Computer Programming: Scientific Python

Computer Programming: Scientific Python


Credit Summer 2019
05/28/2019 - 07/30/2019

Course Information

Section 001
Distance Learning
Richard Baldwin

Office Hours

  • Sa
    See Note - --->
    See Note --->
    Due to some medical issues, office hours this semester will be limited to:
    1. Telephone at any time - leave message if no answer: (512) 223-4758
    2. Email at any time
    3. Video conference by appointment
    4. On-campus by appointment
    Don't hesitate to email or phone for an on-campus or video appointment.

Course Description / Rationale

DO NOT PURCHASE A TEXTBOOK FOR THIS COURSE. When you log into Blackboard, you can download a free electronic Study Guide for the course. You can also download a copy of the Study Guide from this syllabus. (See instructions in the Readings section of this syllabus.)

This syllabus applies to all sections of ITSE 1302 taught by Prof. Baldwin.

Important Notes

  • See the Main Web Page for this course here for additional information.
  • All students enrolled in this course are required to complete online orientation at the beginning of the course.  Click here and follow the instructions to complete the orientation process.

Logical steps for starting and completing this course

  1. Begin by reading this syllabus in its entirety paying particular attention to the section titled Course Requirements.
  2. Access the Assignment-XXX and TestXX sections for the course on Blackboard to get more specific information regarding the Assignments and the Tests.
  3. Access Instructions for Downloading and Submitting Assignments to get specific instructions for downloading and submitting assignments.
  4. Access Instructions for Accessing and Taking Blackboard Tests to get specific instructions for accessing and taking Blackboard tests.
  5. Go to Follow the link to the Main page for your course and complete the online orientation.
  6. Download the Study Guide from the Blackboard left-side menu. Work through the Study Guide from beginning to end.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to (scientific) computer programming including design, development, testing, implementation, and documentation. It may include: Python Fundamentals, functions, data structures, classes, objects, statistical programming, data visualization with MatPlotLib and Programming with the NumPy library.

Note that the word (scientific) was inadvertently omitted from the catalog description. Also note that this is not a programming course for beginners. If your knowledge of Python programming is not at or above a level consistent with the successful completion of COSC 1336, you may have difficulty succeeding in this course.

-end Description-

Student Learning Outcomes/Learning Objectives

IMPORTANT: See the link to the Main Web Page for this course on the Course Description / Rationale page for additional information about this course, including a requirement for online orientation.

Course Objectives/ Learning Outcomes

The purpose of this course and the follow-on course is to teach you how to work as a programmer in the technology area known generally as data science and analytics. Note however that these courses are designed to teach you the "how" but not the "why" of data science and analytics. For example, this course will teach you how to create a histogram for a dataset but won't necessarily teach you why you might need to create a histogram for the dataset.

In order to be hired as a data science programmer, you will probably also need to know the "why" in addition to the "how" and it will be your responsibility to learn the "why" on your own. The best way for you to learn the "why" will be to read every online article and watch every online video that you can find on data science and analytics. (The section titled Data science links in the course Study Guide contains links to many useful online data science resources. An Internet search will undoubtedly reveal other useful resources that are not included in that list. For example, an Internet search will reveal numerous websites containing data science interview questions.)  The webpage at Awesome Data Science - Motivation also provides a long list of links to data science resources.

-end of Outcomes-


IMPORTANT: See the link to the Main Web Page for this course on the Course Description / Rationale page for additional information about this course, including a requirement for online orientation.

Primary Teaching Vehicle:

The primary teaching vehicle for this course is the free electronic Study Guide that you can download from your Blackboard course site. You can also click here to download the Study Guide as a zip file. When you download the zip file:

  • Save the zip file in an empty folder on your computer.
  • Extract the contents of the zip file into the folder.
  • Open the file named _Index.htm in your browser.

You should see links to every page in the study guide in the order that you would normally study the material.

The Study Guide refers you to a variety of free online resources that you will need to study and understand in order to successfully complete this course.

-end of Readings-

Course Requirements

IMPORTANT: See the link to the Main Web Page for this course on the Course Description / Rationale page for additional information about this course, including a requirement for online orientation.

Assignment and Test Schedules

During the Fall and Spring semesters, this course is offered during the 16-week, 12-week, and 8-week sessions. In the summer, the course is offered in the 9-week session. The information in this section of the syllabus is intended to apply to all four sessions.

