B CUSP 110C – Digital Thinking: Animation, Video Games, and the Social Web

Autumn 2012

Room UW1-120, T/TR 1:15pm – 3:15pm
Center for University Studies and Programs

University of Washington Bothell




Jack Chang

Office Hours

Tu/Th: 3:30 – 5:30

(right after classes)




UW1-310 (CSS Windows Lab)



Kelvin Sung


Office Hours

Wed: 1:00-2:00 pm

Wed: 3:00-5:00 pm

Or by appointment




(phone for appointments only please)



We will be learning:

The ideas and practices of computational thinking: creatively explore and solve computational problems; study and understand computing and computer science from societal perspective; and examine the ethical implications of new computing technologies. After this class, students will have understanding of the practices of computational thinking, including:


·         Connecting Computing: draw connections between different computing concepts, e.g., Boolean Algebra, Artificial Intelligence, Networking, Database

·         Developing Computational Artifacts: e.g. personal web site, video games, mobile applications

·         Abstracting: apply abstraction at multiple levels ranging from binary representation to social network applications

·         Analyzing Problems and Artifacts: apply computational techniques and strategies to analyze and evaluate computational work

·         Communicating: describe computation and impact of technology and computation


A word about this class: The materials from this course are based mostly on Professor Lawrence Snyder’s CSE120 pilot implementation of the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science: Principles course.



Reading materials will be handed out in classes, and we will use the following book in our discussion of privacy.


Required Textbook: 

o    Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty and Happiness after the Digital Explosion, Hal Abelson, Ken Leeden, and Harry Lewis, 2010. This book is free on-line at: http://www.bitsbook.com/excerpts/. 


Reference book: 

o    Getting Started with Processing, by Casey Reas and Ben Fry, O'Reilly 2010. This is a an easy read, good reference for working with Processing. We will read around 40-50 pages from this book. If you buy this book used from on-line, it can cost less than $10-, well worth the price!

·         Book website: http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920000570.do

·         Buying the book from amazon or barns and nobles.



Homework Assignments (6-8)











Homework: practice and verify concepts. Two day assignments, should take one to two hours. Mostly online.

Project: A two-to-three-week project, opportunity for substantial computing experience.

Participation: bulletin board and classroom discussions/exercises + in-class quizzes.

Midterm and Final: open notes + book, emphasize on how to study.









Lightbot 2.0

Sep 25, 27


More with Lightbot 2.0

Practice With Abstraction

Oct 2, 4


A Social Contract

Basic Programming

Oct 9, 11


Programming: Test and Repeat


Oct 16, 18


Digital Representation

Instruction Execution + Functions

Oct 24, 26


Bits of Color

Mid-Term (one-page note or open book)

Oct 30

Nov 1


Fundamental Principle of Information

Universality + Recursion

Nov 6, 8


Algorithm Design + AI


Nov 13, 15


Domain Name System

Searching, Page Rank, Big Data

Thanksgiving (Thursday no class)

Nov 20, 22


Data & Meta Data & XML


Nov 27, 29



Final Review

Dec 4, 6


Final Exam (two-page note or open book)

Dec 11



General Policies:

Assignment Deadlines: There will be no late assignments accepted. Let me put this in another way, there will be no late assignments accepted. These apply to both in-class exercise and homework assignments. Pay attention to the deadline on the assignments (including the time), there will be no late assignments accepted. Let me explain this again, there will be no late assignments accepted. I am actually a reasonable person, come talk to me about exceptional circumstances. You know the deadlines now please plan ahead.


Lateness to classes: Coming to class on time and coming to all classes are important. We will typically have quizzes at the beginning of classes and in-class activities that require on-line submissions. These activities will count towards your participation in this class. Late arrivals interrupt our in-progress activities and discussions. If you must miss a class session, let the instructor know as soon as possible so that you can make up the work that you miss.


Commitments and such: I am easy going. I like relaxed classrooms for learning and will try my best to create such an environment. Please do not confuse relax environment with relax requirements. I work hard, and expect students to work as hard.


