Introduction to Computers

CS 14A
Spring 1997


Thomas P. Kelliher
Hoyt 160
Office phone: 946-7290
Home phone: 946-3544
E-mail: Send mail to kelliher AT DOMAIN
Office hours: MW 1:45--3:15pm. TR 1:00--2:00pm. Other times by appointment.


Hoyt McElree Lab
MWF 8:00--9:00am

  1. To understand, at an appropriate level, how a computer works and the relevance of a PC's various components.
  2. To understand, at an appropriate level, how an operating system manages computer resources and how it provides services to application programs.
  3. To understand that a personal computer can be used for performing many different tasks: word processing, web browsing, electronic mail, etc.
  4. To become familiar with typical ``productivity software:'' word processors, spreadsheets, databases, presentation graphics, etc.
  5. To become familiar with the Internet and the tools associated with it: web browser, telnet, ftp, e-mail, etc.
  6. To understand how computing is an integral part of our society's infrastructure.
  7. To understand how computing fits (and doesn't fit) into our future.

  1. M. Meyer and R. Baber, Computers in Your Future, Que, 1995.
  2. D. Matherly and P. Winter, Excel 5 for Windows Essentials, Que, 1995.
  3. D. Clark, Internet Essentials, Que, 1995.
  4. L. Hefferin and L. Acklen, Word 6 for Windows Essentials, Que, 1995.

Required Materials:

For safekeeping important data, a few 3.5" floppy diskettes will come in handy. Required for learning how to format a floppy. Available in the bookstore.


Grade Distribution

A = [90--100]
B = [80--90)

I use +/- grading sparingly.

Course Point Distribution

There will be 840 total points for the class. They will be distributed as follows:

  1. Quizzes --- Quizzes will be given on alternate Fridays, at the beginning of class, and a final quiz will be given during the final period. If you cannot appear for a quiz, you must make arrangements with me beforehand (refer to the College's Student Regulations on absences from examinations). Seven quizzes, 60 points each.

  2. Papers --- Two 4--5 page papers, 60 points each. Some suggested topics:
    1. Buying a computer: must-have features, ``nice'' features, questionable features. Compare and contrast two PC systems.
    2. Analyze a software application; compare two examples of it.
    3. Explore an ethical issue related to computing or networked communications. For example, term paper archives.
    4. Explore an issue related to security or privacy in the electronic age. For example, electronic data gathering.
    5. A study of the use of computing and communications in your discipline.
    6. A study of future uses of computing and communications.
    If you have other ideas for topics, please discuss them with me.

  3. Projects --- Powerpoint presentation, spreadsheet analysis, Internet resource search, and personal home page. 60 points each.

  4. Attendance, participation. 60 points.

No extra credit is available.

Course Handouts:

Most course handouts will be made available once in class. After that, they may be obtained from my personal home page on the World Wide Web (see the URL above). I also expect to distribute quiz solutions through my home page.


Attendance of classes is expected and is a part of your grade. It is your responsibility to catch up on missed class work. Roll will be taken at 8:00am. Refer to the College's Student Regulations on class attendance and excused absences.


Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Refer to the College's Student Regulations on academic integrity.

Tentative Initial Schedule:

It is your responsibility to read the assigned material before class. What we do in class will not necessarily be what is in the reading.

All chapter readings, unless otherwise stated, are from Meyer & Baber. Any day during which an Essentials book is used, bring the book to class.

Feb. 5: Introduction. Units 1A and 1B.
Feb. 7: Internet I: e-mail and USENET. Unit 5C. Internet Essentials, Projects 1, 2, and 4. Exercise.

Feb. 10: Internet II: telnet. Internet resource search project handed-out. Exercise.
Feb. 12: Internet III: Gopher. Internet Essentials Project 5. Exercise
Feb. 14: Quiz 1. Internet IV: WWW. Internet Essentials Project 8. Exercise.

Feb. 17: Computer Hardware I. Chapters 2 and 10.
Feb. 19: Computer Hardware II.
Feb. 21: Internet resource search project due. Video: Inventing the Future. Unit 1C.

Feb. 24: MS Word I: basics. Unit 4A. Word Essentials Projects 1--3. Exercise.
Feb. 26: MS Word II: formatting. Word Essentials Project 4. Exercise
Feb. 28: Quiz 2. MS Word III: advanced formatting. Word Essentials Project 5. Exercise.

Mar. 3: Day to work on your paper.
Mar. 5: MS Word IV: tables and graphics. Word Essentials Project 6. Exercise.
Mar. 7: Paper 1 due. MS Word V: mail merge. Word Essentials Project 7. Exercise.

Mar. 10: Powerpoint presentation project handed-out. MS Word VI: macros and templates. Word Essentials Project 8. Exercise.
Mar. 12: Powerpoint I. Unit 4D. Exercise.
Mar. 14: Quiz 3. Powerpoint II. Exercise.

Mar. 17: Powerpoint III. Exercise.
Mar. 19: Video: The Paperback Computer
Mar. 21: Powerpoint presentation project due. MS Excel I: basics. Unit 4B. Excel Essentials Projects 1 and 2. Exercise.

Mar. 31: Spreadsheet project handed-out. MS Excel II: formatting and formulas. Excel Essentials Projects 3 and 4. Exercise.
Apr. 2: MS Excel III: multiple worksheets and cut-and-paste between applications. Excel Essentials Projects 5 and 8.
Apr. 4: Quiz 4. MS Excel IV: charts. Excel Essentials Project 6. Exercise.

Apr. 7: Databases. Unit 4C. Excel Essentials Project 7. Exercise.
Apr. 9: Operating systems I. Chapter 3. Bring a floppy disk for formatting (you will lose any data on the disk).
Apr. 11: Spreadsheet project due. Operating systems II, software. Unit 4E.

Apr. 14: The Information Revolution.
Apr. 16: Video: The Thinking Machine Chapter 9.
Apr. 18: Quiz 5. Open.

Apr. 21: Day to work on your paper.
Apr. 23: Home page I. Exercise.
Apr. 25: Paper 2 due.

Apr. 28: Personal home page project handed-out. Home page II. Exercise.
Apr. 30: Home page III. Exercise.
May 2: Quiz 6. Home page IV. Exercise.

May 5: Home page V. Exercise.
May 7: Day to work on your home page.
May 9: Personal home page project due. Future directions in computing. Chapter 6.

May 12: Video: The World at Your Fingertips. Chapter 8.

Thomas P. Kelliher
Mon Feb 3 11:45:41 EST 1997
Tom Kelliher