Course: V22.0004.003 Computers in Principle and Practice ::::::::::::::::: home :: syllabus :: readings :: assignments :: lectures
Sana` Odeh
Clinical Assistant Professor
Computer Science Department
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences
New York University

Email: odeh (AT) cs (DOT) nyu (DOT) edu

Office: 251 Mercer Street, Room 418 :: New York City, 10012 :: Tel.: 212-998-3118 :: Fax: 212-995-4124

V22.0004.003 Course Syllabus

Course General Information

Class hours: Monday & Wednesday, 3:30 pm - 4:45pm in CIWW Room 102
Office hours: Monday & Wednesday 1:30 pm- 3:00 pm, room 418 in WWH, or at other times by appointment
Class Mailing list: (sign up by first week of classes)
Grader email account (Jane Chen):

Final Exam: W 12/22 4:00-5:50 PM, Room TBA
View Lab Tutor Hours
View Important dates

In this course, we will expose you to the exciting, current developments in the world of computers and the Internet, especially in the areas of technology, business, copyright, civil liberties, privacy and security. We will also talk about (and demonstrate) the use of spreadsheets & Databases, publishing tools, presentation software, web development and some multimedia tools.

Help: Whenever you have a question about the course material, please feel free to drop by during my office hours or write me an email message. If at any time you feel that you are falling behind or are overwhelmed by the material, let me know: I will be very happy to help you.

Important dates

* Fall classes begin Tuesday, September 7
* Last day for withdrawing from a course without a "W" Monday, September 27
* Last day for withdrawing from a course ("W" will appear on transcript) TBA
* Thanksgiving recess: Thursday, November 25 and Friday November 26
* Last day of classes Thursday, December 14
* Reading day Wednesday, December 15
* Final exam schedule; All Fall 2004 final exams Thursday, December 16 - Thursday, December 23

Required Text Books

Note: This book is now listed as "Optional" instead of "Required".
Fluency with Information Technology: Skills, Concepts, and Capabilities
Lawrence Snyder, University of Washington
Published by Addison Wesley
ISBN: 0-201-75491-6

Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide
By J. Tarin Towers.
Published by Peachpit Press.
Series: Visual QuickStart Guide.
ISBN: 0321213394

Photoshop cs for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide
By Elaine Weinmann, Peter Lourekas.
Published by Peachpit Press.
Series: Visual QuickStart Guide.
ISBN: 032121353X

Excel X for Mac OS X: Visual QuickStart Guide
By Maria Langer.
Published by Peachpit Press.
Series: Visual QuickStart Guide.
ISBN: 0201758423

Optional text

Mac OS X 10.3 Panther: Visual QuickStart Guide
By Maria Langer.
Published by Peachpit Press.
Series: Visual QuickStart Guide.
ISBN: 0321213513

Word X for Mac OS X: Visual QuickStart Guide
By Maria Langer.
Published by Peachpit Press.
Series: Visual QuickStart Guide.
ISBN: 0201758431

There are many other books that cover the same topics, and you are welcome to explore other computer books. In addition, there are many tutorials and resources on-line for learning about computers and software. We will post links to many on-line resources during the semester. Please feel free to let us know of sites that contain information and examples which you think would be of benefit to all of the students.

About the course

There are several goals to this course. The title "Computers in Principle and Practice" is intended to emphasize the two important elements of the course: Learning how to use computers and understanding the concepts behind them as well. We will expose you to the exciting, current developments in the world of computers and the Internet, especially in the areas of technology, business, copyright, civil liberties, privacy and security. In this course, we will talk about (and demonstrate) the use of word processors, spreadsheets, publishing tools, presentation software, web development and some multimedia tools. In addition, we will tell you something about hardware and the history of computing. The development of computer technology is one of the great stories of the Twentieth Century. All educated (and voting!) citizens should know about computers. In addition, becoming familiar with advanced aspects of word processing, spreadsheet applications and other programs should assist you in many occupations and endeavors for years to come.


You will be encouraged to use the computer as much as possible, because this will be useful for you in your college career and beyond. The practical goals of the course are to teach you:

  • Basic operating system skills
  • Word processing and desktop publishing concepts and practice
  • Spreadsheets
  • Internet tools
  • Web authoring
  • Multimedia (using "Photoshop" and "ImageReady" with GIF Animation among others)


Your greatest reward is the knowledge and experience that you receive by taking the course. You will also receive a grade. The assignments (see below) will count for 50% of the grade. The midterm will count for 20%, and the final exam counts for the remaining 30%.


