CS 101 (Fall 2002)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We hope the following list of questions and answers is helpful. However, if your question isn't answered below, we want to be sure that you get an answer! Check our help page for for times when help is available and information about other sources of on-line help.

[General Questions] [Lab 0] [Lab 1] [Lab 2] [Lab 3] [Lab 4] [Lab 5] [Lab 6] [Lab 7] [Lab 8] [Lab 9] [Lab 10] [Lab 11]

General Questions:

Do I need any computer science background to succeed in CS101?
No. The only prerequisite for this course is that you be comfortable with algebra and geometry at the high school level. No programming background is required. We start from the beginning. However, the course is demanding and does move rather quickly. If you're looking for an easy course, this isn't it.

I have some programming experience. Will I be bored in CS101?
If past semesters are any indication, you probably won't be bored. Things may seem a bit slow at the beginning, but this course can be understood at many different levels. Also, the material should be sufficiently different from what you have seen to keep you interested. However, if you have significant experience in object-oriented programming, particularly in Java or C++, you should discuss your background with the instructor to determine if the course is appropriate for you.

Should I take CS100 along with CS101?
CS100 is a 1-unit course that will acquaint you with the computing resources at Washington University and teach you how to several computing tools. If you are not familiar with these tools, we recommend that you take CS100 along with CS101. However, it is not required.

How much time should I expect to spend on CS101?
CS101 emphasises learning by doing. Most of your time outside of class will be spent on lab assignments. You will spend very little time reading, since everything you need to know will be covered in lecture or in the lab assignments. Since CS101 is a 4 unit course, you should expect to spend about 10 hours per week on average doing the lab assignments. Some weeks will require more time, some will require less.

Is there a textbook for CS101?
Yes. However, the book is a resource that cannot replace class attendance. Everything you need to know will be covered in class or on lab assignments. On-line lecture highlights will be provided to assist your studies. If you own a computer, consider installing the class software on it.

Do I need a CEC account for CS101?
Yes. CEC (Center for Engineering Computing) provides educational computing support for the School of Engineering and Applied Science. You will need a CEC account in order to participate in your lab sections. If you are an Engineering student, you should already have an account. Otherwise, you should read Getting a CEC Account.

Do I need to buy a computer for CS101?
No. You do not need to own a computer to take this course. The Center for Engineering Computing (CEC) has a PC Lab in Sever 201 that is generally open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your use. Should there be a temporary change to CEC lab hours, you will see the updated information in CEC's Message of the Day.

I own a PC or a Macintosh. How do I set it up to work on the CS101 assignments?
Read Setting Up Your Computer for CS101. We suggest that you mount your CEC files remotely. See the next question for that.

I want to work on my assignments from my PC in my dorm room. How can I use my home directory at CEC?
Read Mounting your CEC directory in the comfort of your dorm room . We recommend you keep your files at CEC because they back up their files very often.

How can I go back to a previous CS101 web page?
The CS101 pages use frames, so the back arrow at the top of your browser may take you out of the CS101 pages completely. To go to a previous or following frame, hold down the right mouse button over the frame and select the appropriate option from the popup menu.

I'm having trouble with my personal computer. What should I do?
CEC's FAQ page on the three systems may have the answer you need. CEC also has consultants to answer general questions about computer use. However, please see the CS101 teaching assistants for any questions that specifically relate to the course.

Questions About Lab Assignments:

Lab 0:

The student page isn't up for CS101 -- how do I get my picture?
There is a new university policy that prohibits our publishing the names of students in our class. Please get your picture from Faces, via webstac if you wish.

You are not obligated to put up a home page.

I can't seem to print from Emacs, what should I do?
Well, it should work, but it's not. So, brace yourself, and follow this guide to set the printer specifically to tornado (recommended for CEC labs).

How do I use the PC's in CEC to do my CS101 assignments?
Read Using CEC in CS101

I selected "Emacs for Java" under "Programming" in the Start menu, but emacs doesn't start. Instead, a strange batch file comes up in Wordpad. What's wrong?
Some of the CEC machines are misconfigured to open the batch file instead of run it. Until that is fixed, you'll need to do the following on those machines:
  1. Select "Run..." from the start menu.
  2. In the box, type P:/emacs, and click "OK"
  3. Press the right mouse button on the file called cs101-emacs or cs101-emacs.bat, and then choose "open."

Where is the CS101 Mailbox for turning in assignments?
We won't be using the mailbox this semester. Submit your assignment in class.
How do I change where I print to from Emacs?
See this guide

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Last modified 15:38:55 CDT 22 August 2002 by Ron K. Cytron