Computer Science for Everyone


    General Information

    Professor Information

    Professor Photo
    Professor Cristy Charters
    (305) 348-7981
    ECS 319
    Fridays 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM via Adobe Connect

    Course Description And Purpose

    This course is designed as an undergraduate-level course covering an introduction to the breadth and excitement of computing.  The course will include the social context of computing, various computing principles, and computing’s relevance to all disciplines.  It is intended to serve students with little or no background in Computer Science.  

    The course consists of three main modules, each comprised of several submodules related to the Seven Big Ideas of Computing.  Within each of the submodules, the following sections will be found:

    • reading assignments
    • discussion board postings
    • instructional videos and related activities 
    • projects or programming assignments 

    Modules will become available to students one at a time, in four week time blocks. Within each module’s timeframe, corresponding assignments must be turned in.  Two thirds of the course will be spent on the Seven Big Ideas of Computing, and the other third of the course will be spent learning two programming languages, and applying them in small projects.  All work will be evaluated within two weeks of submission.  

    Communication will take place primarily via email, weekly virtual office hours using Adobe Connect, and announcements via Blackboard.  By the end of the course, students should have learned how Computer Science can be applied to solve problems in a multitude of disciplines.

    Course Objectives

    Students will be able to explain and give examples of selected big ideas of computing, including simple algorithms, abstraction, design, simulations, and the limits of computation.  

    They will be able to articulate the relevance of computing in the modern world.

    Students will also be able to create computer programs that demonstrate elementary programming techniques, including branching, loops, and calculations.  They will be able to create simple simulations and games that include graphical interfaces.

    Students will be able to describe the anatomy of a computer, and explain the relevance of computing applications and simulations in various disciplines in the modern world.  

    Students will be able to create written presentations that identify how computers affect society, including issues of:

    • digital privacy.
    • electronic documents.
    • web searches and page rankings.
    • intellectual property on the Web.
    • digital encryption and censorship.

    Students will be able to problem-solve using the following Computational Thinking skills : 

    • abstraction / functions.
    • decomposition.
    • pattern-matching.
    • simple algorithms.

    Students will be able to apply programming skills in App Inventor by:

    • designing interfaces and for mobile applications.
    • programming simple mobile apps, simulations and game. 

    Students will be able to demonstrate programming techniques in Python by the use of:

    • variables.
    • loops.
    • decision structures.
    • arrays and lists.
    • searches.
    • calculations.

    Teaching Methodology

    This is a fully online course in which all of the instructional materials and activities are delivered through Blackboard, and/or other internet-based media.  Should you have any questions, please contact the instructor.

    Important Information


    Please review the FIU's Policies webpage. The policies webpage contains essential information regarding guidelines relevant to all courses at FIU, as well as additional information about acceptable netiquette for online courses.

    Technical Requirements & Skills

    One of the greatest barriers to taking an online course is a lack of basic computer literacy. By computer literacy we mean being able to manage and organize computer files efficiently, and learning to use your computer's operating system and software quickly and easily. Keep in mind that this is not a computer literacy course; but students enrolled in online courses are expected to have moderate proficiency using a computer. Please go to the "What's Required" webpage to find out more information on this subject.

    Please visit our Technical Requirements webpage for additional information.

    Accessibility And Accommodation

    The Disability Resource Center collaborates with students, faculty, staff, and community members to create diverse learning environments that are usable, equitable, inclusive and sustainable. The DRC provides FIU students with disabilities the necessary support to successfully complete their education and participate in activities available to all students. If you have a diagnosed disability and plan to utilize academic accommodations, please contact the Center at 305-348-3532 or visit them at the Graham Center GC 190.

    Please visit our ADA Compliance webpage for information about accessibility involving the tools used in this course.

    Please visit Blackboard's Commitment Accessibility webpage for more information. 

    For additional assistance please contact FIU's Disability Resource Center.

    Course Prerequisites

    There are no prerequisites for this course. 

    Proctored Exam Policy

    This course will not include proctored exams. 


    All required textbooks are provided freely online within the Blackboard modules, as they are needed.  

    Each chapter of Blown to Bits, by Hal Abelson, Ken Ledeen, and Harry Lewis, is provided in modules 1 & 2 of this course.  In module 3, Interactive Python by Runstone Interactive is provided freely, as well as App Inventor Course-in-a-Box - 7 Essential Tutorial Modules.

