This course ended|
on December 10, 2013
FSEM 142: The Algorithmic Life
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Instructor: David J. Eck (email@example.com)
Course Handout: http://math.hws.edu/eck/courses/fsem142_f13.html
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Room Stern 217
Office Hours, Lansing 313 (or check the computer lab, Lansing 310):
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 1:30–2:50
(I will usually also be available MWF 10:00–12:00.)
First Meeting: August 23
We meet for the first time as part of First-Year Orientation,
on Friday, August 23. We will meet from 2:45 to 3:45 PM
in room Eaton 110. (This is not our regular classroom.)
You do not have to do anything to prepare for this meeting,
but please bring any questions that you have about the course,
about your classes, or about HWS in general.
First Week: August 26, 28, 30
I will hand out readings for the first week of classes, so you won't
need to buy the books for the course immediately. You will need to get a copy of
9 Algorithms that Changed the Future by the weekend,
so that you can do the assigned reading for next Monday.
See the syllabus
for a schedule of readings.
Don't forget that you should show up every day this week (and most
days when we discuss a reading) with a short, one-page writeup about the
reading! See the section of the syllabus titled
"Reading and Writing for Discussion" for more information.
The first reading/writing assignment will be due one the first
day of class!
I will distribute the first major writing assignment for the course
on Wednesday, and I will ask each of you to make an appointment with
me sometime in the next week or so to discuss your plans for the
paper (and also to get to know you a little better).
As an example, here is my version of an appropriate daily writing assignment
for the first reading, from Hackers:
Second Week: September 2, 4, and 6
In the second week of the course, we get a little more technical as we look
at the general idea of computer algorithm and as we start looking at some of
the specific algorithms that make the Web work. The reading for Monday is
Chapter 1 of 9 Algorithms that Changed the Future, and for Wednesday
is the second chapter of that book. On Friday, I will lecture on making web
pages, and we will spend next Monday in a computer lab where you can work
on a web site.
You should write the usual summary and discussion points for the reading
on Monday. However, that will be the only thing that you need to turn in
Third Week: September 9, 11, and 13
On Monday, class meets in Gulick 208 for a computer lab in which you will
work on making web pages. At lab, I will give you the password that you need
to sign on, along with a copy of the
Lab 1 worksheet
For Wednesday, you should read Chapter 2 of 9 Algorithms that
Changed the Future. You should write up a summary and discussion
points, including your understanding of the page rank algorithm.
Remember that the first writing assignment is due on Friday!
You should bring a print-out of the paper with you to class.
Fourth Week: September 16, 18, 20
This week we will put aside 9 Algorithms that Changed the World
for a while, and we wills start reading The Filter Bubble. For
Monday, the reading is the Introduction (pages 1–20); and for
Wednesday, Chapter 1 (pages 21–46).
I expect to return the first paper on Monday. The rewrite is due
on Friday. On Friday, we will start a new writing assignment and
we will prepare for a visit to the library on the following Monday.
Click here for the second writing assignment.
Fifth Week: September 23, 25, and 27
On Monday, the class will visit the library for a session on Web search
led by research librarian Michael Hunter. We should all meet at the front
entrance of the library at 12:20. You should be able to work with your partner
on research for the second writing assignment for at least part of the lab.
The reading for Wednesday is Chapter 2 of The Filter Bubble, and the
reading for Friday is Chapter 6 of the same book. Note that we are skipping
Chapters 3, 4, and 5, but you might want to read them on your own.
In addition to discussion on Wednesday and Friday, part of each class
language in particular. This is in preparation for another class in the
computer lab next Monday.
Sixth Week: September 30; October 2, and 4
Class on Monday will be a computer lab in Gulick 208. The lab is an introduction
Click here for the Lab 2 worksheet.
The reading for Wednesday is Chapter 7 of The Filter Bubble. (This is a change
from the original schedule on the course
syllabus. The quiz that
is listed on the syllabus for Wednesday is moved to Monday of next week.)
The second paper is due on Friday, and we will spend the
day working with the papers.
Seventh Week: October 7, 9, and 11
There is a test/quiz on Monday.
Click here for a study guide for the test.
Also, on Monday, the second paper will be returned with comments. Your rewrite of
the paper should be turned in on Friday for grading.
For Wednesday, you should read and be prepared to discuss Chapter 6 from
9 Algorithms that Changed the Future. However, you should
not write a summary of this reading.
The third and final writing assignment was handed out on Friday. You will be
working on it for the rest of the semester.
Click Here for Writing Assignment 3
Eighth Week: October 16 and 18
There is no class on Monday, October 14 because of Fall Break.
Over break, you should read "The Library of Babel," which will be
handed out in class on friday, October 11. However, you should not write
a summary of this reading. We will discuss at the beginning of class on
Wednesday. The rest of Wednesday's class will be a lecture on programming
that will cover basic loops and if statements. For Fridays class,
we will meet in Gulick 208 for our third computer lab.
Click here for the Lab 3 handout
I have revised the schedule for the next few weeks of the course.
