Frequently Asked Questions


What if I have an exam conflict or special requirement?

See the exams page for the make-up petition process.

What if I have a missing lab grade?

Contact your section instructor to fix the problem for you.

What if I do not have a suitable computer?

This class is designed to work with relatively old Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. However, ChromeBooks are not suitable for this course. If you do not have the correct computer, and cannot easily acquire a computer for the semester, you should ensure that you are enrolled in a Phillips 318 section (as this is a functional lab). If you are not enrolled in a Phillips 318 section, please contact Amy Finch Elser.

What if my computer breaks?

Loaner computers are limited, and we would prefer to restrict them to students that need them for all semester long. If your computer is temporarily out of service, we recommend that you work in Phillips 318 while waiting for your computer. This lab is open during the day and during consulting hours.

What’s this CS 1133/CS 1132 stuff?

These are shorter 2-credit courses for students who want to learn a programming language, but do not need the computer science theory to continue on to CS 2110. These are the courses that we recommend for graduate students.


Who is my section instructor?

See the listing on the sections page. For more information about your instructor, go the the staff page.


Why do we use Python?

We talk about this on the first day of class. Python is a modern, object oriented language that is much more accessible to beginners than traditional object-oriented languages. It is also popular for scientific computation, making it relevant to engineers who do not want to continue on with computer science.

Why did the course title change?

This course used to be called Introduction to Computing Using Python. It is no longer the official (or only) introductory course that used Python, now that CS 1112 has made the switch to Python. The current course name is intended to emphasize what makes this course different from other Python courses at Cornell.

Why is CS 2110 in a different language?

Computer science is not about learning specific languages. It is about learning principles of software development and design. Some languages are better at teaching different principles. The object-oriented concepts of 2110 are much better taught in Java. The language change is not a serious problem as the first month of 2110 is designed to help with this transition.

Why do we use Anaconda Python?

While your computer may already have Python installed, it is important that everyone use the same version of Python for this class whenever possible. We have found Anaconda to be a stable version of Python that includes almost all of the packages we want. There are a bunch of versions of Python out there, and not all of them are compatible. Exceptions are on a case-by-case basis.

Why do we use the command shell?

As a scripting language, Python is designed with a command shell in mind. There are Integrated Development Environments (IDE) for Python that allow you to work without the command shell. Most Python IDEs are designed for data science, not software development. Those that are designed for software development are too complicated for this course. Therefore, we elected to go with the command shell.


Where are the computer labs?

Due to recent renovations in the College of Engineering, the ACCEL instructional labs no longer exist. The only computer lab for this course is Phillips 318, which is used by half of the discussion sections. The other discussion sections are held in traditional classrooms, and require students to bring their own laptops.

Where are the sections?

Sections are held in one of three locations: Phillips 318, Hollister 401, or Phillips 203. See the sections page for the correct room for your section.

Where is your office?

For information about the offices of the instructor or the course administrator, see the staff page.

Where are the solutions?

When we post solutions, they will be posted in CMS, attached to the relevant assignment.

Where are the handouts?

Most lecture handouts can be obtained from the lecture summary page. In addition, labs, assignments, and exams each have their own dedicated page.

Where is my graded homework/prelim?

For assignments submitted online (on the course CMS), you will receive feedback within CMS itself. In addition, we use GradeScope to return hard-copy assignments.

Where do I request a regrade?

This is covered in the regrade policy. Hard copy assignments are handled through GradeScope, while all other regrades are addressed in CMS. You have one week after a grade is posted to request a regrade.

Where can I find more practice problems?

We try to provide you with plenty of optional problems in the labs. You are also welcome to look for other Python Challenges online.


May I attend this class remotely?

Fall 2021 is intended to be an traditional in-person semester. We are not supporting remote students this semester. However, if you are required to isolate for quarantine reasons, we are able to accomodate you, particularly if the quarantine overlaps an exam. Please contact Amy Finch Elser with the details of your situation.

May I change my partner?

You may have different partners for different projects, but you may not have more than one partner for any assignment. Please review the policies on the assignments page.

May I use PyDef or an actual Python IDE?

If you want, you may use an actual Python IDE such as PyDef or even a professional-level tool like PyCharm. However, if you do this, you are completely on your own. We only provide support for using a command shell. See our Python page for more information.

May I program in a different language?



Must I attend the lecture section?

While we are posting the videos that were made for the online semester, our goal this year is to return to a traditional semester (at student request). This means that lectures will occasionally contain polling questions that will influence your final grade. While the value of the participation grade is small, it has been known to affect students on a grade boundary.

Must I attend my lab (discussion) section?

Lab sections are semi-mandatory, in the sense that some labs require you to be present so that you can receive feedback on your performance from your lab instructor. However, for labs that are evaluated automatically (e.g. no manual-graded questions), you may skip a lab if you have already received credit for it online. But this means that the lab is complete and entirely correct. If you have started the lab, but not finished it, you should still attend lab section.


How should I submit my homework?

You should follow the submission guidelines in the instructions for each assignments.

How do I use Python?

You should see our Python page for how to install and get started with Python.

How do I print in a public lab?

Printing services for students at Cornell are provided by the Net-Print system. See the Net-Print overview provided by CIT.

How do I start an assignment?

Assignments can get involved, and you should read an assignment in full before you start on it. Don’t expect to absorb it all at once. While reading the assignment, look for clues on what you need to do. When you’ve figured out the larger tasks, break those large problems into smaller and smaller tasks. Eventually, you can program those smaller tasks.

How do I catch up? I’m lost.

In addition to a large number of office hours, there are Cornell resources to help you in CS 1110, should you need them.

How do I become a consultant?

To become a consultant for a CS course, you must apply online. We typically hire by invitation-only for the Spring semester, since the Spring semester has lower enrollment and most consultants work for 1110 all year. However, we hire a considerable number of new consultants each year for the Fall semester. We will have more information about this later in the semester.