CS 123 - Computation Lab III - Spring 2008

Department of Computer Science
College of Engineering
Drexel University

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Course Overview

This course is the third 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 meetings and deadlines

The class meetings consist of a bi-weekly lab, and a lab proficiency exam at the end of the term.  As with previous terms, each lab period will be 1 hour 50 minutes, held in University Crossings 145.

Time Slots






T Th
Time Slots








Section 65

K. Aryafar


 Section 74

M. Brennan


  8 AM – 10 AM

  9 AM – 11 AM

Section 61
B. Char


(no lab)


 Section 79

M. Brennan




Section 66

K. Aryafar


Section 75

M. Brennan


10 AM – 12 PM

11 AM –   1 PM

(no lab)


(no lab) 


Section 80

M. Brennan




(no lab)


Section 76

Kurt Schmidt


12 PM –   2 PM

  1 PM –   3 PM

Section 63

Ryan Walls


Section 72

B. Char 


  Section 81

J. Novatnack




Section 68

K. Aryafar 


Section 77

Ryan Walls


  2 PM –   4 PM

  3 PM –   5 PM

Section 64

Ryan Walls


Section 73

Kurt Schmidt


Section 82

J. Novatnack




Section 69

K. Aryafar


Section 78

Ryan Walls


  4 PM –   6 PM

Class Calendar





March 31-Apr 6

No class meetings.


Apr 7 – Apr 13

Lab 1


Apr 14 – Apr 20

Quiz 1, Lab 1 deadline Friday 5pm Apr 18


Apr 21 – Apr 27

Lab 2


Apr 28 – May 4

Quiz 2, Lab 2 deadline Friday 5pm May 2


May 5 – May 11

Lab 3


May 12 – May 18

Quiz 3, Lab 3 deadline Friday 5pm May 16


May 19 – May 25

Lab 4


May 26 – June 1

Quiz 4, Lab 4 deadline Friday 5pm May 30.  Memorial Day  Monday May 26 (University Holiday) -- no office hours that day.


June 2 – June 8

Lab proficiency exam in regularly scheduled times, June 2-June 6


June 9 – June 14

No class meetings.  Make up exams for excused contingencies.

If you are unable to attend your regularly scheduled meeting, you may attend an alternative lab section, with your instructor’s permission and with space availability.  Please note that many of the labs scheduled at the end of the week are at or near capacity, so trying to switch times may result in your having to do the lab on your own out of class in order to receive any credit for it.

Course Staff






Office Hours

Office phone

Bruce Char (course coordinator)


UC 100A


W, Th 4-5pm

215 895 2669

Kamelia Aryafar


UC 146



Mike Brennan


UC 146



John Novatnack


UC 146



Kurt Schmidt


UC 105



Ryan Walls


UC 146



Undergraduate assistants





Office Hours

 Diya Biswas





 Tim Cheeseman





 Dan De Sousa





 Ankita Narayan





 Nam Pham





 Thomas Wise





Office Hours

Office hours will take place in UC 145, the Computer Science Department Cyber Learning Center, during odd-numbered weeks, starting with the third week of class.  Thus, we will hold office hours during Weeks 3, 5, 7, 9.  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: 




Individual Weight

Total Weight

2, 4, 6, 8





3, 5, 7, 9










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 roughly 20-25 questions.  Some questions will be selected from past quizzes, and some will be new but similar to quiz questions.

Course grades will be one of:  A, B, C, D or F, based on the number you receive from the sum of your lab, quiz, and proficiency exam grades.  No minus or plus grades will be awarded.

Lab grading

There are two ways to get credit for a lab:

a)  Attend your regularly scheduled lab and fully participate for the entire period.  You need to submit a Lab worksheet to Blackboard at the end of the period, and sign the attendance sheet to ensure credit for this.  The only proof you have that you attended lab beyond the instructor’s memory will be your signature on the attendance sheet.  This will result in getting full credit (a grade of 1.0 for the lab).  An unexcused departure from the lab before it is finished will disqualify you from credit for your lab in this way. 

To get permission to leave a lab early without penalty, you must complete all of the required and optional problems and have a course staff member verify that you have completed these problems correctly.  The staff member will then formally sign you out by making a note next to your name on the sign-in sheet.

b) Submit your completed lab file to Blackboard by the lab submission deadline (see Class Calendar) and send email to your instructor requesting a grade of an alternative way.  If the lab is submitted on time and the instructor informed, then you should be awarded a grade of 0, .25, .5, .75, or 1.0 for the lab.  Your lab will not be graded without an email notice to your the instructor of your section that you are requesting credit for the lab in this way.

If you have any difficulties in submitting files to Blackboard properly, contact your instructor or any of the course staff in the Cyber Learning Center.

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 to arrange to attend the lab at an alternate time during the same week.  If this is not possible, you must make up the missed work outside of class (e.g., during office hours).  If you make up the lab outside of class, you must ask a course staff member to formally grade your lab and enter your lab grade into WebCT.  In order to receive full credit (1.00) for making up a lab outside of class, you must complete all of the required problems correctly—otherwise, you will receive partial credit based on the instructor's judgment about the proportion of required work which you have completed correctly.  You must submit your makeup lab before the due date. Makeup labs will not be accepted after the deadline, since at that point solutions will have been posted on Vista/Blackboard.

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:

a)      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.

b)      If you have a disruptive personal or family emergency, contact your instructor as promptly as circumstances permit.  You will be asked to talk to Engineering Student Services (155 University Crossings) who will ensure that your absence will be explained to and handled by all your course instructors. With an excused absence for a lab or quiz, the average of your other labs or quizzes will be used to compensate for the one(s) that you missed.  The proficiency exam cannot be skipped, but it will be rescheduled.

c)      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.  We may be changing to a newer version of Maple TA this term (Spring 2008), so the location and look of the site may be different from the past.

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:

    1. Maple TA Login:  Your Maple TA username is the same as your DrexelOne username (e.g., xyz23).
    2. 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: www.cs.drexel.edu/complab/cs123/spring2008.  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 learning.drexel.edu or less directly through one.drexel.edu.  It contains

  • Class announcements
  • Student/staff discussion forums
                You may post your own questions—or post answers to another student's questions—using the discussion topic provided for that purpose on WebCT.  (See Discuss Course Material on the WebCT CS 123 home page.)
  • Lab, quiz, and exam grades for the course
  • Lecture notes used in lab
  • Lab solutions, after the deadline for lab submissions
  • “Frequently asked Questions”
  • Instructor names and contact information

Academic Dishonesty

Drexel’s policy on academic dishonesty, which applies to this course, may be read at http://www.drexel.edu/provost/policies/academic_dishonesty.asp 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.


Computation Lab | Department of Computer Science | College of Engineering | Drexel University

This web page was last updated on March 29, 2008.

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