1 Basics

Eric D. Shade, PhD
Optional Textbook
Programming Language Pragmatics 3e and the companion CD content
Catalog Description

2 Course Topics

3 Coursework

3.1 Exams

There will be a midterm exam and a non-comprehensive final exam, each worth 16%. I will announce the midterm exam date at least one week in advance. The final exam will be given according to the University's final exam schedule. If you miss an exam without making prior arrangements, or if you cheat on an exam, you will get a zero. I may curve exam scores; if so, I will announce the curve when I hand back the exam.

3.2 Projects

You must complete two programming projects in two different programming languages (11% each). There will be a “draft” to select the programming languages from the list on my web page. You will not be given any instruction in the chosen languages; learning them is part of the project. You must work individually, but you may talk about ideas and your languages with other students. At most two students may use the same language per project. Complete details will be provided later in the semester.

3.3 Homework Assignments

There will be 6–8 homework assignments, collectively worth 46%. They must be written in Python 3.4.

  1. Homework assignments will be due by 9:00am on a school day; they must be sitting in my email inbox by that time. You must email the source code, in a single file, as an attachment. I will reply by 5:00pm that afternoon either with a grade, if the assignment is correct, or an indication of what went wrong otherwise. (If you do not receive a reply by 6:00pm, send me a query from your Live@edu account.) If your program failed for any reason, it is worth nothing, and you must correct and resubmit it.

  2. You have five attempts to complete the assignment: the due date and the next four consecutive school days. Assignments are worth 10 points (out of 10) on the first day, 9 on the second day, 8 on the third, 7 on the fourth, and 6 on the fifth. No submissions will be accepted after the fifth day. Assignments received after 9:00am are treated as if they were turned in the following day. If you turn in more than one version of an assignment by 9:00am, I will grade only the most recent one.

  3. I may, at my sole discretion, award partial credit for assignments that are near completion and have been properly submitted at least once. The maximum partial credit is 5 points.

  4. All grades are tentative until seven school days after the original due date. If I reply with a grade and then discover that you cheated, I will lower your grade as appropriate.

  5. I may reply that your program has “hung,” when in fact it just takes a very long time to finish. If that happens, your program is unacceptably slow and must be rewritten to receive credit. Unless I tell you otherwise, programs should complete within a few seconds.

  6. If you ask a homework question via email, put “question” somewhere in the subject line so that I know to read it as soon as possible. Otherwise I will assume it's a homework submission.

3.4 Grading

I will compute your total score as the weighted average of your percentage scores, using the weights listed above. My standard grading scale is 90% = A, 80% = B, 70% = C, 60% = D, lower = F. I will not assign plus/minus grades. I may add a “slide” factor of between 1 and 10 points that reflects my subjective impression of the relative difficulty of the course. I will not know whether a slide is appropriate until after the final exam. For example, a slide of 4 means that the grading scale is 86% = A, 76% = B, and so on.

4 Attendance

I expect you to attend class. I will not penalize you for missing class, but since there is a strong correlation between attendance and grades, you will almost certainly be indirectly penalized. You are responsible for any discussions, announcements, or handouts that you miss. If you need to leave class early for any reason, please let me know before class begins.

5 Academic Integrity

Missouri State University is a community of scholars committed to developing educated persons who accept the responsibility to practice personal and academic integrity. You are responsible for knowing and following the university’s student honor code, Student Academic Integrity Policies and Procedures, also available at the Reserves Desk in Meyer Library. Any student participating in any form of academic dishonesty will be subject to sanctions as described in this policy.


Copying all or part of anyone else's work, regardless of the source, is prohibited. Exception: you may use code that I provide in class, code from the textbook (but not a companion CD, if applicable), or code from Web sites with direct links from my home page. The first time you are guilty of plagiarism, you will get a zero for the offending assignment. The second time, you will get an XF for the course. Excessive collaboration is a more subtle form of plagiarism involving two or more students in the class; see below.


You are encouraged to discuss ideas with other students but you may not share any work (code, writing, or answers). If you turn in work that is very similar to someone else's, in whole or in part, then you have cheated. Your intentions are irrelevant. If, after analyzing your work, I find that the similarities are very unlikely to have occurred by chance, I will divide the credit among the offending parties (on the first offense), assign a 0 (on the second offense), or assign an XF for the course (on the third offense). Note: when determining whether two pieces of code are similar, I ignore irrelevant differences such as variable names, whitespace, comments, indentation, parentheses, brackets, literal strings, declaration order, and simple logical and/or algebraic code translations.

Unacceptable Excuses:

6 Email

I sometimes send email to individuals or the entire class via students' Live@edu accounts. It is your responsibility to check that account regularly. If you send me an email that warrants a reply, I will reply to the sender; if that is not your Live@edu account, I am not responsible for a lost or delayed reply. You are solely responsible for ensuring that emails sent to me are received on time and with the correct content. Exception: if you correctly send me an email from your Live@edu account and it is lost or significantly delayed due to a failure of the Live@edu or BearMail systems confirmed by MSU staff, you will not be penalized if you notify me of the problem in a timely manner.

