Clare Grasso

Course Information

Course: CMSC104 Problem Solving and Computer Programming

Section 1:
Days/Time: Monday & Wednesday, 4:00pm - 5:15pm
Classroom: ENG 122/122A


Problem Solving and Program Design in C, 6th Edition
Jeri Hanly and Elliot Koffman, Addison Wesley, 2009.
ISBN: 0321535421

The fourth edition (ISBN: 0321198034) and the fifth edition (ISBN: 0321409914) of this textbook are also acceptable.

Course Description

This course is designed to provide an introduction to problem solving and computer programming that does not require prior programming experience. Elementary problem solving skills and algorithm development will be introduced. Students will be taught the basic use of a programming environment and basic programming constructs (including loops, control statements, functions, and arrays). This course also teaches students the fundamentals of using the UNIX operating system, and introduces general computer science concepts. Note: This course does not fulfill any of the computer science major requirements. Students who have taken and received transfer credit for, or who are taking concurrently any computer programming course in a high-level programming language, will not receive credit for CMSC 104. The list of such computer programming courses includes, but is not limited to AP Computer Science, CMSC 201, CMSC 202, and sections of CMSC 291 that cover programming topics.

The following is a list of the topics that will be covered:


After completion of this course, students will:


Your final grade will be computed from the following components:

    Homework 40%
    Quizzes 40%
    Classwork 10%
    Final Exam 10%
    Total = 100%

The initial schedule has 10 homework assignments listed. So each homework assignment would be worth approximately 4% of your grade. Similarly, 10 quizzes are planned, so each quiz would normally be worth 4% of your final grade. However, if changes are made to the schedule (e.g., due to snow days), homework assignments would still account for 40% of your grade and quizzes 40%. (Each homework or quiz would be worth more.)

Final Grades

Your final letter grades will be based on the standard formula:

0 ≤ F < 60,   60 ≤ D < 70,   70 ≤ C < 80,   80 ≤ B < 90,   90 ≤ A ≤ 100

Depending upon the distribution of grades in the class, there may be adjustments in the students' favor, but under no circumstances will the letter grades be lower than in the standard formula. Grades will not be "curved" in the sense that the percentages of A's, B's and C's are not fixed. As a guideline, a student receiving an "A" should be able to produce correct programs for the homework assignments and quizzes with facility.

Grades are given for work done during the semester; incomplete grades will only be given for medical illness or other such dire circumstances.

Taking Responsibility


You are expected to attend all classes. If you miss a class, you are responsible for getting the notes and any verbal information given during class from a fellow classmate. The slides provided online are not a substitute for attending class.


Please be on time! Class begins at the scheduled time. Being late is disruptive to the class. Most of the important announcements (such as project extensions!) are given at the beginning of class. On days that we have labs, instructions are given out at the beginning of class as well. Habitual lateness will not be tolerated.

Responsibility for Class Material

You are responsible for all material covered in lecture, as well as in the lecture notes. It is NEVER the responsibility of the instructor to tell you what you missed when you were not in class.


Use email in an appropriate and mature manner. See Making the Most of E-mail below.

Classroom Etiquette

As a student in this course, you should be courteous and respectful of your fellow classmates, as well as your Instructor. The following behavior is considered unacceptable:


Homework Submission and Grading

Homework is due at 11:59 pm the on the day it is due. The grader will check the time on your submitted homework files. Files submitted after midnight will receive a 0 for the assignment. There are no make-ups or late assignments accepted.

The critical programming skills cannot be learned simply by attending class. You should budget enough time to work on the programming assignments in homework.

Programs are graded not just on correctness (produces the correct output) — neatness counts. Here "neatness" means that your program is well formatted (see CMSC104 Coding Standards and CMSC104 Indentation Standards), the output from your program is nicely presented, and that the logic in your program is straightforward.

If you cannot complete a programming assignment, you should still submit your code. Partial credit will be given for reasonable effort. All homework is due before class. This is so we can discuss the homework in class. Late work will not be accepted.

Be aware that the Linux system may go down from time to time. You are given ample time to complete your projects, so such downtimes, no matter how long and when, are no excuse for your project being late. For those using the network via ResNet, ResNet being down is no excuse for a late project either. If ResNet goes down, get to a computer lab and complete your project.

You will be submitting your programs electronically. Details will be explained in class before you need to submit your first program.

Your Assignment Must Be Yours

All assignments must be completed by your own individual effort. You should never have a copy of someone else's assignment either on paper or electronically under any circumstance. You should not even look at another student's solution to an assignment. Also, you should never give a copy of your assignment, either on paper or electronically, to another student. This also means that you cannot "work" on the project together.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of violations of academic integrity:

We will be using special software to check for cheating. The software is quite sophisticated and has "surprised" some students in the past. We will, of course, not release the details of the internal workings of this cheat-checking software, but you are forewarned that there is no difficulty in comparing every pair of projects --- even for projects submitted to other sections of this course.

Your homework and programs will be checked for similarities with all other student projects. If your homework/project is found to be "substantially similar" to that of another student, both you and the other student will receive a grade of 0 for that homework/project AND a reduction of one full letter grade in your final course grade. Furthermore, all parties concerned will have their prior homework and programs checked for cheating. A second incident will result in a grade of 'F' for the semester.

Any act of dishonesty may be reported to the University's Academic Conduct Committee for further action. Egregious cases of cheating will be written up as a "more serious" infraction. In this case, you will not be allowed to drop the course. Also, a "more serious" infraction would appear as a permanent part of your student record and would be seen by potential employers when they ask for an official copy of your transcript.


Classwork Submission

In addition, unannounced classwork assignments will be given which will be submitted by the end of class. If you are not present in class to turn the assignment in, you will receive a 0. There are no make-ups for classwork.

Quizzes and Exams

The quizzes and exams will be closed-book and closed-notes. The final exam will be cumulative, and will be given during final exam week. The test dates for the quizzes are listed in the Lecture Schedule. In the case of a verifiable medical excuse or other such dire circumstance, arrangements must be made with your instructor for a makeup exam.

General Academic Dishonesty

By enrolling in this course, each student assumes the responsibilities of an active participant in UMBC's scholarly community in which everyone's academic work and behavior are held to the highest standards of honesty. Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and helping others to commit these acts are all forms of academic dishonesty, and they are wrong. Academic misconduct could result in disciplinary action that may include, but is not limited to, suspension or dismissal. To read the full Student Academic Conduct Policy, consult the UMBC Student Handbook, the Faculty Handbook, or the UMBC Policies section of the UMBC Directory.

Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to:

For a more complete description of academic dishonesty, refer to the UMBC Undergraduate Student Academic Conduct Policy.

Making the Most of E-mail

E-mail is a great way to communicate. It can save both of us a lot of time and also allows you to receive answers to questions outside of class.

Using E-mail For This Class

In order to facilitate communication, please observe the following rules.

I do my best to answer my email in a timely and thorough manner. But backups do occur, especially around project due dates. Do not hold up turning an assignment in because you are waiting for a reply to your email.

When I reply to your email, I will reply to the address from which it was sent. However, if I initiate an email, it will be sent to your UMBC account. So, be sure to check your UMBC account regularly and frequently.

For your benefit, hold on to all email concerning policies and grades.