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CSE 142: Computer Programming I, Summer 2008

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CSE 142 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: I need help with my homework! What should I do?

A: There are lots of resources available to help you. For example:

  • There is probably someone in the IPL today, or maybe the instructor has office hours. If so, go see them.
  • Check the message board; your question may have been answered there.
  • Read the relevant chapters and sections of the textbook, especially the large "Case Study" example at the end of the relevant chapter. The case study programs are larger examples, created step-by-step, that bear a lot of similarity to each assignment.
  • Look at the in-class lecture examples and slides.
  • Look at this week's section handout problems and their solutions.
  • Try solving some smaller problems first to understand the relevant concepts, such as the ones at the ends of the textbook chapters or in the Practice-It! tool.
  • Send us a message on AIM. (AIM is better for small questions; anything that involves looking at code is better done by email.)
  • Start early! We get swamped the day assignments are due.
  • Don't panic. You have late days, and even if you run out, it is only -1 point for each day late.

Q: The course (or the section I want) appears to be full. How do I add CSE 142 to my schedule? How do I change sections?

A: Contact our course administrator, Pim Lustig (pl@cs.washington.edu), for all registration issues such as adding the course or changing sections. He will be happy to help you.

Q: What is the difference in the section labeled "prior programming experience"?

A: It's not all that much different than the other CSE 142 sections. Students in that section do the same practice problems as every other section. But the TA for that section generally assumes that the students are somewhat advanced, so they may cover the concepts and problems at a faster pace, or they may finish more problems than other sections.

When we see the students who want to take 142 but have a fair amount of prior programming experence, so they seem like they might be bored in the class, we recommend that they consider that section. But it's not urgently important that they join that particular section, since it's probably only about 10% different from the others at most. Being in it certainly doesn't give the student any special mark or "honors" credit or anything like that.

Q: I have a scheduling conflict and need to miss a lecture. Is this okay? How can I find out what I missed?

A: Lecture attendance is optional, so you may miss a lecture without penalty (so long as no exam takes place on that day). To find out what you missed, look at the Lectures section of the course web site. All slides and program code from lecture will be posted there.

Q: When is the last date to drop the course? When is the last date to switch to Credit/No Credit (C/NC)?

A: This information can be found at the UW Time Schedule for this quarter.

Q: I'd like to buy a used textbook, and I found one online, but it has a different ISBN. Is that still the right textbook? Is it okay to buy that textbook anyway?

A: There have been four ISBNs for our Building Java Programs textbook. Two of these are considered acceptable / recommended, and two are not:

  • ISBN 0536240167: 1st edition of the textbook, with an access key to our online video resources. Highly recommended.
  • ISBN 0321382838: 1st edition of the textbook. Recommended.
  • ISBN 0321500024, 0536336555: Prior "Custom" editions of the textbook. These were partially completed versions of the book that were used only at UW while the book was being written. These versions of the book are missing major sections, contain fewer practice problems, and the section numbers don't match up with the real 1st edition, so it may be harder for you to figure out which section corresponds to the assigned reading given in class. Not recommended.
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