Computer Literacy (University of Massachusetts)

FALL 2016

COMPSCI 105 Image

News & Upcoming Events

Encrypted Book Sections (complete book will never be available this way)

Lecture Notes (Only a few will ever be here)

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Monday, September 5, 2016

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 120 (Problem Solving with the Internet), which meets at 11:15am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in Goessmann 20.

  • COMPSCI 119 (Introduction to Programming in Python), which meets at 1:25pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in ILC 240. (This class is quite full for Fall 2016, but I offer it every semester.)

In the Spring 2017 semester I will teach both 105 and 119, but COMPSCI 145 instead of 120.

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 Workbook, 23RD edition, 2016-2017 printing, (YELLOW cover).
  • Computer Science Companion, 3RD edition, 2016 printing, (GREEN cover).

DO NOT buy any older edition of the Workbook with any other color cover! The Workbook is in three volumes and has had updates to the material from last year, especially the lab assignments. All lab assignments are compatible with Office 2007-2013 for Windows and Office 2011 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 at the beginning of lectures. The schedule for when quizzes will happen is on the syllabus, but I reserve the right to throw a pop-quiz from time to time. 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 volume 3 of the Workbook, 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 LGRC A345. 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 1685 (side room) Tuesday-Thursday, 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 likely be scheduled for the evening of Thursday, October 20TH from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. THIS DATE MAY CHANGE. 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 on Monday, March 7TH at the same times in the evening. That make-up request form will be available on-line in late September or early October.

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. 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
Back to Dr. Bill's Classes Back to Dr. Bill's Home Page

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