In all, there will probably be about eight or nine assignments. It is important not to get behind in turning in assignments. If you do get behind, we still want you to do the assignment, so it is better to turn in a late assignment than to skip it and you may wish to speak with your instructor about this. However, late assignments will be severly penalized, and may not be graded except to note that the assignment was turned in. Assignments that you turn in should be your own work. It is fine to talk to other students and to get assistance in how to do something, but you should not ask your fellow students to actually do the work for you. When you turn in an assignment, you are saying that you have done this work yourself. The definition of plagiarism is to present someone else's work as though it were your own. Do not do this.


Apple computers with all software packages pre-installed will be made available to you. Theoretically, you do not need a home computer nor do you need to purchase any software. However, you will be learning how to use various software packages, and if you have a home computer, you may want to have access to the software at home. In this case, you must purchase your own copy.

We will be using software from the Microsoft Office suite of applications (the "Standard" package, not the "Professional" package). This software costs about $200, which is at the educational discount price, and is available at the NYU Computer Bookstore. There are several versions available. The latest version on Mac OS X is "Microsoft Office X" for the Macintosh and "Microsoft Office XP" for Windows machines. There are differences, but the differences are not terribly important to the course. Please note that we will be using Microsoft Office X for Macintosh (the version available in the Mac labs) as the basis for this course.

We will also be using Internet Explorer and Netscape. This software is available for free for educational purposes, which is the purpose we are using it for. This software is useful only if you have a network connection, either at the lab, or at home through a "PPP" connection. You can obtain the browsers and other software provided by ITS to all students by picking up the latest NYU-Net CD from the ITS office at 10 Astor Place or on-line.

We will be exploring the World Wide Web, and creating graphics for it. The graphics package we will use is Adobe Photoshop CS and for web authoring, we will be working in Macromedia's DreamWeaver MX 2004. We will use both to create our final web projects.

Saving your work in the lab

You will not be able to save your work on Zip disks in the ITS labs but rather you will need to store all of your assignments and course work under your NYU Home Account. Although you can write to the hard disks of the machines in the labs, you cannot be sure that you will have access to the same machine the next time you enter the lab. The best option is to upload your files online and download them as needed (we will go over this in class).

Home computers

Many students will have access to home computers or computers at work. It is fine to do your assignments on whatever resources you have available. Of course, you will also need access to the appropriate software (a recent version of Word, a recent version of Excel, etc.) In the first half of the course, a few assignments will be turned in by printing out a document and turning in the printout with your name written on the paper or submitting the file on disk or via email. In some cases, you will need to pick up a file from the lab computers (or off of the Internet using a World Wide Web address), but you are not required to do your assignment at the NYU lab. You may find it advantageous to visit the lab however since there will be a tutor available 20 hours per week, and other students can sometimes assist you with general features of the programs.

Some students decide to purchase a computer while taking this course. Since you have computers available to you at the labs, it might be advisable to wait until later in the course, when you have more experience and information about your options. Many people like the idea of owning a laptop. However, for the same money, you can get about twice as much computer by buying a desktop. You do not need to bring a computer to class. However, you do need to be prepared to spend lots of time in the computer labs or on your home or business computer.

Using the computer facilities

The main computer labs to use for this class are in the the North Dorm and in the Education building.

  • Third Avenue North Lab is located at 75 Third Avenue, Level C3 (downstairs) near 12th Street.

  • Multimedia lab is located in the Education Building, at 35 W. 4th Street, on the second floor.

  • There are other labs, although those are the main two with Macintosh computers. You use your ID card to gain access to the computer labs.

Course Computer Account

In addition to your NYU Home Account, we will be using a special computer account which will be assigned to you automatically based upon your enrollment.  This is called an “i5” account, and we will use it for our web sites.

You are also given a "PPP" account when you enroll at the University, which allows you to log onto your "Home account" from any computer with a modem, such as from your machine. You are not required to use this account, but it might be useful for checking email and surfing the web, for example.

Course Home Page

In addition, we will explain how these programs can interact. You will be encouraged to view the Internet as a resource for exploring, learning, and research. At the same time, we want you to understand some of the components of the computer and of the networks that connect computers. Comprehension of the components will perhaps someday enable you to exploit computers in ways that others have not yet invented, and give you an advantage in business or in your endeavors.

An EXTREMELY important part of the course will be to keep track of the Class Web Page. This is available by accessing the Computer Science Department Home Page at:

From there, choose "Course Home Pages" and then your section of "V22.0004". After the first few days, very few paper handouts will be given. Most information, including assignments, will be posted on the class Web Page, and you will be responsible for reading them on a regular basis.

Department Links


Updated Fall 2004 :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ::::::::::::::::::::::::  |