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Learning goals

Identify the common resources available for developing software and evaluate the quality of the content. Understand important rules and conventions of software systems. Understand and apply common languages and tools used to develop real-world software. Apply collaborative work strategies when developing software. Analyze alternative software tools and select appropriate choices for the problem. Analyze software to diagnose problems and create solutions. Create and deploy a web application that reads, parses, and analyzes data.

Structure of the course

Most classes will include both a lecture and a collaborative in-class exercise There will be weekly homework assignments for students to practice that week’s material There will be a summative final project, in which students will integrate the tools and techniques they have learned into a cohesive whole.

Evaluation in the course will be approximately as follows:

  • Homeworks: 50%
  • Quizzes: 10%
  • Final project: 30%
  • Participation: 10%

Late days

For the homeworks, you will have a total of six (6) late days. You may use up to two (2) late days per assignment. To use a late day, you need to to message the course staff in a private message on slack, informing us that you will be using a late day.

Logistics and People

  • Main class: Monday, Wednesday 3:30PM-4:50PM (WEH 4707)
  • Recitation: Friday 4:00PM-4:50PM (WEH 4707)


  • Michael Hilton (
  • Josh Sunshine (

Research in the course.

For this class, we are conducting research on teaching and learning. This research will involve some student work. You will not be asked to do anything above and beyond the normal learning activities and assignments that are part of this course. You are free not to participate in this research, and your participation will have no influence on your grade for this course or your academic career at CMU. If you do not wish to participate, please send an email to Chad Hershock ( Participants will not receive any compensation. The data collected as part of this research will include student grades. All analyses of data from participants’ coursework will be conducted after the course is over and final grades are submitted. The Eberly Center may provide support on this research project regarding data analysis and interpretation. The Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation is located on the CMU-Pittsburgh Campus and its mission is to support the professional development of all CMU instructors regarding teaching and learning. To minimize the risk of breach of confidentiality, the Eberly Center will never have access to data from this course containing your personal identifiers. All data will be analyzed in de-identified form and presented in the aggregate, without any personal identifiers. If you have questions pertaining to your rights as a research participant, or to report concerns to this study, please contact Chad Hershock (


Your classmates are your colleagues. This is particularly true in this course, where we aim to provide you with principles, practices, tools, and paradigms that will enable you to be an effective, real-world Software Engineer. We ask that you treat one another like the professionals you are and that you are preparing to be. To that end, we will not tolerate harassment in this class. We define harassment as unwelcome or hostile behavior of an ad hominem nature, i.e., that focuses not on ideas but on people and identity. This includes offensive verbal or written comments in reference to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, race, or religion; sexual images in public spaces; deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of class meetings, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. Harassment is against the law and we have no tolerance for it, and neither does the university. Even when behavior does not rise to the level of harassment (even if you think you’re “just joking!”), it can still make people very uncomfortable, and harm their educational and professional career by forcing them to devote mental energy to something other than the material they are trying to learn or the professional successes they are trying to achieve. However, we expect that we do not need to threaten you to earn your respect on this matter: we simply ask that you treat one another like professionals, in the most positive sense. This has two implications: If you feel someone is violating these principles (for example, with a joke that could be interpreted as sexist, racist, or exclusionary), and you feel you have the standing to do so, speak up! Do not be a bystander to unprofessional behavior. If you do not feel comfortable doing so, and/or if the behavior persists, send a private email to the course instructors or set up a meeting with us to discuss the matter. We will preserve your anonymity. We, the course staff, are committed to affording you the same respect we ask you to afford one another. If you feel that we are not doing so, we hope you will feel comfortable either telling us so directly, or approaching another one of the course staff with your concerns. (Thank you to Shriram Krishnamurthi and Evan Peck for sharing their own policies, from which we drew inspiration for this one.)

Academic honesty and collaboration.

The usual policies apply, especially the University Policy on Academic Integrity. Many of the assignments will be done in groups. We expect that group members collaborate with one another, but that groups work independently from one another, not exchanging results with other groups. Within groups, we expect that you are honest about your contribution to the group’s work. This implies not taking credit for others’ work and not covering for team members that have not contributed to the team. Otherwise, our expectations regarding academic honestly and collaboration for group work are the same as for individual work, substituting elevated to the level of “group.” The course includes both individual assignments and individual components of group assignments. Although your solutions for individual parts will be based on the content produced for the group component (e.g., written reflections on lessons learned), we treat individual components of group assignments as equivalent to individual assignments overall, and expect you to complete such components independently of your groupmates. You may not copy any part of a solution to a problem that was written by another student, or was developed together with another student, or was copied from another unauthorized source such as the Internet. You may not look at another student’s solution, even if you have completed your own, nor may you knowingly give your solution to another student or leave your solution where another student can see it. Here are some examples of behavior that are inappropriate: Copying or retyping, or referring to, files or parts of files (such as source code, written text, or unit tests) from another person or source (whether in final or draft form, regardless of the permissions set on the associated files) while producing your own. This is true even if your version includes minor modifications such as style or variable name changes or minor logic modifications. Getting help that you do not fully understand, and from someone whom you do not acknowledge on your solution. Writing, using, or submitting a program that attempts to alter or erase grading information or otherwise compromise security of course resources. Lying to course staff. Giving copies of work to others, or allowing someone else to copy or refer to your code or written assignment to produce their own, either in draft or final form. This includes making your work publicly available in a way that other students (current or future) can access your solutions, even if others’ access is accidental or incidental to your goals. Beware the privacy settings on your open source accounts! Coaching others step-by-step without them understanding your help. If any of your work contains any statement that was not written by you, you must put it in quotes and cite the source. If you are paraphrasing an idea you read elsewhere, you must acknowledge the source. Using existing material without proper citation is plagiarism, a form of cheating. If there is any question about whether the material is permitted, you must get permission in advance. It is not considered cheating to clarify vague points in the assignments, lectures, lecture notes; to give help or receive help in using the computer systems, compilers, debuggers, profilers, or other facilities; or to discuss ideas at a very high level, without referring to or producing code. Any violation of this policy is cheating. The minimum penalty for cheating (including plagiarism) will be a zero grade for the whole assignment. Cheating incidents will also be reported through University channels, with possible additional disciplinary action (see the above-linked University Policy on Academic Integrity). If you have any question about how this policy applies in a particular situation, ask the instructors for clarification. Note that the instructors respect honesty in these (and indeed most!) situations.


If you wish to request an accommodation due to a documented disability, please inform the instructor as soon as possible and contact Disability Resources at 412.268.2013 or

A note on self care.

Please take care of yourself. Do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle this semester by eating well, exercising, avoiding drugs and alcohol, getting enough sleep and taking some time to relax. This will help you achieve your goals and cope with stress. All of us benefit from support during times of struggle. You are not alone. There are many helpful resources available on campus and an important part of the college experience is learning how to ask for help. Asking for support sooner rather than later is often helpful.

If you or anyone you know experiences any academic stress, difficult life events, or feelings like anxiety or depression, we strongly encourage you to seek support. Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS) is here to help: call 412-268-2922 and visit their website at Consider reaching out to a friend, faculty or family member you trust for help getting connected to the support that can help.