Fall 2020 - CMPT 118 E100

Special Topics in Computer and Information Technology (3)

Computational Thinking

Class Number: 6192

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 4:30 PM – 6:20 PM

    Th 4:30 PM – 5:20 PM



Special topics in computing science which are of current interest to non-computing students. The course will be offered from time to time depending on availability of faculty and on student interest. Students who have obtained credit for, or are currently enrolled in a computing science course at the 200 level or higher, may not take CMPT 118 for further credit.


In this course we will explore fundamental ideas of Computing Science; you will create simple programs using graphical and user-friendly programming languages; and explore applications of Computing Science in diverse fields, such as AI and Robotics. We will also discuss the far-reaching impact of Computing Science on modern society, our disciplines, and all of us. The topics that we will address will include those described in this outline, subject to modifications and time availability. We will alternate between lessons, talks by invited speakers, and doing a diverse style of assignments, including both individual and group activities, during and outside of lectures. It is assumed that students have no programming background. For this Fall 2020 semester, all course components (lectures, assignments, and exams) will be in an online format. You must have access to a computer with internet access, allowing the use of a conferencing system such as Zoom or BB Collaborate Ultra. Some components of the course will require synchronous (real-time) participation during the scheduled lecture and/or exam times. Visual proctoring may be required, subject to university approval. There is no required textbook. Assigned readings will be selected from materials available online or will be provided. This is not a W (Writing intensive) course, however students will be expected to do some writing assignments. All the course information and communication will be centralized in the Canvas course website, including materials, assignments, and a discussion forum. You should organize your Canvas settings to be notified when announcements are posted. Students who are currently enrolled in a CMPT course at the 200 division or higher, or have credit or are currently enrolled in CMPT 120, 130, 125, 127, 135 or 170, or IAT 265 or 267 may not take this Fall 2020 CMPT 118 offering for further credit.


  • Problem solving and Computational thinking.
  • Exploring programming (in Snap! and/or Python)
  • Introduction to Artificial Intelligence and some Applications
  • Introduction to Robotics and Chatbots
  • Behind the scenes. Data representation.
  • Impact of Computing on Society.


  • There will be assignments, projects and multiple quizzes/exams. A more detailed marking scheme will be provided in the first class of the semester. Students must attain an overall passing grade on the weighted average of exams in the course in order to obtain a clear pass (C- or better).



Reference Books

  • Computer Science Illuminated, Nell Dale, John Lewis, Jones & Bartlett, 2012, 9781449672843

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).