SCMP 138 - Introduction to Computer Science

James Skon, Hayes 310, 740-427-5369
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Spring 2020
Location and Time:
  • Hayes 311
  • 9:40-11:00am Tuesday and Thursday
  • Lab: 7:00-10:00pm Monday
Office hours:
  • Monday 1:00-3:00
  • Tuesday 1:00-2:30
  • Thursday 1:00-2:30
  • Emails will be answered as quickly as possible, but may not be answered evenings or weekends.
  • Joshua Katz,
  • Sunday 8:00-9:00pm
  • Thursday 7:00-8:30pm
  • Hayes 311
This course is an introduction to the intellectual scope of computer science and to the art or computer programming. This entry-level course is for students of all majors, including those with and without previous programming experience. The Python programming language is learned to teach programming concepts. The course covers topics in abstraction, algorithm and program design, basic data structures, security, networking, privacy, and history. Web technologies including HTML, CSS and Javascript are examined. Offered every semester.

Course Overview

  • An introduction to computer science in general
  • An introduction to programming with Python
  • Two daily classes Tuesday/Thursday at 9:40-11:00 am
  • Evening lab session Mondays 7:00-10:00 pm (required)
  • POGIL group activities during most classes
  • Regular individual lab assignments
  • Computer history essays weekly

Course Objectives:

  • Provide an understanding of the role computation can play in solving problems.
  • Give students an overall perspective on the breadth of computer science as a discipline
  • Become proficient in the Python programming language
  • Help students feel confident of their ability to write small programs that allow them to accomplish useful goals.
  • Position students so that they can compete for research projects and excel in subjects with programming components.


  • How To Think Like A Computer Scientist: Interactive edition (HTT): link (Free online text). You need to register for a free account, and join the class.
  • Think Python 3 (TP) - free download: link (Free PDF)


This course uses a variety of learning strategies in order to both enrich and enhance learning for every student of every background, as well as to keep the course interesting. Methods include:

  1. Group (collaborative) activities:
    • POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning). Discussed below, this is a team oriented, discovery based approach to learning with small groups of students. Teams report back to the whole classroom and share their discoveries.
    • In class small group programming. This is to allow learners to explore and solve a problem as a small group, such that each student engages with the material and each other, experimenting, teaching, and learning together.
  2. Individual activities:
    • Laboratory assignments. These programming assignments give each learner the opportunity to develop skill, experience, and confidence as programmers as individuals.
    • Programming problem solving. These small guided exercises, based on the online programming platform, provide small problems for the learners to gain experience programming with, and are automatically checked by the environment to give immediate feedback to the learner.
    • Homework Assignments. These activities, based on readings, give each student familiarity with important course concepts outside of class.
    • History essays - these small writing assignments, about one a week, give each learning the change to explore computer science in its larger historical context. These are shared in class on they day they are due.
  3. Instructional Presentation and discussion. Occasionally the instructor with give a presentation related to the course topics. These will normally include discussion, and sometime be interleaved with in-class hands on programming activities.
  4. Exams. Given at midterm and as a final, these assess the students mastery of the concepts learning in class.

Evening Labs

Every Tuesday the course includes a 3 hours session. Computer programming can be challenging, and time consuming. Often students will spend many hours trying to achieve a small goal on their own, where help from another student, a lab assistant, or the instructor, can quickly help them past these problems. Thus the evening labs are provided, and required, to give students time to master the difficulties of programming with more efficiency and enjoyment. This time will be primarily for two types of activities. The first is for POGIL group activities. The extra time afforded by the evening hours gives learns time to explore the material, and try out the solutions while the professor and lab assistant is available. The second is for the individual labs. During the labs the time will include the presentation of the lab, and include time for the students to begin working on the assignments. There is not a one-to-one correspondence between the individual labs and the laboratory assignment.

Course Attendance

Given the methods of instruction, especially the group work and the hands on work, attendance is essential. Students are expected to attend all classes until they are ill or involved in official collegiate sporting activities. In the case of any absence students are expected to contact the instructor prior to the absence. In the case of such excuses absences the student will normally be assigned work to compensate for the misses class activities. Up to 3 unexcused absences will be allowed, with a 2% overall grade reduction for each. The instructor reserves to right to dis-enroll any student with more than three absences.

Python 3

In this course we will be learning the Python 3 programming. We will be using and online programming environment This allows you to program anywhere with any device (including smartphones and tablets!), while maintaining access to all your current and previous work.

You can also install Anaconda Python and an IDE (Intregrated Development Environment) call Spyder by following these instructions: PythonInstall


Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) is a pedagogy that is based on research on how people learn and has been shown to lead to better student outcomes in many contexts and in a variety of academic disciplines. Beyond facilitating students’ mastery of a discipline, it promotes vital educational outcomes such as communication skills and critical thinking. Its active international community of practitioners provides accessible educational development and support for anyone developing related courses.

