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Math Education
Colloquium Series
@ Suffolk University

Celebrating Our 11th Year
of Teaching On-Line

Suffolk University is one of the major universities in Boston, featuring its internationally respected Law School, School of Management, and College of Arts and Sciences

Suffolk University is
fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

All Distance Calculus Courses
are offered through the
Mathematics &
Computer Science Department
at Suffolk University.

Visit Our
Distance Calculus
Sister Program

Introduction to Computer Science Via PHP

"Introduction To Computer Science" is often referred to as a "CS0" level course - a course for non-majors that offers an introduction to the theoretical concepts of computer science, along with a hands-on introduction to computer programming.

Many students have as one of their general education requirements (or electives) a general, non-major computer science course, often described as follows:

A university-level course introducing the student to the field of computer science, including an introduction to computer programming as a "science lab" component to the course.

Often, this requirement necessitates the usage of a computer - usually in an on-campus computer lab - to provide hands-on experience in computer science, differing from other computer science courses which are "non-lab based" and are simply lecture and reading courses on the topics in introductory computer science. Our CS120 course will satisfy both the introduction to the topics of computer science requirements, as well as the laboratory-component requirement necessitating hands-on experience using the computer.

Unique Approach

The unique approach to our Introduction to Computer Science - Programming for the Web course is the "programming platform": learning how to create programmed webpages using the webpage language PHP , one of the most popular webpage programming languages in the world today.

As most college students use computers on a regular basis, using the World Wide Web (Web) for many of their investigations in other courses, our Introduction to Computer Science - Programming for the Web course uses that knowledge as a base to lead the student towards creating interactive webpages similar to the kinds they are accustomed to using on the Web, including creating HTML, forms, and processing form data for output to automated email and database storage.

While this course concentrates on an introduction to computer programming via the structured language HTML and the programming language PHP, the student also receives an introduction to the academic discipline of computer science through a concurrent examination of the history of the subject and topics in the theory of computing.

The course description is as follows:
CMPSC 120 - Programming for the World Wide Web
This course is a hands-on introduction to computer science for non-CS majors by way of learning how to build interesting, interactive, and programmed webpages. We do not use any drag-and-drop software for this purpose, but rather we learn to build webpages using the basics of HTML and the programming language PHP. Applications of topics in a wide variety of disciplines will culminate in a final term project designed and implemented by the student. [4 semester credits]

Texts and Tools

The course uses the textbook:

An Introduction to Computer Science Via PHP
by Robert Curtis. 8th Edition.

Each student in CS120 is provided a webserver account for the duration of the course, which includes all of the necessary server-side software and disk space required for the course.

All of the software used for this course is free and multiplatform: for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux, and includes the following:

  • JEdit
    A text editor for writing HTML and PHP pages with an ftp-plugin for upload files to the webserver.
  • JFTP
    An FTP client program for upload images to the webserver.
  • Firefox
    The best web browser currently available. Based upon the Mozilla project.

Similar to our Distance Calculus course structure, this course is based upon heavy amounts of communication between the student and the instructional team. All assignments are based upon the mastery learning model, and turned in recursively back-and-forth between student and instructor until 100% mastery is achieved.

This is an excellent course for the computer novice. Even if checking your email is a not a "natural" activity for you, the CS120 Distance version is an excellent way to simultaneously satisfy one of your general education requirements, and conquer whatever computer "phobia" fears you may have. By the end of this course, each student will be able to create webpages - although simple in terms of layout and design, exceptionally powerful in terms of functionality and programming. The skills learned in this course will reach far beyond the confines of this single course, assisting the student with developing projects for their chosen majors.

Our Distance CS120 is not limited to those students who wish to satisfy a general education requirement. Many students take Distance CS120 because of their interest in learning the programming language PHP, for usage in their careers or personal interests.

Distance Computer Science is offered through the Mathematics and Computer Science Department
at Suffolk University •41 Temple Street • Beacon Hill • Boston, Massachusetts 02114 USA

Phone: 617.497.2096
FAX: 617.497.2116
[email protected]