CSC 121: Computers and Scientific Thinking
Spring 2021

Lab 1: Lab Orientation

Throughout this semester, you will be completing a number of hands-on projects and submitting them through Blueline. In particular, Friday class periods will be online sessions, where students are expected to be actively engaged remotely. For each Friday session, you will have an assigned task to work on, which will be due the following week. It is expected that students attend these sessions synchronously, unless excused for medical or other approved reasons. Students will be assigned Zoom breakout rooms to facilitate talking with other students and sharing ideas as you complete the assignments (collaboration is encouraged, but all work turned in must your own). There will also be a room moderator, either the instructor or a student TA, to answer any questions that may arise.

This lab is designed to be an orientation session for future Friday lab sessions. You will meet your peer group and practice some of the basic skills that you will use throughout the semester.

Meeting your peer group

Each Friday, you will meet with the same group of 12-15 students to work on a project. You should have your Zoom camera active while working on your project (with the microphone muted, by default). This will allow you to speak to your group, raising questions that may arise as you work. Helping and learning from each other is strongly encouraged. Screen sharing will be enabled, so that students can display their work and receive feedback/advice from peers or the room moderator. In addition, you may find it useful to schedule times outside of class to meet and work with students from your group. That is up to you.


Briefly get acquainted with the students (and room moderator) in your group. These are people you will be working with throughout the semester and will be a great resource for help and ideas.

Creating a profile document

As you will learn in this class, creating interactive Web pages does not require complex or specialized software tools - any text editor will do. We recommend the Brackets editor, which is free, simple, and available for both Mac and Windows computers. If you do not already have Brackets installed on your computer, go to and click on the "Download Brackets" button. Then follow the steps for installing the editor on your computer.


Once you have installed Brackets, open the editor and create a new document (by selecting "New" under the "File" menu at the top). Type the following information into this document to serve as a profile of you and your interests:

  1. Your name (as you prefer to be called)
  2. Your preferred pronouns (e.g., he/she/they)
  3. Your class (e.g., freshman/sophomore/junior/senior/other)
  4. The town you call home
  5. Your favorite movie
  6. Your interests (e.g., books, sports, music)
  7. Something interesting/unique about you (we all have something!)
  8. A brief description of any past experience you have had with computers and/or programming (e.g., high school course, self-study). Don't worry if you haven't had any!
  9. Your expectations of this course

Save your document on the Desktop of your computer using your name and the .txt extension (e.g., DaveReed.txt). Double check to make sure all of the above information items are included in your file!

Downloading an image file

As you learn to develop your own interactive Web pages, one of the skills that will be useful is being able to locate and download images from the Web. The first step in this process is locating the image file. This may be trickier than it sounds, since many Web sites (e.g., Shutterstock) display images in a gallery but hide the actual files from the user. If you right-click on an image, one of the options should be "Save Image as..." or something equivalent (depending on your browser). Note: if you do not have right-click set up on your mouse, control-click on a Mac or shift-F10 on a Windows computer work as well.

Once you have located the image you want, right-click and select the "Save Image as..." (or equivalent) option. A window will appear in which you can select the location and name for the file. Note: when downloading images from the Web, you must be careful not to violate copyrights or otherwise infringe upon the rights of the owner - unless explicitly stated otherwise, you should assume that any image on the Web is private property.


Locate an image on the Web that somehow resonates with you. It may be a picture of you or a family member that has been previously uploaded to a Web site. It may be of a person you admire or a sports team that you follow. Or, it may just be an image that you find beautiful or inspiring. Download that image to your Desktop under your name, e.g., DaveReed.jpg. When renaming the file, be sure you do not change the file extension, as the extension (.jpg or .png or .gif) identifies the format of the file.

Once you have downloaded the file, add the following information to the bottom of your profile document:

  1. The Web address from which you downloaded this image
  2. A few sentences that describe the image and why you found it interesting/relevant/inspiring

Submitting a ZIP file via Blueline

For both health and environmental reasons, this course will be paper-free. You will submit all assignments via Blueline and receive grades there as well. You should have received basic training with Blueline as part of your RSP course. In particular, it is assumed that you are familiar with the steps for submitting an assignment.

When you need to submit more than one file for a particular assignment, the best (and preferred) method for this class is to create a single ZIP file that encapsulates all of the files. To create a ZIP file, you first select all of the files you want to submit and right-click for options. On a Mac, you select "Compress # items", which creates a file named that encapsulates the selected files. On a Windows computer, you alternatively select "Send to" and then "Compressed (zipped) folder".


Create a ZIP file that encapsulates your profile document and your downloaded image. Once you have done so, change the name of the zip file to match your name, e.g., You should double check that this ZIP file is correct by double-clicking on the file. This will unzip its contents, creating a new folder that contains the two files.

Once you have created, renamed, and verified that the ZIP file works correctly, submit that ZIP file under Lab 1 in Blueline.