CPTR 124
Fundamentals of Programming Fall 2017

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Rick Halterman

School of Computing
1117E Hickman Hall
Southern Adventist University
Collegedale, TN 37315-0370


Office Hours: http://computing.southern.edu/halterman/General/OfficeHours

Course Venue

HSC 3115    MWF 8:00–8:50 am
HSC 1303    W 1:00–3:30 pm


Halterman, Richard L. Fundamentals of C++ Programming. 2017.


Math ACT ≥ 22 or Math SAT ≥ 520 or MATH 116 College Algebra, or permission of instructor


Catalog description:

CPTR 124. Fundamentals of Programming (G-1) 4 hours
Prerequisite: Math ACT ≥ 22 or Math SAT ≥ 520 or MATH 116 or permission of instructor.
Control structures, data types, data representation, compiling, debugging, modularity, and standard programming algorithms are introduced, using an object oriented language. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory each week.

This course has three objectives:

  1. to develop the ability to correctly analyze a variety of problems and generate appropriate algorithmic solutions
  2. to explore the syntax and usage of the C++ programming language as a means of accomplishing the first objective
  3. to examine the software development environment and associated tools.

Class Requirements and Grading

Class Work. The following class activities, weighted as indicated, determine the student's overall average for the course.

Activity Weight
Participation 10%
Quizzes 10%
Assignments 20%
Test 1 20%
Test 2 20%
Final Examination 20%

Grade Distribution. The overall average determines the course grade according to the following table:

Overall Average
92 ≤ avg A
90 ≤ avg < 92   A–
88 ≤ avg < 90   B+
82 ≤ avg < 88 B
80 ≤ avg < 82   B–
78 ≤ avg < 80   C+
70 ≤ avg < 78 C
60 ≤ avg < 70   C–
58 ≤ avg < 60   D+
52 ≤ avg < 58 D
50 ≤ avg < 52  D–
avg < 50 F

CPTR 124 Fundamentals of Programming is a 4-hour course that includes an integrated laboratory component. As indicated above, the lab assignments contribute to the overall course grade.


Laboratories and assignments. Attendance at laboratory sessions is required as this is a four credit-hour course. All lab assignments are due at the designated time and date. Late assignments will be penalized.

Ethics. As described above, a student's overall course grade is based on several factors: in-class worksheets, quizzes, examinations, and assignments. Each activity includes an expectation about a student's individual effort in the work produced. The following specifies the degree of collaboration permitted for each activity:

  • Worksheets. In-class worksheets contribute to the participation grade. These worksheets frequently are group activities where collaboration with classmates is encouraged.

  • Quizzes. Each student must work individually on individual quizzes. This means collaboration in any way with others is not permitted. Some quizzes may be team based, in which case collaboration is limited to teammates. The instructor will clearly identify the team-based quizzes.

  • Examinations. All examinations must represent individual effort; collaboration in any way with others is not permitted during examinations.

  • Assignments. Programming assignments present opportunities for students to explore programming concepts in a structured way. The programming assignments are not designed to be busy work or just another way to accumulate points for a grade but rather constitute the fundamental learning experience for this course. As such, the goal of the assignments is to sharpen students' problem-solving skills and build confidence in their programming ability.

    Ideally each student will develop his/her own logic and implement an assignment's solution with no help from others; however, such an experience is rare for most students because programming can be a difficult skill to master. Nonetheless, each assignment submission must represent individual effort. The instructor and lab assistant can provide immediate help during lab time. (Your experience in lab will be more valuable if to begin thinking about and begin working on the programming labs before lab time. This enables you to ask more focused questions.)

    It is important to understand that the experience gained from doing the assignments forms the basis for programming problems on examinations. The programming problems on examinations will not be exactly like the programming problems in the assignments, but the concepts required to create a correct solution will be similar. Unlike in many other courses, rote memorization is not generally very helpful for programming problems on examinations. You should not attempt to memorize snippets of code but rather seek to fully understand how the code works and how you might modify it to accomplish different tasks.

    The wrong kind of help can dilute the learning goals of the assignments and leave students less prepared for the examinations. The best kind of assistance to provide to a classmate that asks for help includes pointing out simple corrections or providing hints about how to structure a solution. Explaining to a classmate how a particular C++ language feature works independent of its use within his/her program always is valuable. Helping a fellow student extinguish a puzzling error message also always is a good thing to do.

    Much less valuable help includes “I do not know what you are doing, but here, look at my code, this is how I did it.” Even worse is this: “I’ll email you my code so you can see how I did it.” Providing clues or hints to nudge a student in the right direction is much more beneficial to learning. Unfortunately, when presented with a complete solution, many students will take the easy way out and not put in the time necessary to understand completely how the code they were given works. This means they will complete the assignment but lack the full learning benefit the process was meant to provide.

    Unfortunately, technology makes it all too easy to share code and provide the kind of “help” that does not support the learning goals of this course. Because of its detrimental effect to the learning process, code sharing is prohibited. This includes allowing others to read your code in your editor window.

    It obviously is bad if you submit someone else’s work as your own, but, as is common in academic settings, knowingly enabling the opportunity for someone else to copy your work also is bad.

    Please take care as you are providing help to others. It IS okay to help others, and you SHOULD help others as you can, but giving others your code or doing their work for them is not really the help they need and is not allowed in this course.

    Those involved in allowing their programs, or parts of their programs, to be copied, or copying from other students' programs risk receiving a score of 0 on the assignment and a grade of F in the course.

Incidents of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Associate Vice-president of Academic Affairs.

Class study. Appropriate study for the course includes reading the textbook (at least as far as last class's lecture material), experimenting with the programs from the book and programs we develop in class, and working through the exercises at the end of each chapter.

