CSC 121: Computers and Scientific Thinking
Spring 2023

Section C
Tue 2-3 & Thu 2-4
361 Hixson-Lied Science Building
Dr. David Reed
Hitchcock 209A      x2583

Text: Computer Science: Concepts & Explorations, 2nd ed., David Reed, 2021.   (Custom text available for purchase at the bookstore.)

Course Description

This course introduces students to science and scientific reasoning from a perspective that integrates computer science and the natural sciences. Students will gain a basic understanding of computer technology (its organization, history, societal impact, etc.) and how computers are used in various scientific disciplines. In particular, the use of the scientific method and the importance of computer modeling in scientific inquiry will be studied. Students will learn to develop simple Web-based programs for analyzing data and modeling systems, and use those programs in conducting hands-on experiments. Applications in biology, physics, and data science will provide insights into how these disciplines approach problems and utilize computers and computer modeling as tools.

The specific goals of this course are:

Course Structure

Students are expected to attend classes in person. Given the size of the class, it is essential that students adhere to all Creighton community standards, including behaving in respectful manner and contributing to a positive learning environment. Disruptive or disrespectful behavior may result in removal from class. Laptops are allowed and many students have found the ability to work along with the instructor very helpful.

If you must miss a class because of an emergency, you are expected to notify the instructor as soon as possible. If you are sick, contact the Student Health Education and Compliance Office (402-280-2735) immediately and follow their recommendations. Be aware that all class materials posted on Blueline, including assignments, quizzes, and discussions, are considered to be copyrighted and are intended to be used only by students enrolled in the class, for the purposes of fulfilling the course objectives. Recording lectures without permission or sharing any of these materials with others outside of the course will be considered "misuse of academic resources," as defined in the Creighton University Student Handbook.

Instructor office hours:    MW 2:00-3:00, TR 12:45-1:45 (or by appt.)    Hitchcock 209A or
TA office hours: Sun 7:00-8:00
  Mon 7:00-8:00
  Tue 6:00-7:00
  Tue 7:00-8:00
  Wed 7:00-8:00
  Thu 7:00-8:00
  Fri 7:00-8:00

Required Work

Class periods will consist of three types of activity, roughly organized along the following schedule.

There will be two 60-minute tests and a cumulative 100-minute final exam. The final course grade will be based on the following weightings with minimum cutoffs of A (93-100%), A- (90-92), B+ (87-89%), B (83-86%), B- (80-82), C+ (77-79%), C (73-76%), C- (70-72), D (60-69%), and F (0-59%). Some shifting of grades, in an upward direction only, may occur as final letter grades are assigned.

ten chapter quizzes 5 %
eight chapter projects 30 %
five lab assignments 15 %
two 60-minute tests 25 %
100-minute final exam 25 %

Policy on Collaboration

In addition to the College of Arts & Science's policy on academic honesty, the following guidelines hold for this course.

Violations of these guidelines will be dealt with severely, with possible outcomes including a negative score or failure in the course.

Daily Schedule

Date Topic Readings Hand-in
Jan 12
Course Overview
Lab 1
Computer Basics (pptx)
HTML & Web Pages (pptx)
Project 1.A (p. 212)
Chapter C1
Chapter X1
C1 quiz
Lab 1
World Wide Web (pptx)
Hypertext & Multimedia (pptx)
Project 2.A (p. 231) [Upload info]
Chapter C2
Chapter X2
C2 quiz
Project 1.A
Feb 2
The Internet (pptx)
Dynamic Web Pages (pptx)
Project 3.A (p. 248)
Chapter C3
Chapter X3
C3 quiz
Project 2.A
History of Computers (pptx)
Applications in Machine Learning (pptx)
Test Prep (pptx)
Chapter C4
C4 quiz
Project 3.A
Test Review & Reset
Lab 2
Scientific & Computational Thinking (pptx)
Interaction & Design (pptx)
Project 4.A (p. 268)
Chapter C5
Chapter X4
C5 quiz
Lab 2
Mar 2
Algorithms & Programming (pptx)
Numbers & Computation (pptx)
Project 5.B (p. 291)
Chapter C6
Chapter X5
C6 quiz
Project 4.A
CS as a Discipline (pptx)
Applications in Biology
Lab 3
Chapter C7
C7 quiz
Project 5.B
Functions & Libraries (pptx)
Projects 6.B & 6.C (pp. 313 & 314)
Test Prep
Chapter X6
Lab 3
Test Review & Reset
Lab 4
Projects 6.B & 6.C
Apr 4
Inside the Data (pptx)
Sick day -- NO CLASS.
Sick day -- NO LAB.
Chapter C8

C8 quiz
Lab 4
Inside Multimedia (pptx) - cat1, cat2, steg
Conditional Execution (pptx)
Project 7.C (p. 337)
Chapter C9
Chapter X7
C9 Quiz
Inside the Computer (pptx)
Software Models (pptx)
Lab 5
Chapter C10
Chapter X9
C10 Quiz
Project 7.C
Impact of Computing (pptx)
Bridging the Divide (pptx)
Course Review
Chapter C11
Chapter C12
C11 quiz
C12 quiz
Lab 5
May 9 FINAL EXAM     Tuesday 10:00-11:40 HLSB 361  

Book code directory

Creighton University may modify, suspend, or postpone any and all activities and services immediately and without notice because of force majeure causes beyond Creighton's control and occurring without its fault or negligence including, but not limited to, acts of god, fire, war, governmental action, terrorism, epidemic, pandemic, weather, national emergencies, or other threats to the safety of students or staff. Creighton may, at its option, alter the academic schedule or provide alternate instruction modalities to meet course objectives and competencies and program outcomes, including, but not limited to, distance or remote learning, until such time as Creighton determines normal operations may resume safely.