Technology in the Classroom: Since technology is profoundly linked to education, there will be many times when I ask that you employ different tools in the gathering and expression of knowledge. Since, however, education is also more than technology, please turn off all laptops, cell phones, iPods, etc before the start of class and I will let you know when we’ll make use of them. Warning (very sternly): each violation of this policy (e.g., facebook, play game, personal email) will result in the deduction of 1% of your grade!


The Discovery Core (DC) Sequence and B CUSP 110 (DC-I):

The DC Sequence includes a DC I in the Fall, a DC II in the Winter, and a DC III in the spring. Each course emphasizes student creativity and analysis, interdisciplinarity, integrated learning, undergraduate research skills, and self-reflection.  The sequence is capped by the spring DC III course in which you create a Portfolio that is both reflective and projective, looking back at what you have learned and ahead to the directions you’d like to explore.  Read more about the Discovery Core and Advising issues at http://www.uwb.edu/cusp/courses/the-discovery-core.



Academic Conduct


Student Code of Conduct: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=478-120:


The university is a public institution having special responsibility for providing instruction in higher education, for advancing knowledge through scholarship and research, and for providing related services to the community. As a center of learning, the university also has the obligation to maintain conditions conducive to freedom of inquiry and expression to the maximum degree compatible with the orderly conduct of its functions. For these purposes, the university is governed by the rules, regulations, procedures, policies, and standards of conduct that safeguard its functions and protect the rights and freedoms of all members of the academic community.”

“An instructor has the authority to exclude a student from any class session in which the student is disorderly or disruptive. If the student persists in the disorderly or disruptive conduct, the instructor should report the matter to the dean of the school or college, or, at the University of Washington Bothell and Tacoma campuses, to the dean or director of the program in which the student is enrolled.”


Academic Integrity and Plagiarism: See http://www.uwb.edu/studentservices/academicconduct

for crucial information regarding academic integrity.  The library also has an extremely useful website with resources at http://libguides.uwb.edu/ai.  You are responsible for knowing what constitutes a violation of the University of Washington Student Code, and you will be held responsible for any such violations whether they were intentional or not.  Plagiarism is one of the most common violations of academic integrity, so please pay attention to both the web information and when your instructor explains all of this in class. In short, do your own work, and clearly cite all your sources. If you are unsure, ask for help!


Privacy: The opinion you expressed (in class discussion, in written assignments, on our course discussion board), are yours. None of this information will be shared with anyone, not even your parents.


Special Needs

If you believe that you have a disability and would like academic accommodations, please contact Disability Resources for Students (UW1-175) at 425.352.5307 or at drs@uwb.edu. In most cases, you will need to provide documentation of your disability as part of the review process. I will coordinate with the University to ensure that the appropriate accommodations are made in this class.


Other potentially useful/important information

H1N1 and Other Communicable Diseases Action Steps:

As part of the campus community’s shared responsibility for minimizing the possible spread of H1N1 virus and other diseases this year, it is critical that all students are familiar with the symptoms of H1N1 Flu described on the UW Bothell website at http://www.uwb.edu/flu. Any student or instructor with flu-like symptoms is encouraged to stay at home until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. If you are sick and have an extended absence, please speak with me regarding alternative ways to maintain your progress in your courses. If I am sick and need to cancel class, I will post an announcement on Blackboard.


Inclement Weather:

Please check if the campus may be closed due to weather. Information about

suspension of operations will be made public and available through the media. Students can learn of campus operations status from the website or by calling the Campus Information Hotline 425.352.3333. You may also sign up with an alert system that will contact you via email or text message if classes are canceled. For more information on the alert process, please see http://www.uwb.edu/alert. Class activities will be rescheduled as needed.


Student Support Services:

IT Helpdesk: IT@uwb.edu  , 425-352-3456

Library: http://library.uwb.edu/ 425-352-5340

Writing Center: www.uwb.edu/WritingCenter/ 425-352-5253

Quantitative Skills Center: http://www.uwb.edu/qsc     425-352-3170

Student Success Services:  http://www.uwb.edu/cusp/studentsuccess 425-352-3776

Career Services:  http://www.uwb.edu/careers 425-352-3706

Student Counseling Services: http://www.uwb.edu/studentservices/counseling    425-352-3183