Department of Computer Science
Western University
London, Canada

CS 1025a -- Computer Science Fundamentals I
Course Outline -- Fall 2013

Course Description

This course presents an introduction to computer science for students who already have some significant programming experience. We will explore the nature of computer science as a discipline and learn about programming in a modular, reliable, maintainable style. In addition, students will receive an introduction to the design and analysis of algorithms and an overview of the broad range of topics of computer science.


Unless you have either the requisites for this course or written special permission from your Dean to enroll in it, you will be removed from this course and it will be deleted from your record. This decision may not be appealed. You will receive no adjustment to your fees in the event that you are dropped from a course for failing to have the necessary prerequisites.


This course is intended for students with significant programming experience in at least one high-level block-structured or object-oriented language (for example C, C#, Java, Lisp). You should be comfortable with the notions of arrays and sub-programs (e.g. procedures, functions, methods).

There are no prerequisite courses for CS 1025.


You may not receive credit for this course if you have taken any of the following for credit:


Name: Stephen Watt
Office: MC 375
Office Hours:Tentatively, Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:30-11:30.
Phone: 519-661-4244

Course Materials

Recommended books: (These are not required.)

On-Line Resources: Various materials will be made available on the course web site. This will include a PDF version of the lecture notes.

Course Website

Course Topics

Topics covered in the course include:

Class Schedule


Tuesday 11:30-1:30 B&GS-1056,
Thursday 11:30-12:30 B&GS-1056.

TA Consulting Hours

TA consulting hours will be posted on the course web site.

Computing Facilities

Each student will be given an account on the Computer Science Department undergraduate computing facility. In accepting the account, a student agrees to abide by the department's Rules of Ethical Conduct.

Student Evaluation

Each student is allowed to skip one assignment, if he or she wishes. In this case the assignment grade will be calculated based on the other four assignments weighted equally (i.e. 7.5% each).

To be eligible to obtain a passing mark in the course, the weighted average of the midterm and final exam marks must be at least 45 % and the weighted average of the assignment marks must be at least 45 %.

To be eligible to achieve a final course mark of 60% or higher (i.e. to be eligible for Honours Programs), the weighted average of the midterm and final exam marks must be at least 50% and the weighted average of the assignment marks must be at least 50 %.

If for any reason an assignment is cancelled for the class, then the grades for the remaining assignments will be re-weighted so they still give 30% of the final grade.

The tetnative date for the Midterm Exam is Tuesday, October 22, in class. No electronic devices will be allowed in the Midterm. Students are allowed to bring one single-sided letter-size original hand-written page of notes.

The Final Exam will be as scheduled by the registrar's office during the December exam period. Students are allowed to bring one single-sided letter-size original hand-written page of notes.

Computer-marked multiple-choice tests and/or exams may be subject to submission for similarity review by software that will check for unusual coincidences in answer patterns that may indicate cheating.

There will be no makeup Midterm Exam, except for students requesting a Special Midterm Exam for religious reasons. These students must have notified the course instructor and filed documentation with their Dean's office at least 2 weeks prior to the Midterm Exam. If you miss the Midterm Exam for any other valid reason, follow the procedure for Academic Accommodation for Medical Illness as given below. If accommodation is approved by your Dean's office, your Final Exam mark will be reweighted to include the weight of the Midterm Exam.


Assignment Schedule (Tentative):
Assignment 1 (light) Given Thursday, Sept 12Due Wednesday, Sept 18
Assignment 2 (medium)Given Thursday, Sept 19Due Wednesday, Oct 2
Assignment 3 (medium)Given Thursday, Oct 3 Due Wednesday, Oct 16
Assignment 4 (medium)Given Thursday, Oct 24 Due Wednesday, Nov 6
Assignment 5 (medium)Given Thursday, Nov 7 Due Wednesday, Nov 27

Assignments are to be submitted electronically, as described at the time the assignment is given.

