Computer Literacy (University of Massachusetts)


COMPSCI 105 Image

News & Upcoming Events

Encrypted Old Workbook Text

Encrypted Lab Assignments (Only a few will ever be here)

Lecture Notes (Only a few will ever be here)

Request My Grades


Here are a couple of documents worked up by one of our TAs on how to download Word 365 from UMass, as well as the differences between the instructions for lab 5 in the Workbook and what you have to do instead with the new version. If there are any mistakes in the instructions, please let me know.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Due to the snowstorm expected tomorrow, with predictions of anywhere between 6 and 18 inches of snow depending on who you listen to (likely heaviest in the evening), I have decided to POSTPONE the midterm exam for COMPSCI 105 until after Spring Break.

The midterm is now scheduled for 7:00pm-9:00pm on Wednesday, March 21, in the same rooms as before (Morrill 2 131 and Morrill 1 N375). Correspondingly, the make-up exam will be Thursday, March 22, also 7:00pm-9:00pm, in LGRC A301.

There will be ***NO*** 105 exams this week.

If you have accommodations through Disabilities Services to take the exam with them, please cancel for this week (I've already alerted them).

However, there is always bad news along with the good. Because of the shift in schedules, today's lecture and Thursday's lecture on spreadsheets WILL be on the exam. Some time ago, when UMass had a slightly different calendar, we held the midterm after the start of the spreadsheet module, so this does have precedent. The oldest midterms on the class site contain spreadsheet questions; you can now use any of those old exams as reference material and study guides.

Tuesday's lecture after Spring Break will be the review for the exam.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

It's official: the midterm will be held the evening of Wednesday, March 7, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. Students with last names beginning with A-K should go to Morrill 2 131; students with last names beginning with L-Z should go to Morrill 1 N375.

The make-up exam for people with legitimate excuses will be held in the evening of Thursday, March 8, also from 7:00pm to 9:00pm, in LGRC A301 (across the hall from my office). The on-line form for requesting a make-up exam is available.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Happy New Year! Welcome to all new incoming students, and welcome back to everybody else! This is the main Web page for COMPSCI 105 (Computer Literacy). Check back here throughout the semester for news and updates pertinent to the class. Here are a few tidbits to get you started.


The 11:30am class in Hasbrouck 20 is still open. Anyone looking for another computer class this semester may wish to consider:

  • COMPSCI 145 (Representing, Storing, and Retrieving Information), which meets at 11:15am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in ILC N101.

In the Fall semesters I teach COMPSCI 105, COMPSCI 119, and COMPSCI 120. In the Spring semesters I teach COMPSCI 105, COMPSCI 119, and COMPSCI 145.

COMPSCI 105, COMPSCI 119, COMPSCI 120, and COMPSCI 145 all fulfill requirements for the IT (Information Technology) minor. If you are interested in the minor, please see me for more information.


The books, available from Amazon, are:

  • Computer Literacy Laboratory Manual, 2017-2018 printing, (RED cover).
  • Computer Science Companion, 3RD edition, revised 2017, (GREEN cover).
    NOTE: the unrevised 3RD edition from 2016 is allowed but not preferred

The Computer Literacy Laboratory Manual is based on the earlier Computer Literacy Workbook. That older book was 1200 pages in three volumes, and contained a lot of background material (some of which is now obsolete). As a cost-cutting measure, ⅔ of that book was excised and made available to students this year as an encrypted .PDF (see top of this Web page), and the remaining ⅓ was converted into the Computer Literacy Laboratory Manual, which contains the homework and lab assignments for the course. DO NOT buy any old edition of the Workbook! All lab assignments are compatible with Office 2007-2016 for Windows and Office 2013 for the Mac, with two exceptions that must be performed on Windows (Neither Office for Mac 2008 nor Office for Windows 2010 Starter Edition will work for this course).

If you take any of my other classes, I strongly recommend that you hang onto these books. There is some overlap, and I think you will find it helpful in these other classes. In particular, the Computer Science Companion is required for my other classes.

Lecture #1

For any student who cannot attend the first class, here is a direct link to a .PDF file of the Syllabus (see also the link to the Syllabus at the bottom of this page), and here is a link to a .PDF file of the first lecture. It is an expanded outline version of the first lecture, with enhancements not covered in class but important nonetheless, in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format. If you do not have Acrobat Reader installed on your computer, go here.


Day-to-day work falls into three categories: quizzes, homeworks, and labs:

Quizzes are held in-class roughly every one-two weeks. You are allowed to bring your books, notes, computer, and calculator to the quizzes (but no electronics are allowed at the midterm and final exams). You keep all the points you earn from all the quizzes you take, but I compute the quiz score as if there were two fewer quizzes. This way you can miss up to two quizzes without penalty, and it is possible to get extra credit if you take all quizzes. Quizzes may not be made up, but the "miss two" rule is there to absorb circumstances where you must be away from campus (illness, travel, etc.).

Homeworks are performed on-line from any machine connected to the Web, at your convenience (subject to due dates, of course). Paper copies of most homeworks are found in volume 3 of the Workbook, so you can get an idea of what is coming, but all homeworks are submitted electronically. Homeworks may be submitted as many times as you wish - if you do not like your score on a particular homework, back up and try again.

Lab assignments are in the Laboratory Manual, and are to be performed on your own equipment at your own speed, subject to the due dates. Lab reports are turned in on paper, either to me in class or to the TAs in LGRT 222. If you do not have the proper hardware or software to do a particular assignment, you may use any Windows PC lab on campus run by OIT. All necessary software is already installed. Our TAs will be in DuBois Library ???? Tuesday-Wednesday, 5:45pm-7:15pm, to help with lab assignments. (Do NOT use lab times to ask for help with homeworks - use TA office hours for that.)

Midterm Exam

The midterm exam will be scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, March 7TH from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. The rooms will be announced as the date gets closer. For people with a legitimate reason for missing the regular exam time, there will be a form to fill out to request taking the make-up exam at a later date at the same times in the evening. That make-up request form will be available on-line in late February or early March.

Academic Honesty

Do your own work, including homework and lab work. You may discuss homework and lab assignments with other students, but you may not share files or disks. Term papers must not be plagiarized, and will be scanned using on-line software to detect duplication. Upon discovery of any infraction, I will contact you for a conference, as required in the guidelines set out by the University of Massachusetts Academic Honesty Policy, and we will resolve the issue according to those guidelines.

Pictures of Important Stuff

Previous Semester's Scores

To see how previous classes fared, here are histograms from previous semesters:

Previous Semester's Exams

For reference, here are some links to previous semesters' midterms and final exams, all in Adobe Acrobat (.PDF format):

Social Networking

While I have a Facebook account, I reserve its use strictly to personal friends (high-school comrades, hiking buddies, etc.). Please DO NOT "friend" me on Facebook or Linked-In; all such requests will be ignored.

You may, however, follow me on Twitter if you wish, but I haven't posted in a couple of years. My posts, although infrequent, will be primarily math and science based.

On-Line Quizzes, Forms, and Homeworks Data for lab assignments
Dr. Bill's Office Hours Teaching Assistants Office Hours
Description of CMPSCI 105 (1.2 Meg) Some fun (free) PC software I wrote
Syllabus and Handbook General Education Statement
Send Email to Dr. Bill Running Windows Software on a Mac
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