working together is permitted (and encouraged), but each person must write (and explain) the final solution alone. You will be expected to be able to explain all details of every homework assignment you complete.

Use of books and websites for help with homework solutions is permitted, but you must cite any sources you use. Lack of citation will be treated as cheating.

Late homework is not accepted. Your grade will be penalized if you submit homework incorrectly.


I'll announce quizzes at least 1 week in advance. You may bring one 8.5 by 11 inch sheet of paper filled with whatever notes/formulas/prayers/etc. you want to the quizzes. Make-up quizzes are permitted only with a good excuse (travel plans are not accepted as an excuse), and the make-up quiz may differ from the original. Any valid excuse I can think of right now would require a doctor's note.


Any ethics violation will be reported to the Dean, and result in an F for the course. Ethics violations include:

Please consult with me before using outside sources for any work. You're expected to write up all your homework/projects on your own, so sources should be used only as a reference. Also, many examples you'll find online are in bad style or just plain wrong.

Et cetera

The syllabus is subject to change. I'll give notice and a good reason if any changes are necessary.

No audits will be permitted.

If you are seeking accommodations based on a disability, you must provide a disability data sheet, which can be obtained from the counselor for special needs, who is located in Room 185 of the Bisdorf Building, telephone number (703) 845-6301.


The specific topics are only a rough guess. I'll try to update with quiz dates as soon as they're set, but coming to class is the only way to guarantee you'll know when quizzes are scheduled.

Week Date Topics
1 Aug 25 Introduction. Basic computer concepts.
2 Aug 29 Binary logic, basic computer usage.
3 Sep 5 Week 2 topics continued.
4 Sep 12 HTML, web pages.
5 Sep 19 Internet applications, networking concepts.
6 Sep 26 Command line usage.
7 Oct 3 Spreadsheet applications.
8 Oct 10 Spreadsheet applications.
9 Oct 17 Database concepts.
10 Oct 24 Database applications.
11 Oct 31 Introduction to programming using Processing.
12 Nov 7 Animation and control flow.
13 Nov 14 Arrays and objects.
14 Nov 21 Thanksgiving break: no class.
15 Nov 28 Program design.
16 Dec 5 Project work.
17 Dec 12 Class wrap-up. Will involve a final presentation and/or final quiz.