CSci 115: Computing and the Internet
Home Syllabus Assignments Tests

Classroom: TR: 9:45a-11:00a, MCRey 315
Web page
Instructor: Dr. Carl Burch
Telephone: 450-1377 (office); 548-6135 (home)
Office: MCRey 310
Office hours: M 1-2, T 1-2, W 10-11, R 9-9:30
drop-ins, appointments always welcome


Our primary goal is to understand phenomena relating to the Internet. By the end of this course, you should be able to:

Textbooks and references

Course Web page:

Required book: Carl Burch, Programming via PHP,, 2007.

Recommended book: Elizabeth Castro, HTML, XHTML & CSS, 6th edition, Peachpit Press, 2007.


There are a total of 1,000 points over the semester. Letter grades will be assigned with cutoffs at 900 for an A, 800 for B, 700 for C, and 600 for D.

Class attendance/participation 60 pts
Assignments (variable credit) 270 pts
Research presentation 150 pts
Web design project 150 pts
Quizzes (two, 30 pts each) 60 pts
Exams (two, 80 pts each) 160 pts
Final 150 pts
TOTAL 1,000 pts

I reserve the right to make adjustments in the entire grading scheme or in particular cases.

While I do not have a specific goal about the assigned grades, the grades I assign tend to average around 3.0. Note that I do not normally curve grades at the end of the course; instead, I monitor your progress and perform any curves as I grade tests. When I curve test scores, I add a fixed amount to all scores; as a result, some test scores may end up being above 100%. I anticipate, but will not insist, that the median test score will be around 75%. Normally, scores in the non-test categories will be higher; the average class grade will likely be a B even though the average test grade is a C.

Class attendance/participation

Several points are designated for class participation. I will assign half of these points near the semester's middle, and the other half near the semester's end.

I do monitor your class attendance. If your attendance is excellent (missing one or fewer classes each half-semester), you will receive at least 60% of these attendance/participation points. If you feel your absence should be excused, please warn me about the absence a day in advance. Whether I excuse your absence is my call.

The remaining 40% of these points are for participation, including both questions during class and responses to questions during class. I may give more than full credit in unusual circumstances. Take this as an invitation: I value your active participation in class, and I expect you to show evidence of being fully tuned in during class sessions.


You will often have assignments. Until otherwise specified, feel free to work with one other student on each problem; in this case, you should jointly submit a single solution. You may also ask occassional questions of classmates when you need help. Under no circumstances should I receive two copies of identical solutions. I reserve the right to change this policy, individually or collectively, at any time.

The assignments will be due at the beginning of class on the scheduled day. For each 24-hour period thereafter, I will deduct up to 10% of the points possible. Note that this means that if you show up a few minutes after class starts with your assignment, you can incur the full 24-hour late penalty. I will be happy to accept assignment solutions prior to their due date.


There will be two major projects during this course. The first, due October 2, will be a research project pertaining to some particular relationship between the Internet and the wider human society. It will culminate in a class presentation of about 10 minutes.

For the other, due November 13, you will develop a substantial Web site where users can store and access information on the server. You will have much flexibility about what can appear on this Web site. You will demonstrate this work in some form of presentation.

Further details about both projects will be distributed as the class progresses.

Quizzes and tests

The scheduled days for quizzes and exams are listed below and will likely not change.

Thu 6 SepQuiz 1
Thu 20 SepExam 1
Thu 18 OctQuiz 2
Thu 1 NovExam 2
Wed 5 DecFinal, 8:30am

Quizzes will typically be 25 minutes in length, and exams will likely be 50 minutes, but that's not a guarantee.

If you miss a test, you must receive advance permission from me to receive more than a 0. (Dire medical emergencies usually constitute an exception.) If you are excused from the test, I will either double your lowest quiz or exam score or administer a make-up, at my discretion. Let me know well in advance — 24 hours for exams and quizzes, and two weeks for the final. I would like to remind you that, when e-mail is impossible, telephones exist also. Do not skip a test without my prior approval!

Note that I may require you to document your reason for absence. Travel arrangements and work schedules are not adequate reasons to miss a test.

Cheating and groupwork

You must properly attribute any work or ideas you use in assignments for this course which are quoted or derived from others. Plagiarism includes not only copying the ideas and the written and spoken words of others, but also copying or otherwise appropriating their computer files as well. Interfering with the work of others is also a serious academic offense. I will abide by the catalog's Academic Honesty policy in referring cases to the college's Committee on Academic Integrity.

Discussing or viewing others' solutions to assignments is officially out of bounds, as is discussing or showing your own solution to others. In practice, I realize, you may help other students; this presents a problem only when the solution you submit is substantially similar to another student's. A strong correlation between your solution and a classmate's solution constitutes evidence of cheating.

Office hours

Feel free to stop by my office any time you want to talk about something related to the class. I do have office hours listed on the Web page, but they are not intended to limit you. The office hours represent when I will try to be available in my office, but I'm equally available at all times that my office door is open. I'm also happy to arrange appointments.

If you're not in the building, feel free to telephone my office. And if I'm not in my office, you can send e-mail. But please try to contact me directly before e-mail: E-mail is much less efficient.


Most Hendrix students intuitively know the appropriate bounds for behavior in class. But: Cellphone use is prohibited during class, even if calls are received outside the classroom, and even if it is only text-messaging. Use of laptops is restricted to activities directly related to what is currently being discussed; I reserve the right to prohibit them if I feel this policy is being abused.

Any inappropriate use of electronic devices (or of reading materials) is worse than an absence, since it distracts other students. It will count accordingly in the attendance/participation policy; you could potentially receive a negative score.

On tests, no electronic devices other than a simple watch are permitted.


It is the policy of Hendrix College to accommodate students with disabilities, pursuant to federal and state law. Any student with a disability who needs accommodation, for example in arrangements for seating, examinations, note taking, or access to information on the Web, should inform the instructor at the beginning of the course. In order to receive accommodations, students with disabilities are required to contact Counseling Services at 450-1448.