We will be learning about POGIL early in the class, and using this method on a daily basis.

Each activity is a link to a Google Doc. You must be logged into your Kenyon account to access. One member of the team will open the link, and make a copy in the same directory with your team name (color). The team will then work together to document the process on that document.

Useful POGIL links

POGIL Roles:

On teams of less then four students some will have 2 roles

Group Assignments

POGIL Process Skills - skills you want to develop

POGIL Process Analyst Report - The Process Analyst completes this after every activity

POGIL Feedback - complete this after every activity

Online resourses

This course uses several online tools for learning and assessing student progress. All of these resources are free of cost but some require the creation of a login account. It is essential that everyone participaite in the associated activities as all are part of the learning process, and some are graded activities.

  • How To Think Like A Computer Scientist: Interactive edition - This is an online interactive book. You must register, and complete the exercises in the assigned readings. Use "KenyonIntroCS2020" as the course name. You will be assigned problems in this book. You should compete the work, and copy and paste ALL the final code into a single file, and turn it in on Moodle for credit.
  • IntroCSKenyon2020 - This is an environment for learning Python learning Environment that is based on Regular Python exercises will be assigned as graded homework from this environment. Follow the link and create an account. Select Kenyon College as your college. The you should see the class. You must sign up for the course, using your Kenyon Email address, here: course link. For your assignments here you need to merely complete the problems and submit them by the due date.
    Note on notifications: Everytime I assign a problem you will get a notification from (And there will beover 100) I can't stop the notifications, but you can. Just log into Then click on your username in the upper right, and select account. If you scroll down to the bottom, you can open up the "Email Settings" section, and un-select the checkbox for "Receive email notifications".


Due Date: All assignments are due as specified in the grading table below.

Missing Lab Assignments: Labs are an important part of this class; the effort spent on them is a crucial part of the learning process. Failure to submit labs is unacceptable: students earning 0s on two labs cannot receive a grade higher than a B- for the course; students earning three 0s on labs will receive an automatic F for the course.

Collaboration and Academic Honesty: In order to facilitate learning, students are encouraged to discuss assignments amongst themselves. Copying a solution is not, however, the same as “discussing.'' A good rule of thumb is the “cup of coffee'' rule. After discussing a problem, you should not take away any written record or notes of the discussion. Go have a cup of coffee or cocoa, and read the front page of the newspaper. If you can still re-create the problem solution afterward from memory, then you have learned something, and are not simply copying. (The assignments that are designated as "group work" are exempt from this, as they are intended to be done together.)

Academic Honesty and using code you did not write: Turing in code you did not write is cheating.

  • You should never receive code from other students, use code from the internet, or use instructor solutions from past semesters. Any code you submit must be written entirely by you. (See the "cup of coffee" rule under collaboration.)
  • Likewise, "facilitating academic dishonesty" is a violation of academic honesty. Thus sharing your code with other students is also forbidden.
  • The instructor has tools for checking the similarity of code, and will use them periodically to see if students code is too similar to be explained by coincidence.
  • If you suspect someone has used your code, you should report it.
Academic Honesty and use of By default all programs you create on are public. That means anyone who can guess your username can then look at your code. This is cheating, and is not allowed for any non-colaborative assignments. You should ALWAYS set your programs to "Private" so that no one else can see them. If you leave your code public, and someone finds it and uses it, it will be flagged as a possible infraction, and you may find yourself in the difficult situation of having to explain what happened to the AIB. So please keep your work private!

Computer History Assignments: Once a week you will turn in a brief essay on some computer history fact from the Computer History Museum ( Timeline) (or other computer history source). One or two people people will be chosen each week to oraly describe what they found in 2 minutes at the beginning of class. I will ask for volunteers, but will cycle through everyone before I repeat anyone. The idea is give to us all an opportunity to explore the history of computer science, and to find something that interests each of us. Start by going to the computer history timeline, and for each assignment explore the requested years until you find something interesting. Then write up a 200-300 word essay about what you found, what you found compelling, and why you think it is significant. Write the essay in Moodle, and include a link to the item you found so it can be displayed while you share in class. These are due midnight before the day they will be presented (and appear in the calendar below). Late submissions will not be accepted on these assignments.


