Informatics 101

Introduction to Informatics

Informatics 101

Informatics 101 is an introductory class that surveys many of the big ideas in computing. Students in this class learn about bits and bytes, converting binary to decimal (and back), writing and testing HTML for a rudimentary web page, and they learn about databases, data types, and some of the big problems associated with making sense from big data sets. Students in this course also receive an introduction to SQL, and they experiment with making a few search queries of their own. We will talk a bit about different representations and visualizations of data before we move on to linear vs binary searching, sorting algorithms and thinking about efficiency. Finally students develop a better understanding of what an algorithm is from a programming standpoint, practice writing a program using pseudocode and flowcharts, and then explore programming using a browser-based block language called SNAP!.



INFO 101 uses homework to provide practice of concepts introduced in class. For example, one homework assignment requires students to create an HTML file and submit it via Moodle for grading. Another assignment asks students to test different search engines using the same search terms. Some quick assignments can happen during class. Other kinds of homework may involve completing assigned readings before coming to class and posting to a class discussion forum.


After the SNAP! project, quizzes and exams are the other major grade components in the course. All exams include extra credit questions, and they are often based directly on quick quizzes taken periodically during class. All quizes are open note (of the non-digital kind). Class participation and attendance are other graded components of the course. Students who attend class regularly typically find INFO 101 to be very reasonable in terms of workload and effort.