Fall 2021 - CMPT 115 D100

Exploring Computer Science (3)

Class Number: 4450

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 3:20 PM

    Th 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 19, 2021
    8:30 AM – 11:30 AM



You will be exploring fundamental ideas in Computer Science, and the far-reaching impact of computational thinking on modern society. Programming is not the focus, but you will do a bit of programming to actively experience the computational point of view on the world, creating applications in AI and robotics using friendly visual programming languages. No prior computing experience required. Students who have taken CMPT 120, 125, 127, 130, 135 or 170, or IAT 265 or 267 first may not then take this course for further credit. Breadth-Science.


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 considering time availability and students’ interests. The prepare-materials-lesson-then-activities format will repeat itself throughout the course. Lessons will incorporate individual and group participation, talks by invited speakers, videos, and doing a diverse style of exercises and discussions. If classes take place remotely, we will meet every class synchronously. Lessons will be recorded and posted after class, office hours will be available for group or individual consultation. Materials may be additionally provided as readings or occasional pre-recorded lessons. Visual proctoring may be required via Zoom or other platforms. The course is conceived as an introductory course for non-CS majors. Students are not expected to have any prior experience in programming, nor in sociology or communications. Students will be assigned readings and assignments based on materials and/or tools available online or other references that will be provided. This is not a W (Writing intensive) course, however students will be expected to complete some writing assignments. All the course information and communication will be centralized in the Canvas course website, including materials, assignments, and discussions. Students should ensure that they receive notifications when announcements are posted on Canvas. 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 course for further credit. Breadth-Science.

As of 26 May, 2021, the university has announced its plan for approximately 70-80% of teaching in person in Fall 2021. It has also stated that: "not all courses will be delivered in person. The fall will be a transitional term. Deans, supported by the work of chairs and directors, will make final decisions about whether courses will be taught remotely or in person." Please continue to check our course outline for further information. Should this course be taught remotely, students 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.



  • Problem solving and Computational Thinking.
  • Application areas within Computing Science
  • Exploring programming (in Snap! and brief Python)
  • Introduction to Artificial Intelligence and some Applications
  • Data Mining, Data Visualization
  • Behind the scenes. Data representation
  • Impact of Computing on Society



There will be assignments, discussions, projects and multiple quizzes/exams. A more detailed marking scheme will be provided the first week of classes

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, 7th edition, N. Dale, J. Lewis, Jones & Bartlett, 2020, 9781284155617, This and previous editions are available online via the SFU Library.
  • Blown to Bits, H. Abelson, K. Ledeen, and H. Lewis, Available online for free. https://www.niemanlab.org/pdfs/blowntobits.pdf
  • Computer Science Field Guide, T. Bell et al. , Available online for free. https://www.csfieldguide.org.nz/en/chapters/introductio

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 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware 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.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.