Category % Collaboration
History Essays 10% No Due by class time on day assigned. Not accepted Late
POGIL Activities 15% Yes Small group activites done in class. Participation and team results. No credit if absent. Alternative assignment with medical note or sports participation. Due at the end of class or lab.
Individual Labs 30% No Due by midnight on day due. 5% penalty for for up to 12 hours late. One assignment may be up to 24 hours late with no penalty with instructor notification.
Homework Assignments 20% No Due by class on the day due. One assignment may be up to 24 hours late with no penalty with instructor notification. This includes questions in the interactive text ( How to think like a Computer Scientist: Interactive edition) and the assigned exercises in ALso includes questions from the other texts. Problems 10% No These are problems within the course. These are autograded by the system, and you have as many tried as you need. Due by midnight on day due.
Exams 15% No Midterm and Final
TOTAL 100%    


Date Topics Reading
(before class)
Notes/Activities/Code Samples Slides Assignment
Jan 13
Introduction to Computer Science and course
Introduction to POGIL
First Python Program
Intro to Python
Python Lab 1

Student Information Form
POGIL Role Wheel
POGIL Process Skills
POGIL Process Analyst Report
POGIL Activity 1
POGIL Feedback

POGIL Introduction Python - link
Day 1
Intro Python

Create Accounts:
How to think like a Computer Scientist

Jan 14 Programs, languages, simple programming
Introduction to algorithms
History Assignments
HTT 1 POGIL CS Activity on Algorithms
POGIL Process Analyst Report
POGIL Feedback
Algorithms Do all questions in HTT Ch 1
Student Information Form
Jan 16 Input and Veraibles  
POGIL Input and Variables
POGIL Process Analyst Report
POGIL Feedback
Jan 20 (Lab) HTT Chapter 2.1-2.7 - Variables, data types, names, keywords, statements and expressions, operators and operands
HTT Chapter 2.1-2.7
POGIL - Arithmetic Operations and Assignment Statements
Fun with candy bars
  HTT Ch 2.1-2.7
Jan 21 HTT Chapter 7.1-7.9 HTT Chapter 7.1-7.5 POGIL - Formatting Output
Format Cookbook

In Class Exercises (2.1-2.D)
Division and Formatting

HTT Ch 2.8-2.11

Jan 23 HTT Chapter 2.8-2.11 - Input, Order of operation, reassignment, updating variables HTT Chapter 2.8-2.11 POGIL - Boolean Expressions

Expressions, Conditionals and Loops
Jan 27 (Lab) HTT Chapter 7.1-7.9
While Loops
Lab 1 review
  POGIL - If then else
POGIL - While Loops
Hands On
Expressions, Conditionals and Loops,2.D
HTT 7.1-7.8

HTT 2.13 Exercises
Jan 28 Nested If then else. HTT Chapter 7.6-7.8 POGIL Nested If-else statements PrimeNumbers (3.1.-3.C)
Lab 1
Fun with candy bars
Jan 30 Functions
HTT Ch 4.1-4.6 Turtle Graphics
HTT Chapter 4.1-4.6
HTT Chapter 6
POGIL - Turtles
Turtle Racing
Turtle Documentation
Feb 3 (Lab)

HTT 5 - Python Modules

Nested If-Else

HTT Ch 5 POGIL Built-In Functions
POGIL Void Functions
Function List
Math Functions (3.D.-3.O)
HTT Ch 4 4.1-4.9
Feb 4 For-Loops HTT Ch 6 POGIL FOR Loops
Notes HTT Ch 4.11
HTT Ch 6.1-6.6
Feb 6
HTT Ch 8 - Iteration
HTT Ch 8 POGIL Nested Loops
POGIL Functions Returning Values
  HTT Chapter 5
HTT Ch 6.7-6.11
Feb 10 (Lab) Files HTT 11 Files Computing Loan Payoff
POGIL Reading FIles
Emily Dickinson Experiment HW 4.1-4.8
Lab 2 - Turtle Drawing
Feb 11 File, Animation,
Introduction to Computer Hardware,
Binary Numbers
  POGIL Writing Files
POGIL Number Systems 1

Base Converter

  HTT - 5.6
Repl 4.9-4.A

HTT Ch 6.13
Feb 13
Writing Files
HTT 11 Files Turtle Animation
POGIL Binary Numbers
Emily Dickinson Write
Feb 17 (lab) Number Systems   POGIL Number Systems 1
POGIL Binary Numbers
Moores Law
Gates Notes
HTT Ch 8.1-8.7
HTT Ch 7.10
Feb 18 Strings, Lists HTT 9.1-9.7 POGIL - Lists
List and String Activity

Lab 4 - Start
Lists and Tuples
HTT Ch 11.1-11.8
HTT Ch 8.8-8.11
Lab 3 -Turtle Animation
Feb 20 Hardware, Image representation
  POGIL CS - Hardware Abstraction 2
POGIL CS - Hardware Abstraction 3

Feb 24 (Lab) Python Lists and Strings HTT Ch 9 .9-9.14 Image Fun

POGIL - More Lists and Strings
Making Sentences Activity
Study Guide
Lists and Tuples 1960-1964