You must complete and submit the following twenty-one items:

  • Eighteen take-home programming assignments. (See Asg01-04, Asg05-12, and Asg13-18 in the left-side menu in Blackboard). Also see Instructions for Downloading and Submitting Assignments.
  • Three proctored Blackboard competency tests -- one for each of the three competencies. Each test carries the same grade value as a programming assignment. (See Test01, Test02, and Test03 in the left-side menu in Blackboard.) These tests are further described in the document titled Instructions for Accessing and Taking Blackboard Tests and in the Course Description / Rationale section of this syllabus.

You may submit each assignment up to two times on or before the submission deadline explained below. Your highest score among the two scores for each assignment will be used to compute your final grade.

You may take the proctored Test01, Test02, and Test03 up to two times each on or before their respective submission deadlines Your highest score among the scores for each test will be used to compute your final grade.

The submission deadlines for these twenty-one items vary depending on the session in which you are enrolled. You can find the submission deadline for each item by opening your course in Blackboard, selecting Tools from the left-side menu, and selecting My Grades. You can also find the submission deadline for each item by opening your Blackboard calendar. It will not be possible for you to submit an item after 11:59 PM on the date shown.

Note that submission deadlines may fall on holidays or on other days that the campus is closed. If so, you need to anticipate that circumstance and make appropriate arrangements in advance to avoid missing a deadline.

For general planning purposes, the deadline for the first assignment (Asg01) in the 16-week session is approximately four weeks following the first day of class. The remaining twenty deadlines occur approximately every four days thereafter.

The startup time and the time interval between deadlines is correspondingly shorter for the 12-week, 9-week, and 8-week sessions.

You are permitted and encouraged to submit your assignments and to take your tests early.

Code of conduct and copyright protection regarding assignments

Your professor is the copyright holder for all assignments used in this course. To receive credit for an assignment, you will be required to attest to a short-form certification statement similar to the following when you submit each assignment: "I certify that this program is my own work and is not the work of others. I agree not to share my solution with others."

The above statement is referred to as a short-form certification because it is intended to remind you that by enrolling in and pursuing this course of study, you agree to the following terms:

  • To the best of your knowledge (unless you explain otherwise), the solution that you submit for each assignment meets the requirements of the assignment.
  • The solution that you submit is your own work and is not the work of others.
  • You agree not to share the solution with anyone other than your professor now or in the future without the express written permission of your professor.
  • You agree not to distribute or publish the solution now or in the future without the express written permission of your professor.
  • You understand that failure to comply with these requirements could be a violation of ACC's Student Standards of Conduct and could be a violation of federal copyright laws and could therefore be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

Academic Testing Centers

This course requires you to complete online Blackboard tests in an ACC Academic Testing Center. It is your responsibility to make all necessary arrangements with the testing center to complete the tests, including accessibility, hours of operation, etc. It is also your responsibility to comply with the Testing Center Guidelines. (In the event that you find the above link broken, you can search for and access testing center requirements from the main ACC web site.)


See the ACC course catalog for the official prerequisites. This is not a programming course for beginners. If your knowledge of Python programming is not at or above a level consistent with the successful completion of COSC 1336, you may have difficulty succeeding in this course.

Grade Policy

Your grade will be based both on concepts and practical application.

Grading Scale

Letter grades will be assigned as follows:

90% - 100% A 
80% - 89%  B 
70% - 79%  C 
60% - 69%  D 
 0% - 59%  F 

Each of the twenty-one assignments and tests listed earlier will be weighted equally when computing your final grade. Depending on the final scores of all the students taking the course, it is possible that a curve may be applied to the final grades before they are submitted for recording.

-end of Requirements-

Course / Class Policies

IMPORTANT: See the link to the Main Web Page for this course on the Course Description / Rationale page for additional information about this course, including a requirement for online orientation.

Although it is technically possible for a student to transfer from one section to another section of the same course, this process has caused many problems in the past, and is not allowed unless the reasons for the transfer are compelling.  Students desiring to transfer between CIS/CSC courses must first obtain permission from an Assistant Dean for CIS/CSC who will initiate the paperwork.  (Note, however, that I will allow you to informally transfer between my in-class section and my distance-learning section of the same course at any time during the semester in those semesters where both are available.)

