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CS 1110: Introduction to Computing Using Python

Fall 2014

Course Materials

Required Text

The main text for CS1110 is Think Python: How to Think Like a Computer Scientist, by Allen B. Downey. It is available as a traditional textbook from O'Reilly and is sold at the Campus Store. In addition it is available as a free PDF and eBook from Green Tree Press. We do not care which version you get, so long as you get one of them.

This text is not perfect, but given the newness of teaching Python at the university level, no Python text is. You will find that we jump about the text quite a bit. In addition, there will be a lot of material covered in class that is not in the book. The text is a supplement for lecture, but not a replacement.


This course will use iClickers in many lectures. In fact, everyone who registers in this course is expected to have an iClicker and to bring it to class every day. They are primarily intended learn how you think the lecture is going and see how well you understand what has been presented. They will be used often, and they will contribute to your participation grade. However, you will never be graded on whether the answers you submit by iClicker are "correct"; it is more of an attendance grade.

You can buy an iClicker at the Campus bookstore, and you should be able to use it in several of your courses over the years. If you have never used an iClicker before, then you will need to register it with Cornell. The following two URLs will help you with this process:

Use of someone else's iclicker, either because you forgot yours or because they cannot be there and asked you to click theirs once or twice, is a violation of the Code of Academic Integrity and will be prosecuted.

iClicker on Mobile Devices

This semester we are allowing students to use iClicker Go instead of a traditional clicker. iClicker Go is an App that runs on both iOS and Android, turning those devices into an iClicker. You answer polls over the wireless network, instead of going through the classroom base station.

Because iClicker Go works over the wireless network, we ask everyone in class to limit their in-class network traffic during iClicker questions. The iClicker grade measures participation, and we do not want anyone to lose participation points because the network was overloaded.

Working with iClicker Go is completely new to us. We hope it will go smoothly, but there may be a few hiccups at the start of the semester.

Other Python texts

You may use any other text that you wish as a reference. Here is a sample of conventional texts:

  • Campbell, Gries, Montojo, and Wilson, Practical Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science Using Python. The Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2009.

  • Zelle, Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science. Franklin, Beedle & Assoc., 2010.

  • Budd, Exploring Python. McGraw Hill, 2008.

USB Storage Devices

Unless you install Python on your own machine, a lot of your work will be in the CIT computing labs. You are not allowed to leave personal files on these machines, and the CIT typically deletes any personal file soon after you leave the station. Therefore, you need some place to save your work. Typically, students do this with a USB storage devices that they carry to the ACCEL Labs.

If you do not want to use a USB storage device, an alternative is to e-mail yourself your files at the end of lab. However, the advantage of a USB device is that it keeps your files nice and organized.

IMPORTANT: You should back up your work regularly to protect yourself in case something is lost. No one likes to have to redo everything the night before the due date.

Course Material Authors: D. Gries, L. Lee, S. Marschner, & W. White (over the years)