Originally for this week, we were going to have presentations about the topics of the
second writing assignment. Those presentations have been moved to the
following week. In preparation, you and your partner should get the
one-page summary of your topic to me no later than noon on Thursday
so that I will have time to copy them and distribute them to the class
Here is the revised—and still somewhat tentative—schedule for the next few weeks:
- Wednesday, October 16 — "The Library of Babel"; lecture on programming.
- Friday, October 18 — The third computer lab, in Gulick 208.
- Monday, October 21 — Presentations on 2nd paper topics.
- Wednesday, October 23 — Presentations on 2nd paper topics; Cognitive Surplus, Chapter 1.
- Friday, October 25 — The second library visit. By today, you should have met with me to discuss your third paper topic.
- Monday, October 28 — Cognitive Surplus, Chapter 2. We should spend time this week talking about paper topics.
- Wednesday, October 30 — Cognitive Surplus, Chapter 3.
- Friday, November 1 — Cognitive Surplus, Chapter 4.
- Monday, November 4 — 9 Algorithms That Changed the Future, Chapter 4; Statement of paper topic plus bibliography is due.
- Wednesday, November 6 — Review for the test; discussion of paper topics.
- Friday, November 8 — The second test.
Ninth Week: October 21, 23, and 25
On Monday and Wednesday, students will be doing presentations and discussions about
the topics of their second paper. A handout with a summary of each topic was
distributed in class on October 18, and that handout is the reading for Monday.
The reading for Wednesday is Cognitive Surplus, Chapter 1,
pages 1 to 29. You should write a summary of the reading. Try to
limit your summary to one-half page, and avoid talking about specific
details of the chapter. Instead, you should try to summarize the main
idea or argument that the author is trying to get across to the reader.
On Friday, the class will meet in the library for another session with
reference librarian Michael Hunter.
Tenth Week: October 28 and 30; November 1
We will spend the week mostly on Cognitive Surplus. Read Chapter 2
for Monday, Chapter 3 for Wednesday, and Chapter 4 for Friday. (And that will
be the end of the reading from that book.)
Don't forget that you also need to finish Lab 3.
You should have it finished and available in your www directory by Saturday morning,
You should also be working on finding sources for your final paper. A written
bibliography and statement of topic is due next week, on Monday or Wednesday.
Eleventh Week: November 4, 6, and 8
There is a test on Friday, November 8.
Click here for the Test 2 Study Guide
The reading for Monday is Chapter 4 of 9 Algorithms that Changed the
Future. You should not write a summary of this material. On Wednesday,
we will review for the test, including some programming examples, with
while loops and if statements.
Two longer-term assignments are due this week. You should have
computer lab 3 finished no later than
Wednesday. And you should turn in your final paper thesis statement and
bibliography in class on Monday or Wednesday or when you come in for
your advising appointment.
Twelfth Week: November 11, 13, and 15
We are moving on to a new book this week: Alone Together: Why We
Expect More from Technology and Less From Each Other, by Sherry Turkle.
You should read the Introduction, pages 1 to 20, for Monday, and you
should read Chapter 1, pages 23 through 34, for Wednesday. Remember that
we have stopped doing summaries of readings.
If we have any extra time on Monday and Wednesday, I'll ask people to
talk abou their work on their final projects.
On Friday, we will spend the day preparing for the fourth and final
Thirteenth Week: November 18, 20, and 22
On Monday, we have the fourth and final computer lab in room Gulick 208.
Please remember to go there for class.
Click here for Lab 4
The reading for Tuesday is Alone Together, Chapter 8; and
for Wednesday is Alone Together, Chapter 9. You should select a
short fragment of the reading and be prepared to read it in class, to comment
on it, and to try to get some discussion going about it.
Don't forget that final papers are due next Monday, November 25!
Fourteenth Week: November 25
Because of Thanksgiving, our only meeting this week is on Monday. Your
final paper is due on Monday. I will return it
next Monday, with a grade. You have the option of submitting a revised version
any time up until the final exam. You should be prepared to talk about your
paper in lab. There is no other work due this week.
Have a great Thanksgiving!
Fifteenth Week: December 2, 4, and 6
This is the final week of the semester. In addition to discussing the final readings
for the course, we will spend some time looking back on the course as a whole and thinking
about the implications of the ideas that we have encountered. (Also, you will have
to fill out a ridiculous number of course evaluation forms.)
Final papers will be returned on Monday. You can rewrite the paper to try to improve
your grade. The last day for turning in the rewrite is Tuesday, December 10,
the day of the final exam.
Your work for Lab 4. should be completed and ready for
grading in your www directory by no later than Wednesday morning.
The reading for Monday is Chapter 14 of Alone Together (pages 265 to 277).
For Wednesday, you should read Chapter 10 of 9 Algorithms that Changed the
Future (pages 174 to 198), but you should not expect to understand it completely.
The reading for Friday, which will be handed out on Wednesday, is a short story
from The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem, "Prince Ferrix and the Princess Crystal."
Final Exam: Tuesday, December 10
The final exam is at 8:30 AM on Tuesday, December 10, in our regular classroom.
Click here for the final exam study guide