    Expectations Of This Course

    This is an online course, which means most (if not all) of the course work will be conducted online. Expectations for performance in an online course are the same for a traditional course. In fact, online courses require a degree of self-motivation, self-discipline, and technology skills which can make these courses more demanding for some students.

    Students are expected to:

    • Review the how to get started information located in the course content.
    • Introduce yourself to the class during the first week, by posting a self-introduction in the appropriate discussion forum.
    • Take the practice quiz to ensure that your computer is compatible with Blackboard.
    • Interact online with instructor and peers.
    • Review and follow the course calendar.
    • Log in to the course 3 times a week, especially on Fridays 2 – 3pm, during virtual office hours.
    • Respond to discussion boards within 7 days.
    • Respond to emails within 3 days.
    • Submit assignments by the corresponding deadline posted with the assignment.

    The instructor will:

    • Log in to the course 3 times per week.
    • Respond to discussion boards within 5 days.
    • Respond to emails within 2 days.
    • Grade assignments within 7 days of the assignment deadline.

    Course Detail

    Course Communication

    Communication in this course will take place via email, or attendance to Friday virtual meetings via Adobe Connect.

    The Email feature is an external communication tool that allows users to send emails to users enrolled within the course.  Emails are sent to the students’ FIU email on record.  The Email tool is located on the Course Menu, on the left side of the course webpage.

    Discussion Forums

    Keep in mind that your discussion forum postings will likely be seen by other members of the course. Care should be taken when determining what to post.

    General Forum Expectations:

    • This forum is for general conversations.
    • Posts will not be graded. 

    Introduce Yourself Forum Expectations:

    • Please introduce yourself during the first week of class. 
    • Please follow the guidelines in the forum. 

    Module Discussion Forum Expectations:

    • Discussion questions are posted within modules, to provide students the opportunity to analyze and evaluate the assigned readings or tutorials.  
    • The approximate length of a response should be determined by the need to provide sufficient details for a thorough analysis and evaluation of the topic.  100 words or 10 lines per postings should serve as a guide.
    • Each discussion forum will be available for posting on the first day of that module's Big Idea until the last day that the Big Idea is available. For example, the discussion board for Big Idea #7 in Module 1 will be available  from 1/25 - 1/31.
    • Students should read the materials and tutorials within the module prior to answering the forum question.  
    • Forum responses will be evaluated based on the quality of the analysis, the evidence supporting the evaluation of the forum topic, and the examples provided. A rubric will be provided for each discussion assignment. 
    • Feedback and grades will be provided to students within 7 days of the forum responses.

    Visit our Writing Resources webpage for more information on professional writing and technical communication skills.


    In order to mitigate any issues with your computer and online assessments, it is very important that you take the "Practice Quiz" from each computer you will be using to take your graded quizzes and exams. It is your responsibility to make sure your computer meets the minimum hardware requirements.

    Quiz Expectations

    • A graded quiz will be available for each video posted in a module for a total of 21 quizzes. 
    • Quizzes will be available during the entirety of the module and will be due at 11:59 PM on the last module availability date.
    • The duration will 15 - 30 minutes. Specific duration will be indicated for each quiz directly before the student begins the assessment. 
    • Students will be able to see the score immediately upon submission. 

    Exam Expectations

    • There will be four exams as noted below.
      • Exam 1 - at the conclusion of Modules 1 & 2  - available Friday, 2/26/16 at 12:00 AM EST - Sunday, 2/28/16 at 11:59 PM EST
      • Exam 2 - midway of Module 3 (Python)  - available Friday, 4/1/16 at 12:00 AM EST - Sunday, 4/3/16 at 11:59 PM EST
      • Exam 3 - at the conclusion of Module 3 (App Inventor)  - available Friday, 4/29/16 at 12:00 AM EST - Sunday, 5/1/16 at 11:59 PM EST
    • Each exam will be 60 minutes in duration
    • Questions will be in multiple choice format. 
    • Students will see the results immediately upon submission.
    • Only the total score will display, with the questions, but not the answers.

    Assessments in this course are not compatible with mobile devices and should not be taken through a mobile phone or a tablet. If you need further assistance please contact FIU Online Support Services.



