Frequently Needed Information

Meeting Times

Lecture 1Kelly Rivers (krivers)MWF 2:30-3:20pm ESTGHC 4401
Lecture 2Franceska Xhakaj (francesx)MWF 3:35-4:25pm ESTDH 2210
Recitation ABelle (beblanch) and Nazanin (nazimi)R 9:05am- 9:55am ESTGHC 5208
Recitation BClaudia (cosorio) and Ezra (eboldizs)R 10:10am-11:00am ESTGHC 5208
Recitation CEsther (oeb) and Rachel (rachelt1)R 11:15am-12:05pm ESTGHC 5208
Recitation DJenny (jdoan) and Neha (npc)R 12:20pm- 1:10pm ESTGHC 5208
Recitation EAnagha (asrikuma) and Keerthana (keerthav)R 1:25pm- 2:15pm ESTGHC 5208
Recitation FOtto (ojs) and Stephen (stephenz)R 2:30pm- 3:20pm ESTGHC 5208
Recitation GAnnika (annikaw) and Robbie (rbm)R 3:35pm- 4:25pm ESTGHC 5208
Recitation HFiona (cchiu2) and Tara (tarap)R 4:40pm- 5:30pm ESTGHC 5208
Recitation QMeghan (mamcgraw)R 11:15am-12:05pmGHC 5207
Recitation IAlice (alicehon) and Sarah (sstaplet)R 9:05am- 9:55am ESTGHC 5210
Recitation JAshley (awzhang)R 10:10am-11:00am ESTGHC 5210
Recitation KFlako (daniells)R 11:15am-12:05pm ESTGHC 5210
Recitation LLauren (leheller)R 12:20pm- 1:10pm ESTGHC 5210
Recitation MFrank (frankh) and Michelle (mskoo)R 1:25pm- 2:15pm ESTGHC 5210
Recitation NNathan S. (nshao) and Rachel (rachelt1)R 2:30pm- 3:20pm ESTGHC 5210
Recitation OChristina (qianoum) and Winfred (winfredw)R 3:35pm- 4:25pm ESTGHC 5210
Recitation PMuzaffar (mimohame) and Nathan M. (nmaher)R 4:40pm- 5:30pm ESTGHC 5210
Recitation SAmit (amitnag)R 12:20-1:10pmGHC 5207
Lecture 3 / Recitation RLauren (leheller)Asynchronous

Office Hours

In-person TA Hours take place in the Gates 5th Floor Teaching Commons and clusters. When you have a question, sign up on the OH Queue and a TA will come find you to help.

Remote TA Hours take place remotely on Zoom. When you have a question, sign up on the OH Queue with a link to a Zoom meeting you host, and a TA will join your Zoom call to help.

Instructor Hours take place either remotely or in Gates 4109 for Prof. Kelly and GHC 4003 for Prof. Franceska; sign up on the OH Queue and state your modality there. Meetings with the instructors are also available by appointment.

Drop-in Tutoring is run by the Student Academic Success Center and takes place across campus in the evenings. This is a good resource for more in-depth review of the course concepts.

In-person TA Hours5-8pm5-8pm5-8pm12-5pm12-5pm
Remote TA Hours5-8pm5-8pm5-7pm
Instructor Hours10:30-11:30am (Kelly)10-11:30am (Franceska)12:30-1:30pm (Kelly)10-11:30am (Franceska)1-2pm (Kelly)NoneNone
Drop-in Tutoring8:30-11pm8:30-11pm8:30-11pm8:30-11pm


The course schedule is available here.

A typical week in 15-110 looks like this:


Give post-lecture and general course feedback here:
You can use this to tell us when you're having trouble keeping up with the course content (so we can detect general trends), or when you have an idea about something that might improve the course.

Give post-recitation feedback here:


Final Grades are computed as follows:
Midsemester and Final grades will be assigned using a standard scale:

Who To Contact

Contact your Recitation TA(s) for the following: small group session scheduling, additional help

Contact the Head TAs for the following: grading concerns, TA feedback, submission issues

Contact the Professors for the following: extension requests, lecture/homework issues, academic integrity concerns, general course concerns

Course Components

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, students should be able to:


Learning is accomplished through four types of assessments: exercises, check-ins, homeworks, and quizzes.