Weekly quizzes encourage students to remain current in their class preparation. Quiz contents are based on material covered in the preceding classes. Usually quizzes will be distributed at the beginning of the class period. Missed quizzes may not be made up; however, the lowest quiz score will be dropped during the last week of the semester.

Class periods that do not offer a quiz may include a worksheet to be completed during the class period by the student. Careful attention in class facilitates the completion of the worksheet. Missed worksheets may not be made up; however, the lowest two worksheet scores will be dropped during the last week of the semester.

Class decorum. Please comply with the standards of classroom attire as specified in the Student Handbook.  Notebook computers are welcome, and the classroom and lab (generally) have an excellent wireless signal.  You are welcome to take notes on your computer and edit the code that develop together in class. Students who wish to use their computers for activities not directly related to the class should sit in the rear of the class and mute their volume so as not to distract students behind them.  Electronic devices must be turned off during quizzes and tests.  You are expected to remain in the classroom during quizzes and tests, so be sure to take care of affairs (such as bathroom visits and tissue acquisition) before you sit for the quiz or test.

Examinations The dates for each test is listed in this syllabus. In certain situations, due to unavoidable circumstances, a missed test may be made up. Arrangements for the retake should be made before the time of the originally scheduled test. The make-up test may vary greatly in form from the original test, but its content (topics addressed) will be the same. Because of this difference, any points added (the so called "curve") to tests taken during the regularly scheduled time may not apply to retakes.

Please note the date and time for our final exam listed below. You need to plan to take your final exam at the scheduled time. Please make your work and vacation plans accordingly. Academic Administration will grant approval for variance from the published exam schedule only in cases of verified, serious, illness or a death in the immediate family. Academic Administration may, in case of exceptional and unavoidable circumstances, approve a variance, in consultation with the professor of this course. A $65 processing fee may be assessed.

Extra credit. Since the assigned material and activities are sufficient for most students, no extra credit will be available for additional work. However, well-prepared students wishing to enhance their learning experience beyond the class activities will be directed, upon request, to additional resources. Any such additional work will not influence the grade for this class.  

SAU account.  All students must have an active Southern Adventist University email account. This account is necessary to receive class messages and to be able to use the computers in the programming lab. You also should log into eclass daily to check for news updates pertaining to the course.

It is important that you check your southern.edu email account frequently (at least daily, if possible) so you you do not miss potentially important information about this course. Please use use your southern.edu email account when contacting the instructor; if you use a non-Southern account, your message may not make it through the University's spam filter.

Disability Statement. In keeping with the University’s policy, if you are a student who believes you may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability or learning challenge, (i.e. physical, learning, psychological, ADHD or other type), you are strongly encouraged to contact Disability Support Services (DSS) at 423-236-2544 or stop by Lynn Wood Hall, Room 1082. Please note that accommodations are not retroactive and cannot be implemented until faculty or staff members have received the official Letter of Accommodation from DSS. Specific details of disabilities remain confidential between students and DSS unless a student chooses to disclose or there is legitimate academic need for disclosure, which is on a case-by-case basis. For further details, visit the Disability Support Services website at http://www.southern.edu/disabilitysupport.

Topics and Schedule

Week Beginning Text Chapter Topics
Aug 21 1,2 Context of software development; Tools: preprocessor, compiler, linker, debugger, profiler; creating C++ programs with Visual Studio 2017; program structure: #includes, using statement, main function
Aug 28 3,4 Values, variables, identifiers, assignment, reserved words, console input and output; Types: integer types (int, long, unsigned, etc.), floating point types (float, double), characters; arithmetic: arithmetic operators, expressions, bitwise operators, mixed-type expressions, type conversions, operator precedence and associativity, comments, source code formatting, compile-time errors, run-time errors, logic errors, warnings, definition of algorithm
Sep  4 5 Conditional execution: Boolean expressions, relational operators, Boolean expressions, if statement, compound Boolean expressions, if/else, multi-way if/else statements, nested conditionals, conditional expressions, typical errors in conditional statements
Sep 11 6 Iteration: while loops, nested loops, abnormal termination (break and continue), goto, infinite loops, iteration examples
Sep 18 7 switch statement, do/while loops, for loops
Test 1 on Wednesday, September 20
Sep 25 8 Using functions: parameter passing, function prototypes, standard mathematics functions, system time, character routines, pseudorandom numbers
Oct  2 9 Writing functions: defining functions, calling functions, formal vs. actual parameters, pass by value, example functions; tracing program execution with a debugger
Oct  9 10 More on functions: global variables, persistent local variables, overloaded functions, recursion, multifile programs, pointers, pass by reference (pointers vs. reference parameters)
Midterm Break on Friday, October 13
Oct 16 11 Sequence data types—std::vectors and arrays: declaring, using, passing to functions, array notation vs. pointer notation, static vs. dynamic arrays, memory management problems, multidimensional vectors and arrays, C strings
Oct 23 12 Vector/array algorithms: sorting, linear search, binary search, permutations
Test 2 on Monday, October 23
Last day to withdraw and receive a W on Thursday, October 26
Oct 30 13 Standard C++ classes, std::string objects, file streams
Nov  6 14 Programmer-defined types: Classes, data members, member functions (methods), public vs. private members, constructors, destructors
Nov 13 15,16 Fine tuning objects: this, const methods, overloading operators, static members; sample custom types
Nov 20 Thanksgiving Break
Nov 27 17,18 Brief overview of inheritance and polymorphism, protected members, overriding methods; generic programming: function templates, class templates
Dec  4 21,22 Associative containers: tuples, maps, unordered maps; handling exceptions
Dec 12 Final Examination on Tuesday, December 12
Note day and time!

Items in gray may be considered in less depth than other topics and only as time allows.

Class Code

Code we develop in class is available at https://github.com/halterman/124_F17