CIT 590 Course Overview (Fall 2013)

Course Objectives

Ever wanted to get into computer programming but felt overwhelmed by the plethora of tutorials on every imaginable language that are available on the internet.

This course will give you the basic foundations so you can write reusable, well tested and object oriented code to accomplish a myriad of tasks like solving a PDE, working with a database or even interacting with third party APIs.

Once you have completed this course, you will be able to write such programs in both Python and Java.

This course is currently open only to graduate students with a non computer science undergraduate degree. If you are enrolled in the MCIT program, you should be taking CIT591.


Class Meeting Times

Mon/Weds 4:30-6:00pm, LRSM auditorium

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The one required textbook for this class is Exploring Python by Timothy Budd. For the Java part of the course I will be relying on the slides from Dr Dave Matuszek.

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Note that these are only guidelines, but final course grades will likely be based on the following:

  • Midterm exam (20%)
    • This will be scheduled for sometime at the halfway point and will focus on the Python part of the course.
  • Final exam (25%)
    • This is scheduled by the university registrar.
    • The exam will be comprehensive, but will focus on material covered after the midterm.
  • Homework assignments (55%)
    • The goal of this course is to get everyone to program. And program a lot!
    • Expect an assignment every week. The first assignment is an individual assigment, but after that I will be assigning pairs.


Credit for work will be recorded only as reported by the TA in the Gradebook on canvas. It is your responsibility to make sure that your work has been properly recorded in the Gradebook.

Make sure you notify the TA of any problems regarding missing records or incorrectly entered scores; the grade entries on the canvas will be considered permanent one week subsequent to their posting.

Our TAs will be responsible for adjudicating problems related to grading; the instructor will only be involved as a possible court of last appeal in case there is some truly difficult decision to make (i.e., in most cases, I will not be willing to second guess the TAs' decisions). To submit a request to the TA for a regrade of an assignment, email the TA stating the nature of the problem and the remedy you desire. You must submit this adjustment request within one week of the return of the material in question. The TAs will not consider any requests for grade adjustments that are submitted later than this one week grace period.

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Academic Integrity

All work submitted for this class is expected to be your own, unless otherwise noted in the assignment instructions. If you are caught submitting work that is completely copied from some other source, or that has been prepared by somebody other than you, you will face severe discipline by the university.

Homework assignments are to be completed individually unless explicitly stated. You may talk to fellow classmates regarding the assignment and share ideas on canvas, but keep in mind what is appropriate and inappropriate about your collaboration:


  • Person A doesn't understand what exactly the problem is asking, e.g. writing actual C code vs. pseudocode. He discusses this with Person B to arrive at one or the other.
  • Person A does not understand a particular concept. Person B explains the concept using an example, other than one asked on the homework.


  • A attempts half the problem, and B attempts the other half. A and B copy the solutions to half the assignment that the other person wrote.
  • Together, A and B work out each homework problem on chalk/white board; then they separately copy down their work and turn it in.
  • Person A completed a programming assignment and just before turning it in, he deleted his program - oh no!!!. In desperation, he asks Person B if he can turn in a copy of her program.
  • Person A happens to be in the lab working on the assignment and notices that Person B is working on the same assignment. Person A is having trouble compiling his program, and asks Person B to fix the problem for him. Sounds safe, right? It's not.

Note: When in doubt always ask the instructor or TA first, to avoid any potential collabration that can lead to academic dishonesty.

You can further read Penn's Code of Academic Integrity page on this subject matter, as well as the SEAS Graduate Student guidelines on the code of ethics.

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Homework turn-in procedure

You will turn-in all homework assignments using canvas. Follow the steps below.

  1. Log into canvas
  2. Open your course (CIT 590).
  3. In the main menu on the left-hand side, click "Assignments".
  4. Click on the assignment for which you want to submit your homework.
  5. Upload the program

You may submit multiple times, but only the last submission will be graded.

Submissions after the deadline are subject to a 10% per day penalty, up to seven days, after which the submission will not be accepted.

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