CS121 Computer Programming I

Instructor: Dr. Lixin Tao, ltao@pace.edu, http://csis.pace.edu/~lixin
  GC Office: GC416A, (914)422-4463
PLV Office: G320, (914)773-3449

Lectures: PLV Goldstein 315, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:00PM-7:50PM

Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7:50PM–10:30PM at PLV G320

Prerequisite: Familiarity with personal computer operations (managing files and folders, use of a text editor, browsing the Internet)

Syllabus: Introduction to programming and algorithm design using Java. Covers procedural programming constructs, use of language-provided objects and static methods, building classes, the management of reference variables in contrast to primitives. Programming problem-solving is emphasized throughout.


  • Dr. Lixin Tao's class notes
  • Introduction to Java Programming: Comprehensive Version, 5th Edition, by Daniel Liang. Prentice Hall 2005. ISBN: 0-13-148952-6. (book resources at


There will be three one-hour open-book quizzes on both fundamental concepts and writing complete programs. The quizzes will be on October 6, November 3, and December 1 respectively. No makeup quizzes except for students who have medical situations with proof.

Programming Assignments

There will be four programming assignments. The source code of answers to the assignments must be submitted on a floppy disk, clearly marked with student name and assignment number, by the due date. Each day of late submission will incur a 10% penalty on the grade for the assignment, and under no circumstances, except for medical situations with proof, an assignment submission will be accepted after five days past the deadline.

Class Attendance

If a student is absent from a class without a justifiable and provable reason, he/she will suffer a 5% deduction in the final weighted total of his/her grades. A student missing four classes without justifications will fail the course.

Grading Scheme

Programming Assignments 60% (15% each)
Quizzes 30% (10% each)
Final Exam 10%

Selected Public Course Material

  • Course syllabus
  • Class notes with accompanying Java source code
  • Software installation guide
  • Detailed course progress log
  • Course weekly mini-projects
  • Check list of fundamental concepts that students must know by each week (If you complete CS121 but you cannot answer all questions in this check list, you have not reached your learning objective)
  • Assignments 1, 2, 3, and 4
  • Quiz 1, Quiz 2, Quiz 3, Final Exam
  • EditPad Customization
  • Dr. Tao's off-the-CD Java environment for supporting CS121 or general Java programming. This file contains installations of J2SE 5 and a free version of EditPad (one of text editors suitable for programming). Download this zip file and unzip its contents to "C:\cs121tools" (make sure you see "startC.bat" in this directory). Now you can click on file "C:\cs121tools\startC.bat" in a Windows Explorer to launch the complete working environment that we use in lab G315 for Java programming. The CS121 source code for Dr. Tao's class notes will be automatically copied to "C:\cs121" (if it is not already there). A new directory "C:\classes" will be automatically created (if it is not already there) as the base directory for Java class (bytecode) files. A new Command Prompt window will be automatically launched, and its values for PATH and CLASSPATH will be setup so your PC don't need J2SE 5 or text editor installations. An EditPad window will automatically pop up ready for you to develop Java programs. If you don't have a PC with you for practising Java programming, make a CD containing all files in "cs121tools.zip" (make sure you see "startC.bat" on the top level of the CD's file system). Now you can slip this CD into any CD drive of any PC running Windows XP/2000/ME and start to work in the same working environment as we set up in lab G315. With a Windows Explorer, click on file "startD.bat" if your CD is in drive D, click on file "startE.bat" if your CD is in drive E, click on file "startF.bat" if your CD is in drive F, and click on file "startG.bat" if your CD is in drive G. By default the Command Prompt window will have "C:\cs121\basics" as its working directory, since we are now using this directory as the base directory for Java source code. Please read the files "readme.txt" and "HowToUseThisJavaCD.txt" in file "cs121tools.zip" to learn how to use the CD made from this zip file.


Current teaching schedule and course material are avaialble in Pace Blackboard


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