CSC108 Fall 2020

Words of Wisdom for Future Students

Hello future programmers,

So you've decided to take CSC 108. Good choice! Whether you're a comp sci major or have no experience with programming, I wanted to leave you some tips to help you survive the course.

1. It's okay if you have no idea what you're getting into! This class is structured to be an introductory course for programming. It's made for people like you. You will start off with some user-friendly programming languages and plenty of instructional videos. Don't stress! You won't be the only inexperienced person.

2. Do the readings. This seems obvious, but I need to emphasize this point. Do the readings and watch the videos, especially if you're taking the class online. You'll thank yourself later when you're troubleshooting your code.

3. Don't underestimate the course. Even though it's a half-semester, two credit course, it will demand a lot of your attention and focus. You're learning a new language after all - learning how to speak to the computer, defining new functions and words for the program to execute. It is not an easy class. But it is a fun one if you allow yourself time to develop ideas and be creative.

4. There's math involved! Nothing major, just an understanding of algebra and trig. When you're creating shapes with variables in them, you need a good grasp of algebraic equations. Some functions also have compatibility with trig functions like sine and cosine. Knowing what all these mean is important.

I took this class as an elective, and it was one of the hardest and most rewarding classes so far. It's a class made for beginners, but it won't go easy on you. Computer science is becoming more and more relevant as our technology evolves, and I think it's important for everyone to have some tech literacy. Have fun and study hard!

Sarah Stefancin

Throughout this course I have learned many things that I wish I knew when I started. One big thing that I wish I did when I first started this course was to make use of the Q&A sessions that are available. Going to these and talking to the teacher is a great way to stay on top of your work for this class and it helps to understand the information much easier. Another thing I wish I did when I first started this class was to get the projects started much earlier so you have time to ask the teacher for help. If you can do these two things successfully you will have a easier experience with computer programming.
Best wishes,
Thomas Elliott

Hello future students of CSC 108,
When diving into a course/field of study that you know nothing about, try not to overwhelm yourself and overthink anything. That is way easier said than done, trust me. If you do become overwhelmed and frustrated, schedule as many Q&A sessions with your professor as possible! Coming from personal experience, I was extremely overwhelmed at the beginning of CSC 108. After scheduling my first Q&A with my professor, I felt so much better and had a better understanding of the course. Remember, almost everyone in this course is in the same position as you and they have similar background knowledge in computer programming. Once projects and discussions start, make sure you give yourself plenty of time during the week to complete them. I learned that programming isn't the toughest thing in the world to do, but it is very time consuming. Think about an art project you may have done in high school and think about all the time you spent on it. I believe computer programming is an art form and art forms take time to master. Try and stay as positive as possible and make the most of CSC 108.
Kind regards,
Zach Rankin

If I were to give a student about to start this course any advice, I would tell them 4 things:

1) Stay on top of work and stay ahead of the game

Staying on top of work is not only important because it keeps you on track, but it helps the class go smoother and gives you enough time to get help if you need it. Time management is important! This class is asynchronous, so since there are no mandatory meetings, it is up to you to structure when you do work. Set specific times to work, just like you would have with any other class.

2) Ask for help

Help is here if you need it, so use it! Yes reaching out sucks sometimes, but asking a quick question and getting a fresh perspective on your project is much better than pulling your hair out trying to figure out why your code is not working as intended, when it is probably a simple fix.

3) Take advantage of extra credit

You never know when you could use a few extra points, so get what you can! Many opportunities for extra credit are given and a few points can make all the difference in a final grade.

4) Keep it fun!

No one likes doing something that isn't fun, and it can lead to dreading doing work. Be creative and write code that makes what you are interested in. Not only will you be happier and more motivated, but you will probably put in more effort trying to execute your vision.

I wish that a past student would have told me what their biggest strengths and weaknesses were when taking the class. Getting advice from someone with previous experience lets you know what may or may not work for you when it comes to working habits and staying on track.

Overall I enjoyed my time in this course. Though at times I struggled, the final result was always very rewarding. I hope that future students will feel the same way, and use this newfound wisdom to their advantage :)

All the best,
Nicole Rawson

Do not hesitate to ask questions! Especially in an asynchronous class, the best way to fall behind is to distance yourself from the instructor. In the very first week, make the commitment to attend one or multiple of the Q&A sessions. Even if you don't have any particular question, simply make one up. Asking questions and attending the sessions regularly will show that you are committed and build a strong relationship between yourself and the professor. When the material becomes more challenging, it will be much easier to reach out for help if you have maintained such a consistent rapport. I promise that the professor will be more willing to assist you if you have shown a steady willingness to make time for the course. Do not be afraid! All resources for success are at your disposal. You must make sure you use them.