    Within each of the three main modules, there will be two projects related to the module topics for a total of six projects. Each will be assigned for students to complete within the time frame allotted for the main module.  

    • Non-programming projects should be created using MS Word or MS PowerPoint, providing a cover page/slide with the name and Panther id of the student, the full name of the project, the due date, the purpose of the project, using font size 12, single spacing.
    • Programming projects should be created using either Python or App Inventor, depending on the assignment.  They should be thoroughly commented throughout, as well as at the beginning of the program.  
    • Due dates will be posted with each project, and deadlines must be adhered to, subject to a late penalty of 10% for each day late, up to the 5th day late.  After that, late programs will not be accepted.  
    • Projects and programs must be submitted in the Assignment drop box.
    • Each project will be posted with an established rubric, to ensure uniform evaluations.
    • Each project should be completed by individual students.
    • The turnaround time for feedback is 7 days. 

    Optional Activities

    • Throughout the course, you will find optional activities that are meant to reinforce the content you are learning via readings, videos, and tutorials. 
    • These activities will not be graded, but are meant to help you grasp the material in which you will be assessed via projects, quizzes, and exams. 

    Adobe Connect Pro Meeting

    Adobe Connect is an online meeting room where you can interact with your professor and fellow students by sharing screens, sharing files, chatting, broadcasting live audio, and taking part in other interactive online activities. We will be utilizing this tool to conduct virtual office hours on Fridays from 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM. 

    Meetings will be conducted on the following dates: 

    • Meeting 1 - 1/15
    • Meeting 2 - 1/29
    • Meeting 3 - 2/12
    • Meeting 4 - 2/26
    • Meeting 5 - 3/11
    • Meeting 6 - 3/25
    • Meeting 7 - 4/8
    • Meeting 8 - 4/22

    Requirements for using Adobe Connect:

    1. Disable any window pop-up blocker.
    2. Adobe Flash Player is required to successfully run your Adobe Connect meeting. You can test your computer to make sure your computer and network connections are properly configured to provide you with the best possible Adobe Connect meeting experience.
    3. Use of a combination headset and microphone with USB connection is recommended to ensure quality sound and reduce technical difficulties

    Reference Adobe Connect (Tutorials & Help) to learn about the tool, how to access your meeting rooms and recordings.



    Course Requirements Number of Items Points for Each Total Points Available Weight
    Quizzes (1 per video)  7 * 3 = 21 50 1050 25%
    Exams (1 per module) 3 200 600 15%
    Discussion Forum 4 * 3 = 12 100 1200 26%

    Non-Programming Projects

    • Innovation Research Project
    • Internet Issues Presentation
    2 250 500 16%

    Programming Projects

    • Python Project 1
    • Python Project 2
    • App Inventor Project 1
    • App Inventor Project 2
    4 250 1000 17%
    Total 30 N/A 4700 100%
    Letter Range (%) Letter Range (%) Letter Range (%)
    A Above 93 B- 81 - 83 D+ 67 - 70
    A- 91 - 92 C+ 77 - 80 D 64 - 66
    B+ 87 - 90 C 74 - 76 D- 61 - 63
    B 84 - 86 C- 71 - 73 F < 61

    Course Calendar

    Course Calender

    Course Calendar


    Module Week Big Idea Activities Submit
    (See Course Content for optional activities available)


    1/11 - 1/17

    Big Idea #1


    • Blown to Bits: Ch. 1
    • Introduction to the Digital Explosion

    Watch Video(s):

    • Computer science is for everyone

    Adobe Connect Office Hours:
    1/15/2016 from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM



    Discussion Board Posting(s):

    • Truths Related to the Internet

    Quiz: Take quiz on video's content


    1/18 - 1/24


    1/25 - 1/31

    Big Idea #7


    • Blown to Bits: Ch. 2 and 4

    Watch Video(s):

    • The Impact of Innovations
    • How We Got to Now - Six Innovations That Made the Modern World

    Adobe Connect Office Hours:
    1/29/2016 from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

    Discussion Board Posting(s):

    • Innovations

    Quiz: Take quizzes on video's content

    Research: for Innovation Research Project


    2/1 - 2/7

    Big Idea #3


    • Blown to Bits: Ch. 3 and 6

    Watch Video(s):

    • The Internet, Wires, Cables & Wifi
    • Computer Science Unplugged - Binary Numbers
    • Images, Pixels and RGB
    • Digital Compression

    Adobe Connect Office Hours:
    2/5/2016 from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

    Discussion Board Posting(s):
    • File Compression
    • Cloud Service Concerns
    • How a Device Transmits Data

    Quiz: Take quiz on video's content

    Optional activities available. See Course Content for additional information.



