CS120 Software Design I (Archive of Fall 2021)

Instructor information

Instructor: W. Michael Petullo
Office location: 210 Wing Technology Center
Office hours: 2:00 p.m–3:00 every weekday and by appointment
Telephone: (608) 785-6817
Email: wpetullo@uwlax.edu

Catalog description

An introduction to the fundamentals of software development; including software classes, objects, inheritance, polymorphism, logic, selection control, repetition control, subprograms, parameter passage, and rudimentary software engineering techniques. Students complete numerous programming projects using a modern programming language.


MTH151, MTH175, or math placement test scores at or above MTH151

Time and location

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 11:00–11:55 a.m or 12:05–1:00 p.m. Class meets for lectures in Centennial 2311 on Mondays and Thursdays. Labs take place on Tuesdays and Fridays in Wing 16.

Student learning objectives

This course follows the Computer Science Department’s learning objectives for CS120, which are listed below. The course schedule indicates the objectives covered by each lesson.

  1. Write Java programs using non-parallel control instructions, including assignment, method calls, if, while, do, and for.

  2. Write and evaluate expressions using literals, variables, parenthesis, and the following operators:

    a. Numberic: unary -, +, -, /, *, %, postfix ++, postfix --, =, !=, <, <=, >, and >=.

    b. Boolean: !, &&, and ||.

    c. String: +.

    d. Object: instanceof.

  3. Write and evaluate primitive expressions involving mixed types, widening, and casts.

  4. Write and evaluate declarations (including final variables), which demonstrate an understanding of local, private, public, and protected scope/access along with the use of the this notation.

  5. Write code that demonstrates an understanding of the principle of information hiding by choosing the correct scope from among instance variables, formal parameters, and local variables.

  6. Compose and evaluate code that demonstrates an understanding of object binding, the null notation, and orphan objects.

  7. Draw, interpret, and trace code using object diagrams.

  8. Draw and interpret class diagrams, including access annotations along with aggregation and inheritance relations.

  9. Develop programs involving all of the following algorithm patterns: variable content swap, cascading if instructions, counting loops, linear search, selection sort, object access shared by multiple classes, and method callback.

  10. Write and evaluate code that uses inheritance, constructor overloading, method overriding, and the super notation.

  11. Demonstrate an understanding of method preconditions and postconditions using informal logical descriptions.

  12. Identify and correct programs exhibiting infinite loops null-pointer exceptions, and array-index out-of-bounds exceptions.

  13. Debug by inserting print statements.

  14. Adhere to fundamental programming style conventions, including using meaningful identifiers, intelligent inclusion of comments, and proper indentation patterns.

  15. Write and evaluate code involving one-dimensional arrays.

  16. Write and evaluate code with import declarations.

  17. Write and evaluate code involving the following standard Java classes and methods:

    a. Object: equals and toString.

    b. String: length, charAt, toUpperCase, toLowerCase, substring, and indexOf.

    c. Math: random, abs, sqrt, trigonometric functions, pow, PI, and E.

    d. Scanner: nextX and hasNextX.

    e. System.out.print and System.out.println.

    f. GUI: JFrame, Container, JComponent, JButton, JTextField, and JLabel.

  18. Write and evaluate code involving event handling with JButtons and JTextFields.


The publisher distributes the textbook for free at https://greenteapress.com/wp/think-java-2e/.

Classroom standards

Please be prepared to take notes using a pen and paper, or use discipline while taking digital notes. Do not use the Internet for personal reasons during class. Do bring a laptop or other device capable of running the compilers and other tools we use in class; any lecture might include hands-on exercises.

Perform your assigned reading and other preparation before arriving for class. I will expect you to participate in class discussions, and I might call on you to contribute.

You are reminded of Board of Regents’ Student Academic Disciplinary Procedures concerning academic integrity. Cheating undermines the integrity of this university and shows disrespect towards the work of your classmates. Starting coursework early will help you to avoid the temptation of cheating. Plagiarism or cheating in any form may result in a failing grade, and might also warrant harsher disciplinary action. “Students are responsible for the honest completion and representation of their work, for the appropriate citation of sources, and for respect of others’ academic endeavors.”

On perseverance and the scientific method

You will inevitably encounter problems while trying to complete your coursework. Sometimes you will be led astray by the confusing interfaces that our software applications present, and other times you will simply make an error. When something goes wrong, try to fix the problem! Make small, incremental changes, and observe their effects. Most importantly, think about how systems work, and then consider why the error you are observing might have arisen. Occasionally, you should stop what you are doing and start from scratch. Learning how to better troubleshoot should be a beneficial side effect of this course.

Your textbook’s Appendix D is full of good suggestions concerning how to find and fix programming errors.

Graded events

Homework will be submitted through Aquinas, a grading system that provides immediate feedback. Refer to the course schedule for the sequence of homework assignments, exams, and the final exam. Your running grade will be available through Aquinas.

Event Portion of grade
Homework 33% (3% per assignment)
Exams 37% (18½% per exam)
Instructor points 5%
Final exam 25%

Grade scale

Grades are assigned based on the following scale.

Range Grade
93–100% A
89–92% AB
83–88% B
79–82% BC
70–78% C
60–69% D
0–59% F

Late policy

Assignments are due the moment class starts. Late assignments will lose points according to the table below.

Tardiness Penalty
Up to 24 hours late 15% reduction
24–48 hours late 30% reduction
More than 48 hours late No credit

If some external circumstance might cause you to be late, then you must notify your instructor in writing and before the assignment deadline in order to be considered for an exception. The act of notification does not automatically grant you an exception.

COVID-19 health statement

Students with COVID-19 symptoms or reason to believe they were in contact with COVID-19 should consult with a health professional, such as the Student Health Center. Students who are ill or engaging in self-quarantine at the direction of a health professional must not attend class. Students in this situation will not be required to provide formal documentation and will not be penalized for absences. However, students should: 

  • notify the instructor in advance of the absence, and provide him with an estimate of how long the absence might last;
  • keep up with classwork, if able;
  • submit assignments electronically;
  • work with the instructor to either reschedule or remotely complete exams, labs, and other academic activities; and
  • consistently communicate their status to the instructor during the absence. 

Instructors have an obligation to provide reasonable accommodation for completing course requirements to students adversely effected by COVID-19. This policy relies on honor, honesty, and mutual respect between instructors and students. Students are expected to report the reason for absence truthfully and instructors are expected to trust the word of their students. University codes of conduct and rules for academic integrity apply to COVID-19 situations. Students may be advised by their instructor or academic advisor to consider a medical withdrawal depending on the course as well as the timing and severity of the illness. Students should work with the Office of Student Life if pursuing a medical withdrawal.