Joshua Palmer

The warmest of welcomes to future students in CSC 108!

From my experience in this class, I recommend that you set aside time Monday through Friday to work on the weekly assignments. As I have learned, cramming all of your week's work into one night is extremely stressful and time-consuming. It is much easier to just set aside time every day, and with this approach, you will retain much more of the material.

For me, I would have appreciated it if a past student told me that it is important to trust the process of trial and error. Learning how to code is a challenging task, and it requires a great deal of practice. Therefore, it is important to know that just because you have failed with your current state of code does not mean that you will not eventually get it. Learn how to reference back to your notes or any outside sources and continue to work at it!

Best of luck to your future endeavors,
Kirstie Kray
Class of 2024


If I can impart one piece of advice, it is to have an open mind. Prior to starting the course I had this immense anxiety about my computer programming capabilities. At first I felt overwhelmed, but as the weeks went on I felt more and more comfortable. A lot of people compare computer programming to learning a new language, I feel this is a very good comparison. Instead of using words and letters you are using ones and zeros! Also the course load can be a lot at times, make sure you give yourself adequate time to complete the projects. Procrastination is an easy trap to fall into (trust me I know), but you have to push forward.

Brandon Mazzei 2023

Dear future student,

For each chapter you will need to read the book and do the videos, yes both. My experience was to watch all videos and then read the book, then move on to the discussion posts and projects for the week. Please do not copy this.

To save time and gain understanding, I suggest reading the book chapters first, followed by everything else at once. Sounds stressful, but the discussion post and project require the use of whatever function is being taught in the videos. Beginning the videos and following along the step by step process using your own sketch will create the most steady progress and understanding, so that you don't have to search back through the videos for that one step you forgot about so that your program runs.

Hope this helps,
Walter Sterling

Hello everyone,

First and foremost, this class is a lot of fun. It is fun because it makes you a stronger student by learning and overcoming your weaknesses. My best suggestions to be successful in this class would be:

Make a schedule weekly and plan out your assignments because this course happens fast, but if you organize and manage your time you will make the stress disappear. Take advantage of the interactions with your professor! Schedule meetings or attend the Q&As if you have questions. P.S. There may be extra credit involved if you go to those events...
Explore other sources of information to learn. Do not just rely on the textbook to give you all the answers. Use Google!!!
Personally, if a past student would have told me what this class would have entailed, I would have probably taken it easier and not pushed as hard. My point is, do not give up or think you have it in the bag just because someone said it's too hard or it's dumb. Do it for the betterment of you and your skills.

Taking and completing this course right shows by far the most I have ever grown in both being a student and a person, because not only did I push to get a good grade, but it taught me what I can do if I want it bad enough.

I hope everyone has a great rest of the semester,
Jacob Nunamaker

One thing I would recommend to the next students to take this course is to make sure they really like coding as at times I started to hate it. Coding can be a lot of fun and is definitely very interesting to learn about but I believe it would have helped if we were given more time for the course to help really master what we learn before moving onto more difficult tasks within coding. I recommend that students taking this course dedicate a lot of their time doing practice programs. What I mean by that is after a project create another one on your own to really test your skills and to become better at writing code and getting familiar at processing. Overall, I think that if students remain strong and push past those initial hardships of coding they will very much enjoy it and if for some reason you cannot figure out a certain aspect of the code to not let it discourage them. I personally have struggled trying to figure out exactly how to get things to work properly. For those taking this course next, good luck!
Tyler Syrek

To whom it may concern:
I would say that the biggest suggestions I can make to anyone thinking about taking this course is to allot plenty of time each day so you can EXCEL instead of just get by. Due to how little free time I have, it was really hard for me to get good at the coursework, but I wish I would have tried to make just a little bit more time for it.

I wish that I would have been able to ask a former student or been able to get a head start on this coursework or even start reading the textbook so I had a better foundation at the start of this course. I have had no prior related coursework and this was similar to learning a foreign language to me.

If I were to leave any future student of this class with some words of advice, they would be: ask questions, watch the videos provided, take plenty of notes, and MAKE TIME! It will benefit you in the end.

James Monigold