    2/8 - 2/14

    Big Idea #6


    • Blown to Bits: Ch. 4

    Watch Video(s):

    • How Search Engines Treat Data
    • Why Do We Need IP Address?
    • Page Rankings and Search Engines
    • The Internet of Things

    Adobe Connect Office Hours:
    2/14/2016 from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

    Optional activity available. See Course Content for additional information.


    2/15 - 2/21


    • Blown to Bits: Ch. 7
    • Blown to Bits: Appendix - The Internet as System and Spirit

    Watch Video(s):

    • BJC Lecture: The Internet
    • The Internet: IP Addresses and DNS
    Optional activity available. See Course Content for additional information.


    2/22 - 2/28


    • Blown to Bits: Ch. 5
    • Encryption Vocabulary

    Watch Video(s):

    • The Internet: Encryption & Public Keys
    • The Internet: Cybersecurity & Crime
    • Cloud Computing Evolution - Interactive Web Navigation


    • Encryption Presentation
    • Evolution of the Web - An App

    Discussion Board Posting(s):

    • Cyber Security

    Internet Issues Presentation

    Optional activity available. See Course Content for additional information.

    Exam 1 available Friday, 2/26/16 at 12:00 AM EST - Sunday, 2/28/16 at 11:59 PM EST




    2/29 - 3/6

    Big Idea #2


    • What is an Abstraction?
    • Introduction to Logic, Flowcharts & Pseudocode
    • How to Create a Flowchart with MS Word

    Watch Video(s):

    • Human Computers video
    • How a Computer Works
    • Problem Solving with Flowcharts
    Discussion Board Posting(s):
    • Origins of Computing
    • Abstractions & How They Promote Problem Solving


    • Flowchart of PB & J Algorithm


    3/7 - 3/13

    Big Idea #4


    • Chapters 1-5, pages 1-65, in "Python for Informatics"
    • Python Interactive Online Texbook (Optional)
    • The Python Language Reference

    Watch Video(s):

    • The Magic of Algorithms
    • How to Install Python on Windows or Macs
    • Python Programming

    Adobe Connect Office Hours:
    3/11/2016 from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM


    • My First Python Program - Hello World - Hello Your Name
    • My Second Python Program - Calculate Pay Using 2 Floating Point Variables


    3/14 - 3/20

    Spring Break



    3/21 - 3/27

    Adobe Connect Office Hours:
    3/25/2016 from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM


    • My Third Python Program - Using Conditionals, Rewrite your Pay Computation Program
    • My Fourth Python Program - Using Functions, Rewrite Your Pat Computation Program
    • My Fifth Python Program - Using Loops
    • Final Python Program - Loop to read all numeric grades entered by user.


    3/28 - 4/3

    Big Idea #5


    • Selected Readings about Careers in Computer Science 
    • Let's Learn App Inventor 2 - (7-Part Tutorial)

    Watch Video(s):

    • Selected Readings about Careers in Computer Science 


    • My First App Tutorial - "I Have a Dream"
    • My Second App Tutorial - "Paint Pot"
    • Exam 2 available Friday, 4/1/16 at 12:00 AM EST - Sunday, 4/3/16 at 11:59 PM EST


    4/4 - 4/10

    Adobe Connect Office Hours:
    4/8/2016 from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM


    • My Third App Tutorial - "No Texting While Driving"
    • My Fourth App Tutorial - "Presidents Quiz"


    4/11 - 4/17



    • Storyboard of the proposed final project app


    4/18 - 4/24

    Adobe Connect Office Hours:
    4/22/2016 from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM


    4/25 - 5/1



    • E-Mail Instructor selected chapter from "Blown to Bits"
    • My Final App Inventor Program
    • Blown to Bits Tutorial
    • Exam 3 available Friday, 4/29/16 at 12:00 AM EST - Sunday, 5/1/16 at 11:59 PM EST