Exercises: short (1-3 problem) Gradescope online assessments released with each lecture and recitation. Assesses whether the student has introductory knowledge of the lecture's content (have you started learning the material, by attending class or reviewing on your own). Can be retaken as many times as necessary until the desired score is reached. Check-ins: short assignments that cover the material learned in the previous week. Usually composed of a written part and a programming part. These assignments can be completed collaboratively, but you must write up the solutions yourself; see more information in the Collaboration section. Written assignments can be completed by printing the assignment, writing answers by hand, and scanning the result; alternatively, you can type answers in the fillable PDF electronically by using Adobe Reader (Windows/Macs), Preview (Macs), or Microsoft Edge (Windows). Programming assignments can be completed by editing the starter file in an IDE. Both parts should be submitted to Gradescope for grading and feedback. Homeworks: like check-ins in format, but longer and covering material both from the previous week and from the preceeding check-in's week (if there is a preceeding check-in). Quizzes: medium (4-6 problem, 20 minute) paper quizzes taken in lecture and completed individually. Covers material from the homework and check-in that preceeded it. You may bring one page of notes to refer to duing the quiz (suggested notes will be provided for each quiz). There will also be a final exam, which will take place during the university's final exam period. This will cover material from the entire semester.


Course Website: contains the syllabus, schedule, assignments, and links to all materials. Everything you need for the course can be accessed here.

Class Sessions: this is where you learn the course material. Attendance is not mandatory, but it is strongly encouraged. That having been said, if you're feeling ill, do not attend class in-person and get other people sick; watch the lecture recording or ask your TA for the recitation notes so that you can review the content on your own time. Gradescope: exercises and assignments are submitted here. Programming assignments are usually autograded; refresh the submission page after submitting to see your score (you may resubmit as many times as you want). Feedback is also visible for both written and programming assignments once manual grading has been done. To view your feedback, open your assignment in Gradescope, then click on the question name on the right sidebar that you want to see feedback for. Note that all rubric items are displayed; the rubric items applied to your submission should be highlighted.

Piazza: announcements will be made via Piazza, and it will be used for discussion and questions as well. Visit it frequently or set your preferences to send you an email whenever an announcement is made. This is also a good place to ask short questions (TAs monitor it daily) and to review general questions asked by other students. Please follow these etiquette guidelines when posting on Piazza: OH Queue: the OH Queue is used to facilitate office hours, where you can ask questions and receive help. You can post a question or request for help on the queue once it is opened, and a TA will contact you when it is your turn. Note that TAs may be limited in the amount of time they can spend with you if the queue is long. There are three different forms of office hours: Canvas: lecture recordings are posted on Pages, and grades are posted in the gradebook.

Drop-in Tutoring: this is a service available through the Student Academic Success Center. This tutoring program is separate from the in-course resources. Peer tutoring takes place from 8:30pm-11pm in the following locations: Donner Reading Room (Tuesday, Sunday); Mudge Reading Room (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday); Tepper 3807 hallway (Tuesday, Sunday).

Course Materials

Note that this course does not have a required textbook; all course materials will be posted online.

Required Software

Every required software package we use is available for free on the web, and also installed on all cluster computers in GHC. This includes:

Optional Resources

None of these resources are required; however, they may be useful if you want additional practice.

Course Policies

In-person and Remote Interaction

We're slowing recovering from the pandemic, but we still need to protect each other if we want life to get fully back to normal. To help make sure that everyone feels safe and welcomed in the classroom environment, we require that all people involved in 15-110 (students, TAs, and instructors) follow the CMU guidelines for in-person instruction.

If you use Zoom for any course interactions (such as meeting with a TA or attending a small group session), make sure to use your CMU Zoom account, and do not make your own recording of the session unless all other participants in the meeting explicitly agree that it is okay.

