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CS123 Fall 2008 Syllabus

Course Overview

This course is the first in a sequence introducing technical computation and programming through use of Maple. Topics to be covered include: symbolic and numeric computation as used in the standard applied mathematics used in engineering; scripting and procedure writing; testing and software engineering for ease of reuse.

Class Calendar

Week Dates Events
1 Sep 22 - 26  
2 Sep 29 - Oct 3  
3 Oct 6 - Oct 10  
4 Oct 13 - Oct 17  
5 Oct 20 - Oct 24  
6 Oct 27 - Oct 31  
7 Nov 3 - Nov 7   
8 Nov 10- Nov 14  
9 Nov 17- Nov 21  
10 Nov 24- Nov 28  
11 Dec 1 - Dec 5  
12 Dec 8 - Dec 12  

Office Hours

MWF 11-11:50a in University Crossings 109

Class Meetings

The class meetings consist of a bi-weekly lab, and a lab proficiency exam at the end of the term. Each lab period will be 1 hour 50 minutes. Each lab section meets consistently in Korman 110.

Class Section Day Time Instructor Classroom
CS123 761 Monday 6:00pm - 7:50pm Krzysztof Nowak Korman 110

If you are unable to attend your regularly scheduled meeting, you should contact your instructor beforehand or as soon after as humanly possible.


Name Office Email Address Office Hours Office Phone

Bruce Char (course coordinator)

UC100A T, W 4-5p 215-895-2669
Krzysztof Nowak UC109 MWF 11-11:50a  


Name Office Email Address Office Hours Office Phone
Chirag Patel UC147 M 3-5p, W 11-1p  

Office Hours

Office hours will take place in either UC 147 or UC109 during even-numbered weeks, starting with the second week of class. Thus, we will hold office hours during Weeks 2,4,6,8,10, and 11. There will be Teaching Assistants to help you with CS 123 work during these weeks; other special office hours will be held if there is sufficient demand in other weeks.


Your course grade depends on 4 labs, 4 quizzes, and a lab proficiency exam given in week 10 of the term. They are weighted as follows

Each quiz is equally weighted. Some quizzes may have more questions than others.

Unexcused missed quizzes, labs, or exams will be given a grade of 0.

The exam will consist of questions intended to take (for the proficient) approximately 75 minutes. Some questions will be selected from past quizzes, and some will be new but similar to quiz questions.

Course grades will be based on the number you receive from the sum of your lab, quiz, and proficiency exam grades. Exam grades may be curved as appropriate.

Lab grading

How to get credit for a lab

Attend your regularly scheduled lab. Fill out the lab verification sheet with the help of your lab partner(s). When you are finished, get the instructor to sign it and collect it. You need to have a lab verification sheet filled out and noted by the instructor before you leave lab in order to receive credit for the lab. An unexcused departure from the lab before it is finished will result in your getting zero credit for the lab.

You are expected to be present for the entire lab unless you complete it early, including the extra credit problems. The proof you have that you are getting lab credit is the signed verification sheet.

Quiz grading

After each lab, an on-line quiz must be taken through Maple TA. The quizzes are typically posted at 5pm on Friday after the labs are finished, but sometimes they are delayed by a day or two due to technical difficulties in their production. It is typically must be completed by 5pm of the Friday of the week after lab week. Maple TA will award your score immediately upon completion of your quiz. Make note of it. Quiz scores are transferred between Maple TA and the gradebook in Blackboard a few days after the quiz deadline has passed. If you do not see your quiz score show up in the Blackboard gradebook, make inquiries of your instructor. In some versions of Maple TA, quiz-takers must hit separate “grade” and “save and quit” buttons in order to record their quiz score. If you forget to hit the “grade” button means, it means that there will be no record of your score. This is not a catastrophe, but it does mean that you need to get your instructor to intervene manually to get the grading done.

Exam grading

The lab proficiency exam is given in Week 10, in lab during your regularly scheduled section meeting. Given through Maple TA, it typically consists of 15-25 questions similar to those given in the quizzes. Scoring will be similar to those quizzes. Quizzes 1-4 will be made available as practice quizzes in the period before the exam is given.