7 Loss of Time or Data

Any use of a computer carries the risk of lost data and/or time due to user errors, software errors, malware, or failures in networks, computer hardware, removable media, or power (including surges, blackouts, and lightning strikes). You assume all such risks and will receive no extra time to complete an assignment in the event of such a loss. Exception: the following hardware misfortunes may entitle you to extra time if they (1) affect you, (2) occur within twelve hours of a deadline, and (3) are confirmed by MSU staff:

8 Mobile Devices and Multitasking

8.1 Laptops and Tablets

Using these devices in class is a bad idea. For most students they're a distraction and detrimental to grades. I reserve the right to require you to turn off any mobile device or move to a seat where your screen is not visible to any other student.

8.2 Cell Phones

As a member of the learning community, each student has a responsibility to other students who are members of the community. When cell phones or pagers ring and students respond in class or leave class to respond, it disrupts the class. Therefore, the Office of the Provost prohibits the use by students of cell phones, pagers, PDAs, or similar communication devices during scheduled classes. All such devices must be turned off or put in a silent (vibrate) mode and ordinarily should not be taken out during class. Given the fact that these same communication devices are an integral part of the University’s emergency notification system, an exception to this policy would occur when numerous devices activate simultaneously. When this occurs, students may consult their devices to determine if a university emergency exists. If that is not the case, the devices should be immediately returned to silent mode and put away. Other exceptions to this policy may be granted at the discretion of the instructor.

8.3 Multitasking is a Myth

When asked on NPR about people who say they're great at multitasking, Dr. Clifford Nass of Stanford University replied:

“The research is almost unanimous, which is very rare in social science, and it says that people who chronically multitask show an enormous range of deficits. They're basically terrible at all sorts of cognitive tasks, including multitasking … we have scales that allow us to divide up people into people who multitask all the time and people who rarely do, and the differences are remarkable. People who multitask all the time can't filter out irrelevancy. They can't manage a working memory. They're chronically distracted. They initiate much larger parts of their brain that are irrelevant to the task at hand. And even—they're even terrible at multitasking. When we ask them to multitask, they're actually worse at it.”

9 Disability Accommodation

To request academic accommodations for a disability, contact the Director of the Disability Resource Center, Carrington Hall, Suite 302, 417-836-4192 or 417-836-6792 (TTY). Students are required to provide documentation of disability to the Disability Resource Center prior to receiving accommodations. The Disability Resource Center refers some types of accommodation requests to the Learning Diagnostic Clinic, which also provides diagnostic testing for learning and psychological disabilities. For information about testing, contact the Director of the Learning Diagnostic Clinic, 417-836-4787.

10 Emergency Response

At the first class meeting, students should become familiar with a basic emergency response plan through a dialogue with the instructor that includes a review and awareness of exits specific to the classroom and the location of evacuation centers for the building. All instructors are provided this information specific to their classroom and/or lab assignments in an e-mail prior to the beginning of the fall semester from the Office of the Provost and Safety and Transportation. Students with disabilities impacting mobility should discuss the approved accommodations for emergency situations and additional options when applicable with the instructor. For more information see the Emergency Quick Reference and the Emergency Response Plan.

10.1 Cheek Hall Shelter Information

In case of severe weather or other conditions requiring shelter, evacuate floors 1, 2, and 3 using the center, north, and west stairs, and take shelter in the basement interior hallway.

10.2 Cheek Hall Evacuation Information

If the building must be evacuated for any reason, such as a fire, head west to the Siceluff first-floor classrooms and lobby; if those areas are full, go to the lower level of Plaster Student Union.

11 Religious Accommodation

The University may provide a reasonable accommodation based on a person’s sincerely held religious belief. In making this determination, the University reviews a variety of factors, including whether the accommodation would create an undue hardship. The accommodation request imposes responsibilities and obligations on both the individual requesting the accommodation and the University. Students who expect to miss classes, examinations, or other assignments as a consequence of their sincerely held religious belief shall be provided with a reasonable alternative opportunity to complete such academic responsibilities. It is the obligation of students to provide faculty with reasonable notice of the dates of religious observances on which they will be absent by submitting a Request for Religious Accommodation Form to the instructor by the end of the third week of a full semester course or the end of the second week of a half semester course.

12 Nondiscrimination

Missouri State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution, and maintains a grievance procedure available to any person who believes he or she has been discriminated against. At all times, it is your right to address inquiries or concerns about possible discrimination to the Office for Institutional Equity and Compliance, Park Central Office Building, 117 Park Central Square, Suite 111, 417-836-4252. Other types of concerns (i.e., concerns of an academic nature) should be discussed directly with your instructor and can also be brought to the attention of your instructor’s Department Head.

10:06:45 Fri 16 Jan 2015  —EDS