Here is the official information that I have received regarding Incomplete grades:

A student may receive a temporary grade of "I" (Incomplete) at the end of the semester only if ALL the following conditions are satisfied:

  1. The student is unable to complete the course during the semester due to circumstances beyond their control.
  2. The student must have earned at least half of the grade points needed for a “C” by the end of the semester.
  3. The request for the grade must be made in person at the instructor’s office and necessary documents completed.
  4. To remove an “I”, the student must complete the course by two weeks before the end of the following semester.  Failure to do so will result in the grade automatically reverting to an “F”.

To give you an idea of the gravity of the situation, I can recall having given a student a temporary grade of "I" only once during my entire teaching career at ACC.

Freedom of  Expression Policy: 
It is expected that faculty and students will respect the views of others when expressed in classroom discussions.

Academic Integrity:
A student is expected to complete his or her own projects and tests.  Students are responsible for observing the policy on academic integrity described in the Current ACC Student Handbook.

“Acts prohibited by the college for which discipline may be administered include scholastic dishonesty, including but not limited to cheating on an exam or quiz, plagiarizing, and unauthorized collaboration with another in preparing outside work.  Academic work submitted by students shall be the result of their own thought, research or self-expression.  Academic work is defined as, but not limited to tests, quizzes, whether taken electronically or on paper; projects, either individual or group; classroom presentations, and homework”. 

The penalty accessed for violations will be in accordance with the current ACC Student Handbook policy. See  for more information.

Attendance Policy:
The college policy states that students are expected to attend classes and will be held responsible for all material covered in class. Regular attendance helps ensure satisfactory progress towards completion of the course.

(Students enrolled in Open Campus classes are not expected to attend class.  Prof. Baldwin does not call the roll and does not maintain an official record of attendance.)

Withdrawal Policy:

It is the student's responsibility to complete a Withdrawal Form in the Admissions Office if the student wishes to withdraw from this course. The last date to withdraw is provided in the ACC Academic calendar for the semester in which the student is enrolled.

It is not the responsibility of the instructor to withdraw students from the course even though the instructor has the prerogative to do so under various circumstances. For example, the instructor may elect to withdraw students from the course if he notices at some point that any one or more of the following is true:

  • The student has failed to successfully complete and submit three or more assignments or tests in a row. (Successful completion is defined as a grade of at least 70-percent on the assignment or test.)
  • There is insufficient work remaining for the student to earn a final grade of at least 70-percent in the course.
  • The student has given the instructor reason to believe that the student is not actively engaged in the course.

A grade of "W" will be automatically assigned if the student initiates a withdrawal through the Admissions and Records office, in accordance with the requirements of that office or if the student is withdrawn from the course by the instructor.  If the student fails to complete the work and also fails to properly withdraw (and is not withdrawn by the instructor), a grade of A, B, C, D, or F will be assigned in accordance with the work that was completed.

State law regarding withdrawals:
My interpretation -- no more than six course withdrawals allowed throughout your undergraduate education, regardless of how many colleges you attend.  Apparently, students who entered college before Fall 2007 are not affected.  Ask a counselor for the official ACC interpretation.

Students with Disabilities Policy:
“Each ACC campus offers support services for students with documented physical or psychological disabilities. Students with disabilities must request reasonable accommodations through the Office for Students with Disabilities on the campus where they expect to take the majority of their classes. Students are encouraged to make this request three weeks before the start of the semester. (Refer to the Current ACC Student Handbook)”

Testing Center Policy (Open Campus Sections Only):
Visit the ACC web site at Select Search, and then search for the keywords testing center.

Concealed Handgun Policy
The Austin Community College District concealed handgun policy ensures compliance with Section 411.2031 of the Texas Government Code (also known as the Campus Carry Law), while maintaining ACC’s commitment to provide a safe environment for its students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

Beginning August 1, 2017, individuals who are licensed to carry (LTC) may do so on campus premises except in locations and at activities prohibited by state or federal law, or the college’s concealed handgun policy.

It is the responsibility of license holders to conceal their handguns at all times. Persons who see a handgun on campus are asked to contact the ACC Police Department by dialing 222 from a campus phone or 512-223-7999.

Refer to the concealed handgun policy online at

-end Policies-

Course Subjects

IMPORTANT: See the link to the Main Web Page for this course on the Course Description / Rationale page for additional information about this course, including a requirement for online orientation.

Four major units

The course is structured into four major units -- one review unit and three competency units.

The four units included in this course are:

  • Review -- Python functions, data structures, classes, and objects
  • Competency -- Statistical programming in Python
  • Competency -- Data visualization using Matplotlib
  • Competency -- Programming with the NumPy library

-end of Subjects-

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