FAQ for Parents

Rev. 30 May 2020

Where does one begin in CS? Students who have no programming experience can take CS352. This course will do the following.

Our experience, which is consistent with research results, shows that it is best to have a class that contains only non-programmers. This course is rock-solid preparation for 424. It has the additional benefit of learning how to create and design dynamic websites. We now have a placement exam for students who have programming experience.

Students who have programmed before were advised to take the placement exam; results from this have been passed on to the registrar. This page contains lots of useful information for new students in both engineering and computer science. It is also the place where the placement exam is posted.

How do you contact me? Click on the link in the navigation area on the left marked contact.php. This has phone, email and snailmail address information.

What's the best way to make an appointment? You can call on the phone, but Google Calendar is far better. We can schedule an appointment for a phone or Zoom conversation, and thereby avoid phone tag. Below is my Google Calendar. You can view my Google calendar here, or from your NCSSM Google calendar.

How can I check on my student's progress? At any time during the trimester, you can request a summary report at any time by sending an email. I will respond within a day or so with a rundown on how well your son or daughter is doing. If something crops up that is a real concern, I will drop you an e-mail. I maintain my grades on Canvas. Please put the block for the course in the subject line; this gets you the fastest reply.

How do midterm reports work? Midterm reports bear a letter grade without a plus or minus; they are issued in the middle of the term, per the registrar's calendar. I will comment if the your student is close to a grade line (A/B), etc. They are in-progress grades and do not go on a final transcript. Please note this grade is a snapshot of a student's performance at the time they are assigned; it is not a guarantee of a minimum final outcome. If a midterm grade is unsatisfactory, there is generally plenty of time to bring it up a notch. I tend to err on the conservative side for these marks. If your student gets a A or a B, that's OK. A lower grade is a cause for concern. Such a grade will be accompanied by a specific comment describing the problem.

If your mail queue looks like mine........ If you are mailing me about a specific class, place the class's block in the subject line of your email. Just about every business day, I will check the email from each class by using the subject: search mechanism in gmail. Emails from my classes priority over my general purpose email queue. For example if your student is in block A, put

Block A, subject

in the subject line. I get a large volume of email and this really helps speed things along, and it helps me to get you you what you need more quickly.

Can I see the course documents? If you are interested in department policy or course outlines, you can visit this page. Visiting these links will answer many of your questions. You are welcome to inquire about anything.

Some items of interest are linked here, too. These explain expectations of personal and academic conduct in detail.

What about Computer Science AP 'A' [Java]? We recommend that the student take an introductory course, then /4240/4260; these courses go well beyond the AP syllabus. If you are extra-curious, read this. Please note that the student will need to do some independent study outside of class to do well on this test. Most of that is a matter of getting used to the idiosycracies of the test.