Late Policy

Exercises, check-ins, and homeworks all have two deadlines: the normal deadline and the revision deadline. The normal deadline is when you should complete the activity for maximal pedagogical benefit, and a maximal score. The course staff will generally grade assignments and release feedback once the normal deadline has passed. If you made mistakes on the assignment, you may read the feedback, fix the mistakes, and resubmit up until the revision deadline. Assignments submitted after the regular deadline are capped at a score of 90 points; in other words, if you get a 90 or above on an assignment, there is no reason to resubmit (though we still encourage you to read your feedback and make corrections to your local assignment).

If you fail to complete the assignment by the regular deadline, you may also submit for the first time at any point up until the revision deadline, again with the score capped at 90 points. The course staff will attempt to grade your submission as quickly as possible so that you have the opportunity to revise and resubmit if needed. All assignments will be graded by noon EST on the day after the revision deadline at the very latest.

If you entirely miss both the main assignment deadline and the revision deadline due to extraordinary circumstances, then complete the assignment at a later point, you may still submit your work late by emailing your submission directly to the course instructor with an explanation for why it is late. The instructor will decide on a case-by-case basis whether to accept late submissions (though no submissions will be accepted after the last day of class, 12/03). Accepted late submissions will be graded for a max of 50/100 points. Note that this is still a failing grade - in almost all circumstancecs, you should just submit whatever you have done by the revision deadline at the latest!


If you are unable to attend lecture on a quiz day or cannot complete an assignment by the revision deadline for one of the following reasons, please contact the instructors before the deadline so that we can arrange an extension.

Additionally: if a religious day you observe conflicts with a quiz date, or you have previously-scheduled travel that conflicts with a quiz date, let the course instructors know before the add deadline and we'll see what we can do.

Regrade Requests

We occasionally make mistakes while grading (we're only human!). If you find a mistake which you would like us to correct, please submit a regrade request on Gradescope within one week of the time when the contested grade was released. Note- regrade requests will result in the entire problem being regraded, not just the incorrectly graded part.

Formatting Errors

Make sure that your submitted assignments do not have any formatting errors! Written assignments must be submitted in PDF format (unless otherwise specified), and code assignments must not have any syntax errors. We will assign a penalty for every line of code we must edit to make your code run, and this penalty will grow larger as the semester continues. Please submit your code at least one time before the deadline and check the autograder's feedback to ensure that everything works.

Minimum Grades

Mathematical analysis shows that giving 0s as grades has an extremely detrimental effect on a student's ability to catch up on work and pass a course. This is partially because of the way letter grades are distributed- there are only 10 points allocated for each of A, B, C, and D, then 60 points are allocated for an R, a failing grade. This has a severe impact on students who, for whatever reason, have an outlier score among their grades. For example, a student who receives a 92 on five homework assignments and a 14 on one homework assignment would receive an average of a 79, or a C, despite demonstrating A-level knowledge on most of the assignments.

To combat this problem, we are setting the minimum grade that a student can receive on any assessment in the class to a 50, not a 0. We will still grade assignments and assessments on a 0-100 scale, and you will still see your grade on this scale in Gradescope, but if you receive a score < 50 on an assessment, that score will be changed to 50 in the Canvas gradebook. However, this only applies to assessments where students have demonstrated honest effort. We define honest effort as a legitimate attempt to solve the majority of the problems on both the written and programming portions of the assignments, or a legitimate attempt to solve the majority of the problems on a quiz or exam. Note that missing assignments are not eligible for minimum grading; see the Late Policy for how to handle missing assignments.

Collaboration and Academic Integrity


Students are encouraged to collaborate when learning the material and working on assignments. If you need help finding collaborators, fill out the collaboration form for the next assignment on the assignments page, and we'll match you with other students.

Here are a list of examples on how to collaborate well within this class.

Academic Integrity in Assignments

We encourage students to collaborate on assignments, as collaboration leads to good learning. However, there are certain restrictions on how much collaboration is allowed, to ensure that all students understand the material they submit on homework assignments. In general, all collaborators must contribute intellectually and understand the material they produce, and each student must write up their own assignment submission individually. If you submit work that you have not contributed intellectually to, or support another student in submitting work they do not fully understand, this counts as an academic integrity violation.

