Hello and welcome to the Computational Core program!
My name is Russ Feldhausen, and I’ll be one of the instructors for this program. My contact information is shown here, and is also listed on the syllabus
There are many other instructors and TAs for this program that you may interact with or see in the tutorial videos. They all have been instrumental in the development of this program. Specifically, I’d like to recognize the work of Nathan Bean, the developer of the CIS 400 course on which this course is based.
In this course we will primarily use a KSU email group (cc410-help or email@example.com ) to communicate. Email sent to this address is forwarded to all instructors and TAs. Our replies to you will also be shared amongst the instructors and TAs so we all have access to the assistance you have already received. We will respond to you within a business day, so be aware that a question emailed Friday night may not receive an answer before Monday. Please read and adhere to the guidance on Netiquette in the syllabus for all electronic communications.
In addition to email and Canvas, we’ll be using the online learning platform Codio for most of the programming tutorials and projects in this program. We’ll also discuss how to use Codio later in this module.
The Computational Core program consists of several courses, and each course contains a number of learning modules. In general, there are about 12-15 modules per course. Each module will usually consist of an interactive tutorial using Codio, followed by a quiz through Canvas, and lastly a programming project in Codio. In CC 410, there will also be several guided examples for you to follow and submit. The modules themselves are gated, which means that you much complete each item in the module before continuing. In addition, the modules enforce prerequisite requirements from other modules. For CC 410 you must complete them in order starting with module 0.
You are welcome to work on this course at any time during the week as your schedule allows, provided that you complete each module before the listed due date. There will be roughly one module due each week. Unlike other Computational Core courses, CC 410 does not include many auto-graded assignments. This is primarily due to the open-ended nature of the course. Instead, your code will be reviewed by an instructor or TA and you’ll receive feedback through Canvas and Codio. In some instances, you may be encouraged to redo parts of an assignment for additional credit. We will strive to provide feedback on an assignment within one week of it being submitted.
Looking ahead to the rest of this introductory module, you’ll see that there are a few more items to be completed before you can move on. In the next video, I’ll discuss a bit more information about navigating through this course on Canvas and using the Codio learning environment.
One thing I highly encourage each of you to do is read the syllabus for this course in its entirety, and let us know if you have any questions. My view is that the syllabus is a contract between me as your teacher and you as a student, defining how each of us should treat each other and what we should expect from each other. We have made a few changes to the standard syllabus template for this program, and those changes are clearly highlighted. Finally, the syllabus itself is subject to change as needed as we adapt this program to meet the needs of its students, and all changes will be clearly communicated to everyone before they take effect.
One very important part of the syllabus that every student should read is the late work policy. First off, each module has a due date, and you may work on that module at any time before it is due, provided you have met the prerequisites. As discussed before, you must do all the readings and assignments in a module, preferably in listed order, before moving on, so you cannot jump ahead. A module is considered completed when all items have been completed.
For the purposes of grading, we will use the date and time that the confirmation quiz was submitted at the end of each module to determine when the module was completed. This is due to the way that Codio handles grading, as it may resubmit previously graded assignments if an error in the module is corrected, making a previously completed assignment appear to be submitted late.
If a module is completed after the due date, a penalty of 10% of the total points of each assignment will be deducted for each day the assignment is late. Therefore, if an assignment is submitted 3 days late, it will be subject to a 30% penalty of the total number of points possible on that assignment. After 10 days, no points will be awarded for a late submission.
However, even if a module is late, it still must be completed before you can move on to a later module. So, it is very important to avoid getting behind in this course, as it can be very difficult to get back on track. If you ever find that you are struggling to keep up, please don’t be afraid to contact either the instructors or GTAs for assistance. We’d be happy to help you get caught back up quickly.
The grading in this course is very simple. First, 10% of your final grade will depend on the grades you receive from each of the tutorials and quizzes throughout the course. Next, 10% of your grade will come from the interactive examples that precede several projects. The next 40% of your grade will come from the numerous project milestones throughout the course, of which there will be approximately 10. There will also be a couple of “concept quizzes” throughout the semester, which are a bit longer than a normal quiz and will ask you to apply what you’ve learned to a novel situation. Those are worth 15% of your grade. Finally, the last 25% of your grade will come from the final project in the course, which will be discussed in a later video. In this program, the standard “90-80-70-60” grading scale will apply, though I reserve the right to curve grades up to a higher grade level at my discretion. Therefore, you will never be required to get higher than 90% for an A, but you may get an A if you score slightly below 90% if I choose to curve the grades.
This is intended to be a completely online, self-paced course. There are no mandatory scheduled course times. All of the content is available online, so you can work whenever and wherever you want. It could be a 3-hour block once a week, or a few minutes here and there between classes. It’s really up to you and your schedule. However, remember that each module may require 12 to 16 or more hours of work to complete, so make sure you have plenty of time available to devote to this course.
In addition, due to the flexible online format of this class, there won’t be any long lecture videos to watch. Instead, each module will consist of a guided tutorial and several short videos, each focused on a particular topic or task. Likewise, there won’t be any textbooks required, since all of the information will be presented in the interactive tutorials through Codio. Finally, since we are using Codio as our learning platform, you won’t have to deal with installing and using a clunky integrated development environment, or IDE, just to learn how to program. Codio helps make learning to program quick and painless by moving everything to the web.
What hasn’t changed, though, is the basic concept of a college course. You’ll still be expected to watch or read about 6-9 hours of content to complete each module. In addition to that, each project assignment may require another 6-9 hours of work to complete. If you plan on doing a module each week, that roughly equates to 6 hours of content and 6 hours of homework each week, which is the expected workload from a 3-4 credit hour college course.
From my experience, I can definitely share that the number one reason students struggle in this class is due to poor time management, not the complexity of the material. So, make sure you are planning to dedicate enough time to this course, and strive to start assignments as soon as you receive them so you have lots of time to get help if you get stuck.
For this course, the only supplies you’ll need as a student are access to a modern web browser and a broadband internet connection. No other special hardware or software is necessary! However, in this course you will also be able to do some development on your own computer using Visual Studio Code and Ubuntu. We’ll provide some short videos to help you get started if you choose to go that route, but it is not required. Due to the complex nature of this course, we do not recommend using phones, tablets, or Chromebooks if you choose to do development on your own systems.
Finally, as you are aware, this course is always subject to change. This is a relatively new program here at K-State, and we’re always working on new and interesting ideas to integrate into the courses. The best advice I have is to look upon this graphic with the words “Don’t Panic” written in large, friendly letters. If you find yourself falling behind, or not understanding seek our help via cc410-help.
So, to complete this module, there are a few other things that you’ll need to do. The next step is to watch the video on navigating Canvas and Codio, which will give you a good idea of how to most effectively work through the content in this course.
To get to that video, click the “Next” button at the bottom right of this page.