Late Assignment Policy:

An assignment looses 5% of its total possible value for each day late. Weekend days also count 5% each. Assignments more than 5 days late will not be accepted.


Extensions may be granted only by the course instructor. If you have serious medical or compassionate grounds for an extension, you should follow the procedure for Academic Accommodation for Medical Illness as described below.

Assignment Marking:
Assignments will be marked by the teaching assistant following a marking scheme provided by the instructor. Assignments will be graded for clarity, completeness, correctness and style. These criteria will be applied to code, documentation and test cases.

Email Contact

You may contact the course instructor via e-mail with brief questions regarding course material or clarification of assignments. However, please first check the course website for answers to frequently asked questions, or to see if the information is already there, before e-mailing the instructor. You must include "CS1025" in the subject line (otherwise it might get filtered as spam). Please send E-mail from your UWO account and send E-mail in plaintext format.

We will occasionally need to send email messages to the whole class, or to students individually. Email will be sent to the UWO email address assigned to students by Information Technology Services (ITS), i.e. your email address It is each student's responsibility to read this email on a frequent and regular basis, or to have it forwarded to an alternative email address if preferred. See the ITS website for directions on forwarding email.

You should note that email at ITS (your UWO account) and other email providers such as or may have quotas or limits on the amount of space they can use. If you let your email accumulate there, your mailbox may fill up and you may lose important email from your instructors.  Losing email that you have forwarded to an alternative email address is not an excuse for not knowing about the information that was sent.

Academic Accommodation for Medical Illness

If you are unable to meet a course requirement due to illness or other serious circumstances, you must provide valid medical or other supporting documentation to your Dean's office as soon as possible and contact your instructor immediately. It is the student's responsibility to make alternative arrangements with their instructor once the accommodation has been approved and the instructor has been informed. In the event of a missed final exam, a "Recommendation of Special Examination" form must be obtained from the Dean's Office immediately. For further information please see:

A student requiring academic accommodation due to illness should use the Student Medical Certificate when visiting an off-campus medical facility or request a Record's Release Form (located in the Dean's Office) for visits to Student Health Services. The form can be found here:

Accessibility Statement

Please contact the course instructor if you require material in an alternate format or if you require any other arrangements to make this course more accessible to you. You may also wish to contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at 661-2111 x 82147 for any specific question regarding an accommodation.

Course, Department and University Policies on Ethical Conduct

Scholastic offences are taken seriously and students are directed to read the appropriate policy, specifically, the definition of what constitutes a Scholastic Offence, at the following Web site: .

Plagiarism: Students must write their essays and assignments in their own words. Whenever students take an idea, or a passage from another author, they must acknowledge their debt both by using quotation marks where appropriate and by proper referencing such as footnotes or citations. Plagiarism is a major academic offence.

All assignments are individual assignments. You may discuss approaches to problems among yourselves; however, the actual details of the work (assignment coding, answers to concept questions, etc.) must be an individual effort. With each assignment, you are required to sign and hand in an Assignment Submission Form, on which you certify that you understand the course policies concerning plagiarism and individual effort, and that the material you've submitted is exclusively your own work.

The standard departmental penalty for assignments that are judged to be the result of academic dishonesty is, for the student's first offence, a mark of zero for the assignment, with an additional penalty equal to the weight of the assignment also being applied. You are responsible for reading and respecting the Computer Science Department's policy on Scholastic Offences and Rules of Ethical Conduct.

The University of Western Ontario uses software for plagiarism checking. Students may be required to submit their written work and programs in electronic form for plagiarism checking.

All required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to the commercial plagiarism detection software under license to the University for detection of plagiarism. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between The University of Western Ontario and (

The role of tutoring is to help students understand course material. Tutors should not write assignments or take-home tests for the students who hire them. Having employed the same tutor as another student is not a legitimate defense against an accusation of collusion, should two students hand in assignments judged similar beyond the possibility of coincidence.