The following actions are considered academic integrity offenses on the homework assignment:

Academic Integrity in Assessments

Quizzes and the final exam must be taken individually. It will be considered an academic integrity offense if a student:


Academic Integrity Violations result in a penalty on the first offense, and failing the course on the second offense. Penalties depend on the severity of the violation and can include:
Penalties are usually accompanied by a letter to the Dean of Student Affairs, to be officially filed as an academic integrity offense. A first offense usually leads to a discussion with Student Affairs about academic integrity at the university. Two or more offenses usually lead to university-level penalties, such as being suspended or expelled.

Plagiarism Detection

Programs are naturally structured, which makes them much easier to compare than hand-written work, and easier to compare than typed essays. We run an automated plagiarism detection system on all assignments to detect copied code. We will notice if you copy code. Don't do it.

Grace Period

Your first year of college is a time when you do a lot of learning. Sometimes, you might make bad decisions or mistakes. The most important thing for you to do is to learn from your mistakes, to constantly grow and become a better person.

Sometimes, students panic and copy code right before the deadline, then regret what they did afterwards. Therefore, you may rescind any homework submission up to 24 hours after the submission was made with no questions asked. Simply email the course instructors and ask us to delete the submission in question, and we will do so. Deleted submissions will not be considered during plagiarism detection, though of course they will also not be graded.

General Policies

Health and Wellness

Your first priority should always be to take care of yourself, and this is doubly important as we attempt to return to life as normal post-pandemic. Take care of yourself this semester by eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising, socializing, and taking some time to relax. This will help you achieve your goals and cope with stress.

All of us benefit from support during times of struggle. If you or anyone you know experiences any academic stress, difficult life events, or feelings of anxiety or depression, we strongly encourage you to seek support. Contact the Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS) office at 412-268-2922 and visit their website at for more information.

If you or someone you know is in danger of self-harm, please call someone immediately, day or night:
CaPS: 412-268-2922
Re:solve Crisis Network: 888-796-8226
CMU Police: On-Campus 412-268-2323, Off-Campus 911

Diversity and Inclusion

We warmly welcome students with a wide range of backgrounds and identities in this course. We strive to make every student in this class feel safe and welcome, both because we respect you as human beings with a diverse set of experiences and because we want to make learning computer science as accessible as possible. We acknowledge that computer science as a field currently suffers from a lack of racial and gender diversity, and we want to make the field more broadly accessible for all people. If you are interested in joining efforts to broaden diversity in computer science, consider joining SCS4All or talking to the course staff about other ways to get involved.

If something happens that makes you feel unsafe, unwelcome, or discriminated against, please let us know. You are always encouraged to reach out to the course instructors; we will listen and support you. You can email the professors directly, or contact us anonymously via the general course feedback form. You are also encouraged to reach out to the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion here if you wish to report concerns anonymously; they will then be able to take appropriate actions to support you.

Research to Improve the Course

For this class, we are conducting research on student outcomes. This research will involve your work in this course. You will not be asked to do anything above and beyond the normal learning activities and assignments that are part of this course. You are free not to participate in this research, and your participation will have no influence on your grade for this course or your academic career at CMU. All students must be at least 18 years old to participate. If you do not wish to participate, or you will not be at least 18 years old by the end of the semester, please send an email to Chad Hershock ( with your name and course number. Participants will not receive any compensation. The data collected as part of this research may include student grades. All analyses of data from participants' coursework will be conducted after the course is over and final grades are submitted.

The Eberly Center may provide support on this research project regarding data analysis and interpretation. The Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation is located on the CMU-Pittsburgh Campus and its mission is to support the professional development of all CMU instructors regarding teaching and learning. To minimize the risk of breach of confidentiality, the Eberly Center will never have access to data from this course containing your personal identifiers. All data will be analyzed in de-identified form and presented in the aggregate, without any personal identifiers. If you have questions pertaining to your rights as a research participant, or to report concerns to this study, please contact Chad Hershock (


We gladly accommodate students with accommodations that have been approved by the Office of Disability Resources (ODR), as explained here). If you are eligible for accommodations, please submit the appropriate form to the instructors in the first two weeks of the semester. If you need to acquire the form, contact ODR using these instructions.