The class web site on Blackboard/Vista contains a list of all recorded grades for you -- labs, quizzes, and the exam after it is graded. Scores may appear a few days after the event since they have to be transferred by course staff from Maple TA or from attendence records. If you do not see a score from a quiz or lab appear in Blackboard within seven days, you should contact your instructor to clear a discrepancy.

Making up work

  1. Lab Makeup Policy: If you cannot attend your regularly scheduled lab for a recognized reason (you have a medical problem, a personal emergency, or are traveling to an athletic competition), please contact your instructor in advance.
  2. Quiz Makeup Policy: Since you will have five days to a week to complete each quiz and can take the quiz from anywhere that you have access to a web browser, there will be no makeup quizzes. You must complete each quiz before the deadline. It is your responsibility to complete the quiz on time taking into account the likelihood of last minute problems such as temporary system congestion or failure. Deadline extensions will be granted to system problems only if they are lengthy (several hours) and due to institutional causes from within Drexel. It is your responsibility to check that Maple TA has a record of your quiz work before the quiz is due. (Use the "View my results in this class" link on the Maple TA CS 123 home page.) If there is a problem with Maple TA, you must bring it to the attention of your instructor before the quiz is due, not after the due date has passed.
  3. Exam Makeup Policy: All students are expected to take the proficiency exam when it is scheduled for their section. With permission of your section instructor, you may reschedule the exam for another time during the week when the exam is given.
  4. Excused absence policies:
    • If you miss a quiz/lab deadline or the exam due to illness, you will need a written note from (and signed by) your physician to document the nature of your illness and how long you were/are unable to work. Contact your instructor about your medical situation as soon as possible.
    • If you have a disruptive personal or family emergency, contact your instructor as promptly as circumstances permit. 
    • For either an excuse due to personal emergency or illness, after contacting your instructor your instructor will ask you to talk to Prof. Adelaida Alban, the director of the Computer Science Department Cyber Learning Center, who will gather and verify the required documentation. After verification, she will inform your instructor that the absence is excused so that they may give you credit for the work. With an excused absence for a quiz or lab, the average of your other quizzes or labs will be used to compensate for the one(s) that you missed. The proficiency exam cannot be skipped, but it will be rescheduled.
    • Without a valid excuse, you may get a score of zero for the lab/quiz/exam. “I forgot” or “The dog ate my alarm clock” are not going to be taken seriously as reasons for relieving you of your responsibility for completing things on time.

Taking Quizzes

All quizzes will be given on-line, via Maple TA. 

Maple TA will provide you with feedback on your work immediately after the quiz is due. As before, you will need the following information to login to Maple TA in order to take a quiz or view your results in the class:

Maple TA Login: Your Maple TA username is the same as your DrexelOne username (e.g., xyz23).

Maple TA Password: Your initial Maple TA password is your Drexel student ID number (e.g., 12345678 not your DrexelOne password). After you login to Maple TA for the first time, you can change your Maple TA password to whatever you like. Note that the passwords to all accounts have been reset from last term.

Study Groups

We encourage you to work together on the labs and even form your own study group. We encourage your groups to meet with the course staff while they are on duty for office hours.

Course Websites

As in past terms, there are two web sites for the course:

Departmental web site: This site includes links to Maple TA, links to the files needed to do the labs for the term, instructor contact information, and copies of class announcements. It is available during the proficiency exam.

Vista/Blackboard web site: This is the site you access through or less directly through It contains

Academic Dishonesty

Drexel’s policy on academic dishonesty, which applies to this course, may be read at All incidents of academic dishonesty will be reported to Kevin Scoles, Associate Dean of the College of Engineering . Violations of the policy include: copying answers from other students to answer a Maple TA quiz, giving answers to other students to allow them to answer questions on the proficiency exam, or using unauthorized reference materials during the proficiency exam. The web page on dishonesty linked to above mentions a number of other actions besides these obvious ones that are considered violations of the policy.

The penalty for academic dishonesty in the course is at the discretion of the instructor. Penalties that may be levied include one or more of the following: losing points on the lab, quiz, or assignment (including loss of all points, or even a negative score); a lowered or failing final grade for the course with no opportunity to withdraw; and expulsion from the university.