HTT 9.1-9.7
Repl 5.1-5.6
Emily Dickinson
Feb 25 Midterm Exam   Midterm Exam Intro Networking HTT 8.14 (questions 11-15 are optional)
Feb 27 The internet Watch: The Internet: Wires, Cables & Wifi
The Internet: IP Addresses & DNS
The Internet: Packets, Routing & Reliability

POGIL - Internet 1

Video: Warriors of the Net

HTT Ch 11.9
Mar 16 (Lab) List Functions   POGIL - Net Neutrality
2 Dimensional Lists
POGIL - Internet 3
Mac Address Activity
Networking IP and DNS
Lookup IP Address
List Activities 5.7-5.C
HTT 9.8-9.14

Mar 17 Internet 3, Lists HTT 10.1-10.10

POGIL Additional List Functions
Fractals Lab

Hangman Lab

  HTT 10.1-10.10
Mar 19 List and Strings HTT 10.11-10.20 POGIL Dictionary

Lab 4

HTT 9-15-9.19

Mar 23 (Lab) HTML HTT Ch 12 POGIL HTML 1, JSFiddle
HTML Tutorial
HTML Example 1
HTML Example 2
HTML Validator
CSS Validator
HTT 10.11-10.20
Lab 5 -systems with Turtles
Mar 24 Dictionary HTT Ch 12 POGIL HTML 2
Dictionary Activity
  HTT 9-22 Exercises
Mar 26 Exceptions HTT 13 POGIL Exceptions
Exception Exercise
Exception List
HTT 10.21-10.29
Web Page

Mar 30 (Lab) Recursion HTT Ch 15 Lab 7 - review
POGIL Recursion 1

1980-1984 6.1-6.A

Lab 6
HTT 10-30 Exercises

Mar 31 HTML 2
HTT 10.26-29 POGIL Recursion 2
Apr 2 Recursion   Maze Search, Recursion Customer HTT 12.1-12.4, 12.7 7.1-7.D
Apr 6 (Lab) Classes   POGIL Classes
Model 1 Code
Model 2 Code
Model 3 Code
Customer Activity
OOP Slides 1985-1989
HTT 13 all 8.1-8.7
Apr 8 HTT Ch 16 Objects and Classes HTT Ch 15 POGIL Tuples    
Apr 13 (Lab) HTT Ch 16 Objects and Classes HTT Ch 16 POGIL Digital Abstraction 4, Representing Instructions
POGIL Web Search A.1-A.8
Lab 7
Apr 14 Python Plotting   POGIL Plotting
  Lab 8 - Maze Search, Recursion

Apr 16 HTT CH 17 Objects and Classes
HTT Ch 17 Customer Class
POGIL Privacy in the Digital Age
OOP Slides  
Apr 20 (Lab) Python Plotting Python Plotting With Matplotlib (Guide) POGIL Plotting
Plotting Activity
PythonInstall Lab 9 - Tic Tac Toe
Apr 21 Censorship   POGIL - Digital Censorship Decentalized Internet
How Free is our freedom of the press?
Thanksgiving News

HTT 16 - Ex1-4
Apr 23 Python Plotting Sample plots in Matplotlib
Plotting Group Lab
List Comprehension
Apr 27 (Lab) Web Animation - Javascript, Canvas, HTML5 Javascript Tutorial Canvas Activity   Plotting Activity
Plotting Group Lab
Apr 28 Introduction to C++ CForPythonProgrammers.pdf C++Activity 1   2000-2004

Apr 30     C++ Activity 2   Lab 10 - BlackJack
May 6 Final Exam - 1:30 pm   Final Topics    

Non Discrimination Statement

Kenyon College does not discriminate in its educational programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, medical condition, veteran status, marital status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by institutional policy or state, local, or federal law. The requirement of non-discrimination in educational programs and activities extends to employment and admission.

All employees, including faculty, are considered Responsible Employees and must notify the College's Civil Rights & Title IX Coordinator with any relevant information.

For further information, please refer to the following Kenyon College policies:

Sexual Misconduct & Harassment: Title IX, VAWA, Title VII:

Discrimination & Discriminatory Harassment Policy (non sex or gender):

ADA & Section 504:


If you have any disability and therefore may have need for some type of accommodation in order to participate fully in this class, please feel free to discuss your concerns in private with Erin Salva, director of Student Accessibility and Support Services (SASS). (phone: (740) 427-5453).

Statement on Title XI

Kenyon College does not discriminate in its educational programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, medical condition, veteran status, marital status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by institutional policy or state, local, or federal law. The requirement of non-discrimination in educational programs and activities extends to employment and admission.

All employees, including faculty, are considered Responsible Employees and must notify the College's Civil Rights & Title IX Coordinator with any relevant information.

For further information, please refer to the following Kenyon College policies:

Sexual Misconduct & Harassment: Title IX, VAWA, Title VII:

Discrimination & Discriminatory Harassment Policy (non sex or gender):

ADA & Section 504:


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