Introduction to Computing Science I - Online computer science courses | Arts and Science Online

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Introduction to Computing Science I

CISC 121/3.0

Introduction to design and analysis of algorithms. Recursion, backtracking, and exits. Sequences, linked lists, and references. Binary search trees. Elementary searching and sorting. Assertions and loop invariants. Order-of-magnitude complexity. Numerical computation. Documentation, testing, and debugging.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Basic Python
  2. Searching and Sorting
  3. Computational Complexity
  4. Recursion/Recursive Sorts
  5. Linked Lists
  6. Binary Search Trees


This course is an introduction to programming using Python.  It is assumed that students have some prior experience in programming and understand the basics of a programming language such as variables, functions, iteration and loops. We will cover these concepts briefly in Python.  In addition, we will cover topics such as recursion, searching and sorting techniques, data structures such as linked lists and binary search trees and computational complexity. Throughout the course you will learn good programming style, how to document your code and testing/debugging techniques.

Computer Requirements: You will need access to a computer (any platform) with Python 3.* installed (any version of Python 3.* will do). Python can be downloaded from  PLEASE NOTE THAT IF YOU ARE USING VERSION 2.* of PYTHON YOUR ASSIGNMENTS WILL NOT RUN FOR THE TAs AND THEY WILL BE GIVEN AN AUTOMATIC ZERO.


Summer 19: July - August
Course Dates: 
July 2 - Aug 12, 2019
Exam Dates: 
August 14 - 15, 2019


Assignments (x4)25%
Quiz 110%
Quiz 215%
Proctored Final Exam45%

** Evaluation Subject to Change **

Final Examination

Students must write their exam on the day and time scheduled by the University. The start time may vary slightly depending on the off-campus exam centre. Do not schedule vacations, appointments, etc., during the exam period.



Time Commitment

To complete the readings, assignments, and course activities, students can expect to spend on average, about 18 - 20 hours per week (120 hours total) on the course.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

  • Laptop or Desktop computer purchased within the last 5 years. (mobile devices are not supported)
  • Windows Vista SP2/Mac OSX 10.9 or higher
  • Up to date versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari. Please note that Google Chrome is not recommended for use in our courses.
  • Most recent version of Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash

 See also Getting Started.


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $685.90; for a 6.0-unit course, $1371.80 See also Tuition and Fees.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.