Additional time: students who receive additional time on assessments will need to request proctoring from the ODR for each quiz/exam. The course instructors will send you a list of quiz/exam days at the beginning of the semester so that you can request proctoring in bulk. Additional-time assessments must take place on the same day as the in-class assessment. To use additional-time, you must attend the ODR-proctored quiz/exam and not the normal-duration quiz/exam. You do have the option of attending the normal-duration quiz/exam, but then you will have to complete it in the assigned time (without additional-time).

For quiz days in particular, we will cover content after the quiz, so you are welcome to either sit in class and work on something else quietly (with no electronic devices) during the quiz, or sit outside of the lecture hall and rejoin the class once the quiz is finished.

Remote Students

A small number of students may be enrolled in the course remotely due to travel restrictions or health concerns. Students officially enrolled in the remote lecture (Lecture 3) can engage with the course in the following ways: Students may also temporarily engage in the course remotely if they are not able to attend class due to illness or quarantine. To temporarily switch to remote attendance, contact the professors.


If you are on the waitlist, don't panic! Most waitlisted students get into the course eventually. Attend lecture and recitation (space permitting), submit the assignments, and stay involved. If you are still not enrolled at the beginning of the third week, contact the course instructors and we will try to help you find a section with open seats.


We have found that students who audit 15-110 do not tend to succeed, as they generally cannot dedicate the needed time to the course. Therefore, auditing will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances, and must be approved by the course instructors first.

If you wish to take 15-110 but don't want or need a full letter grade for it, you may take the course as Pass/Fail instead. This is a great option for graduate students who want to learn how to program but don't want to risk their GPAs! (Note: you may not take the course Pass/Fail if you plan to use 15-110 as a prereq).

Tips for Success

Most students who take 15-110 have no prior programming experience. If you fall into this group, taking your first computer science class will provide great opportunities, but it also may pose great challenges. Here are some tips for how to succeed in this course as you learn a new and exciting set of skills and concepts.

  1. Participate. You cannot learn how to program passively, by observing someone else; you have to practice. While attending lecture, follow along in your own IDE and try modifying the code the instructor writes to see what happens. In recitation, actively attempt each problem to the best of your ability before the TA goes over the solution. In general, try things out and see what happens!
  2. Start Early. Don't wait until the day before the deadline to start an assignment! After each lecture, identify problems on the assignment that you can now attempt, and try to solve them. Doing the assignments a bit at a time is much easier than trying to do them all at once.
  3. Embrace Mistakes. "Bugs" (mistakes) are a common part of the programming process. Even expert programmers commonly produce bugs in their code that they need to fix (you'll see this happen to the instructors a lot!). Run your code to check your work often, and treat every bug as an opportunity to learn, not as a dead end.
  4. Get Help When You Need It. It's okay (and encouraged!!) to reach out for help when you're struggling with a concept or an assignment. Come to office hours and the course staff will be more than happy to help you learn. Find a collaborator and talk through the problems with them. In general, don't feel like you need to do everything on your own - embrace your learning community!
  5. Debug Smarter, Not Harder. It is very easy to get stuck when debugging an error in a program and spend hours on a single mistake with no progress. If you find yourself spending more than 15 minutes debugging the same error, you need to change your approach. First, try to get someone else to help you (a TA or a collaborator in the class); often a new set of eyes will notice things that you can't see yourself, and explaining your code to someone else may help you notice something new. Second, if no one else is available, take a break and do something else. When you come back to the problem later, you'll be able to see your code in a new light, and it might prove much easier to fix.
  6. Read Your Feedback. Check-ins and Homeworks are partially summative assignments (they show what you know), but they're also partially formative (they're a chance to learn). When an assignment has been graded, go back and check the feedback written by TAs on the problems you got wrong. This is your chance to relearn the material before the quiz occurs.
  7. Study By Practicing. In this class, you'll mainly learn skills - things you do, rather than pieces of knowledge you know. To study a skill, you need to practice it. When preparing for an exam, don't just review old slides and homeworks - actually re-solve old problems, or attempt the practice problems provided with the quiz.