Colorado State University — Pueblo, Summer 2017
CIS 291 Special Topics
Course Policies and Procedures

Here is a shortcut to the summary table below of components of the grades for this course. [See below for explanation.]

Instructor: Jonathan Poritz     Office: GCB 314D     E-mail:
Phone: 549-2044 (office — any time); 357-MATH (personal; please use sparingly)

Textbook: No (physical, commercial) book is required for this class.

Instead, there will be several substantial, required readings for this class, but they will always be freely available on the 'net. These readings will come from a variety of sources, including some created just for this class and others which are widely used, open, electronic resources.

Here are some such readings:

Course Content/Objective: The Catalog describes it as:

Study of new and emerging topics and technologies in the computing field.

Student Learning Outcomes: These days it is fashionable to list fairly specific learning outcomes which students are expected to achieve in this course. Here are some for this course:

Projects: There will be three large projects, of increasing complexity and, correspondingly, point value in your total grade. Details of the assignments and their due dates will be announced during the program (with plenty of time to do a good job and get your worked finished when due).

Descriptions of the projects follow:

  1. Major Assignment 1
  2. Major Assignment 2
  3. Major Assignment 3

Journaling: Students will be doing daily writing assignments in the other classes of the MAESTRO program, which they will then transfer to their individual websites. This will give a chance to proofread the work which was done earlier by hand on paper, and also to use the different web-based presentation modes we are discussing in this CIS class. Don't fall behind in uploading and formatting These electronic journals each day!

Professionalism: Students will be expected to demonstrate the decorum, seriousness, politeness, mutual- and self-respect, and, generally, behavior appropriate to college students. This will be clear by preparation for and attendance and participation in class, on-line activities, group work, and excursions.

Final: There will be a final project, common to all MAESTRO courses, parts of which will count as a CIS final.

Grades: Here are the contributions of each part of the course to the total course points:

   course points 
Project 1: 100
Project 2: 150
Project 3: 200
Journaling: 200
Professionalism: 100
Final: 250
Total course points: 1000

Letter grades will then be assigned according to the following scale:
 A   930-1000 
 A- 900-929
 B+  870-899
 B 830-869
 B- 800-829
 C+ 770-799
 C 700-769
 D+ 670-699
 D 630-669
 D- 600-629
 F   0-599

Academic integrity: Despite the stereotype of the lone genius or crazy, isolated artist, scholarship is rarely a solitary activity. So feel free to work with other students unless this is specifically forbidden (which will happen quite infrequently). However, to make the community of scholars function effectively, everyone must carefully and completely attribute any ideas, quotes, facts, data, images, etc. to their original sources, in footnotes, bibliographies, links, and so on. Failure to do so constitutes academic dishonesty and cannot be tolerated. For more details of what constitutes academic dishonesty, the processes that are started on our campus when it is violated, and your rights in such proceedings, see The Student Code of Conduct. In any case, it is always a good idea to ask your instructor if you want to do something (make a reference, include some material which you did not create, etc.) which you are concerned might be, or even might appear to be, an act of academic dishonesty.

Accommodations: The University abides by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which stipulate that no student shall be denied the benefits of education "solely by reason of a handicap." If you have a documented disability that may impact your work in this class for which you may require accommodations, please see the Disability Resource Coordinator as soon as possible to arrange accommodations. In order to receive accommodations, you must be registered with and provide documentation of your disability to the Disability Resource Office, which is located in the Library and Academic Resources Center, Suite 169.



Computers are incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid.
Human beings are incredibly slow, inaccurate, and brilliant.
Together they are powerful beyond imagination.
sometimes mistakenly attributed to Albert Einstein;
probably actually due to Leo Cherne at the Discover America Meeting, Brussels, 27 June 1968
See Einstein never said that

Eventually, much of the world's population will be able to do computational thinking and
be able to communicate with computers using code — just as they can now read and write.
But today we're just at the beginning of making this happen.
Stephen Wolfram, How Teach Computational Thinking, 7 Septmeber 2016

Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time.
Terry Pratchett, Hogfather, 2009

Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.
Pablo Picasso, 1964

The city's central computer told you?
R2D2, you know better than to trust a strange computer!
C3PO, Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back, 1980

A strange game [Global Thermonuclear War].
The only winning move is not to play.
How about a nice game of chess?
"Joshua" [a computer program], War Games, 1983

This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back.
You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed
and believe whatever you want to believe.
You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland
and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
Morpheus, The Matrix, 1999

Never send a human to do a machine's job.
Agent Smith, The Matrix, 1999