Computer Science 1201 - Introduction to Digital Media Computation
Syllabus - Spring Semester, 2013

MWF 11:45pm-12:50pm (Science 2190)
4 credits

Final Exam: 8:30-10:30am, Monday, May 6, 2013 in Science 2190

Course Description

The catalog describes this course as follows: "Using images, sounds, and movies to introduce problem solving, data representation, data manipulation, and programming principles including recursion. Introduction to basic ideas in hardware, software, and computing."

Kristin Lamberty (aka: "kk")

Contact Guidelines:
I will be in my office with the door open during office hours. Please feel free to stop and see me during those times. If I can not be there during the scheduled hours, I will attempt to let the class know in some fashion. I tend to prefer email over telephone contact, though I will accept either. Please make certain that you sign your e-mails and that you make it clear what the e-mail is about. This will help me to help you. Especially helpful is including the course number (1201) in the subject.

Communication is important. If something is unclear, please ask. If there is a problem, please bring it to my attention. It is impossible to be responsive to your needs if you do not make it clear that help is needed. Remember, feedback helps make the class and my teaching better! I will show you respect by being responsible for facilitating your learning to the best of my abilities. I will do my best to be approachable and to be timely in my work. I will do my best to honestly and accurately answer your questions. I will admit when I don't know an answer, but I will try to either find the answer later or point you to a good resource.

It is important that the class learning environment feels SAFE to you. You should not be subjected to harassment based on gender, race, ethnicity, orientation or creed. If there are problems regarding the learning environment, please let me know what can be done to improve the situation. If I am the source of the problem, and you are not comfortable with bringing it to my attention, contact another CSci faculty member or the Division Chair for help.

Science Bldg 2525
589 6375
Office Hours:
Tuesday 10-11am in Science 2525 (my office), Tuesday 2-3pm in Science 2610 (csci lab), Friday 9-10:30am (in my office, but only if you sign up for it on my google calendar time slots in advance by Thursday night - otherwise, there is no promise I will be in my office, but appointments can still be possible), also by appointment. I have a great deal of flexibility most Thursdays, so please let me know if you'd like to make an appointment. Almost everything you have for this class is due Fridays, so please ask questions as early as possible.

Introduction to Computing and Programming in Python: A Multimedia Approach (Third Edition) by Mark Guzdial and Barb Ericson
Using your course materials:
I like this book for its excellent examples and understandable language. There are many helpful hints provided in the text. Students tend to find the context of media motivating, and I hope you will too.
Jython Environment for Students - JES

You should download the software by following this link. This software will be installed in the computer laboratory in the science building, but if you wish to work in your own home/room, feel free to download this software. We will use this software in class, and I will post the work we do together on the Moodle. You can also find some software for scaling down your pictures so you can use them with JES here.

Web resources:
Please go to the course Moodle and bookmark it. As the semester progresses, you will find materials there that will supplement your reading and your learning (additional subject or lecture notes, links, review sheets). You will find assignment descriptions, a course schedule, this syllabus and other items that may be of use to you. You are required to check the Moodle at least one time between class meetings. Most of our communications outside of lecture and lab will happen via the Moodle.

Assignments (Problem Sets, Projects (collages, for example), etc.) 35%
Quizzes and Whaddayaknows 15%
Midterm Exams (2 equally weighted exams) 30%
Final Exam 20%
You should always focus on learning the material. I realize that there is a great deal of pressure to receive high marks/grades. However, if you focus on the grade, you will fail to focus on the very thing that can earn you the grade you want. Achieve the goal of becoming confident in your knowledge of the material. If you do this, you will find that you will earn a grade you will be pleased with.

A somewhat standard 90%(some kind of A), 80% (some kind of B), 70% (some kind ofC), 62% (either a D+ or D, D- does not exist) scale will be used. Results are NOT curved.

Students will:
  • be able to read, understand, modify, and assemble from pieces programs that achieve useful communication tasks: Image manipulation, sound synthesis and editing, text (e.g., HTML) creation and manipulation, and digital video effects.
    • I will always give you examples to use when I ask you to program
  • learn what computer science is about, especially data representations, algorithms, encodings, forms of programming.


All class policies are based on responsible and respectful behavior and actions. Flexibility within the framework of any class is always more possible as long as requests follow these principles.

You may appeal any grade or policy you feel is inappropriate. Provide an appeal in writing (on paper). Outline why you think the decision or policy is wrong. Set a meeting time to discuss the issue and so that you can advocate for your position. Decisions regarding your appeal will be made at that meeting. If you feel the process was unsatisfactory, you may use the grievance process provided by UMM (that is, of course, always an option, but the option I provide above is a bit more lightweight).

General policies
  • You may use two grace days however you would like throughout the term - this means you may turn in one assignment two "school days" late, or two assignments one "school day" late with no penalty (where a "school day" is a day that classes, though not necessarily this one, meet on campus - e.g. no weekends or holidays will count against you). I will try to grade your assignment quickly, but you might not get your grade with everyone else.

  • Late assignments not using grace days will be accepted until two weeks after the due date for 75% of the points as the new maximum number of points possible. Note: If the asignment has been graded and returned (or feedback posted on the Moodle), you will have to make an appointment and sit in my office while I grade the assignment. You will have to show me what you did and why. This will show me that you understand the work and it will prevent me from letting ungraded work pile up. This policy will enable me to give you prompt feedback on your work (which will help you learn more and be more productive in this course). So, if you turn it in late, you run the risk that you will have to show me every step of what you did to solve the problem, and you will be docked 25%.

  • Collaboration and Use of Resources - Assignments are individual work, unless otherwise stated. While it's perfectly OK (and is encouraged) to discuss the problem sets in general terms with others in the class, your solution must be your own work. Copying any part of another person's solution (even if you modify the code) is considered academic dishonesty and will be dealt with according to the university's policy. I think a super cute kitten dies every time a student cheats on coursework, but I'm not sure about that.

    It is OK to use code found in a textbook or online, but such use must be credited (i.e. you have to state the exact source of the code and clearly explain how this code was used). Failure to credit the source constitutes academic dishonesty. When you cheat, you steal my life energy and make me sad.

    Using code samples from the book or from lecture notes as a starting point of your code is perfectly reasonable. However, using large chunks of code "as is" (even with a proper credit) may significantly reduce your grade if your own contribution was small. If in doubt about what materials are appropriate to use and how, please ask the instructor.

  • Attendance is encouraged, but not mandatory. I reserve the right to refuse to repeat myself incessantly due to your absence. But, I will work with you if I am forewarned of an absence. In-class activities will occur in this class frequently.

  • The University of Minnesota is committed to providing all students equal access to learning opportunities. Disability Services is the campus office that works with students who have disabilities to provide and/or arrange reasonable accommodations. Students registered with Disability Services who have a letter requesting accommodations, are encouraged to contact the instructor early in the semester. Students who have, or think they may have, a disability (e.g. psychiatric, attentional, learning, vision, hearing, physical, or systemic), are invited to contact Disability Services for a confidential discussion at 320-589-6163 or Additional information is available at the DS web site at

  • are done outside of class and will be individual work, unless otherwise noted.
  • will be evenly spaced through the semester and will be made due at some point prior to the midterm exam that will cover the material found in that assignment.
  • are due at the BEGINNING of class on their due dates.
Quizzes and "Whadayaknows"
  • are individual work
  • are given often throughout the term as an opportunity for you to show me what you know
  • often contain questions that are similar to those found on the midterm or final exams
  • need to be taken at the scheduled times (quizzes cannot be made up unless prior arrangements have been made for an excused absence, whaddayaknows may be made up as quizzes between the date missed and the next class period). Some whaddayaknows may take place on the Moodle to allow for speedy feedback. If so, you will need to find some time to take the whaddayaknow outside of class by the deadline. I will let you in class on the date of the whaddayaknow if it will be taken online, in which case the whaddayaknow will be due by the next class period.
  • are individual work, closed book (unless otherwise stated in advance).
  • must be taken at the given exam times unless you have contacted me at least 24 hours prior to the event with a reasonable excuse and have worked out an alternative with me.
  • The final exam will occur as scheduled. A review sheet will be available. Focus of this exams will be on concepts and algorithms, though some Python coding may also appear on these as a medium for illustrating the ability to trace through working code, find errors in flawed code, or write some shorter "snippets" of code.

Official Grading policy:

For undergraduate courses, one credit is defined as equivalent to an average of three hours of learning effort per week (over a full semester) necessary for an average student to achieve an average grade in the course. For example, a student taking a three credit course that meets for three hours a week should expect to spend an additional six hours a week on coursework outside the classroom.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is essential to a positive teaching and learning environment. All students enrolled in University courses are expected to complete coursework responsibilities with fairness and honesty. Failure to do so by seeking unfair advantage over others or misrepresenting someone else's work as your own, can result in disciplinary action. The University Student Conduct Code defines scholastic dishonesty as follows:

"Scholastic Dishonesty: Scholastic dishonesty means plagiarizing; cheating on assignments or examinations; engaging in unauthorized collaboration on academic work; taking, acquiring, or using test materials without faculty permission; submitting false or incomplete records of academic achievement; acting alone or in cooperation with another to falsify records or to obtain dishonestly grades, honors, awards, or professional endorsement; altering forging , or misusing a University academic record; or fabricating or falsifying data, research procedures, or data analysis."

Within this course, a student responsible for scholastic dishonesty can be assigned a penalty up to and including an "F" or "N" for the entire course. If you have any questions regarding the expectations for a specific assignment or exam, ask.

This page: last updated 1-9-2013

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.