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CS 187SL Science Gateway Seminar I
Course Syllabus
Fall 2016

Instructor: Dr. Wei Ding
Office: S-3-179, Science Building , 3rd floor
Class Schedule:Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00 PM, Y01-1350, University Hall
Thursday 11:00 - 12:00 PM,  Y02-2330, University Hall
Office Hours: TTH 2:00 - 4:00 PM
Peer Mentor: Ira Ceka,
Peer Mentor Office Hours: Weekly on Thursdays 1-2PM, 6-9PM, Fridays 3-4PM, Unix Lab, 3rd Floor Science Building


This is the first course of a two-semester sequence, two credits each semester. Successful completion of the sequence will fulfill the student's First-Year Seminar requirement. Course content during the first semester will focus on understanding various facets of Computer Science (CS) and how it relates to our lives. Students will be introduced to different concepts of CS, read and discuss articles, and discuss important matters in written work and orally, and implement interesting projects in small groups. Students will become increasingly familiar with and experienced in scientific discourse, scientific methods and scientific communication.


This Freshman Seminar Course, in the College of Science and Mathematics, is organized along a theme of inquiry-based learning for students and faculty. Each participant has a role in understanding topics that are prevalent in the scientific community along with developing new information that might form the basic science investments of the future. Students will be co-developers of this freshman seminar series that will be based primarily on inquiry-based science education. Desired outcomes will focus on students developing discovery skills, becoming self-driven learner, learning to work in groups, and being successful at the university. This course will maximize students¿ potential for success in the university and the scientific community. Grading will be based on class participation, written papers, and projects.

This course is an important component of the Freshman Success Community (FSC) program. Both the seminar and the FSC are new important initiatives that we are undertaking to enhance the experience and academic success of new freshmen entering the College of Science and Mathematics. As a participant in these initiatives you will have the opportunity to become much more familiar with your fellow students, your faculty, and the resources available to you at UMass Boston. Transition from high school to university is often a big challenge. These new initiatives will allow you to form a partnership, with us and with your fellow students, to help you succeed as university science majors. We want to help you to start thinking now about how to progress towards a timely graduation, and to prepare to achieve your post graduation goals.

We will focus on discussion of topics with broad societal impact that have important scientific underpinnings, Using this approach, you will become increasingly familiar with experienced in scientific discourse, scientific methods, and important new scientific findings. Using this scientific framework, the course will address all of the objectives of the UMass Boston First Year Seminar Program:


Instructor Lectures, Invited Leatures, and interactive problem solving.


Participation: 20% of the total
Assignments: 45% of the total
Oral Presentations: 35% of the total


91+ = A; 89+ = A-;
87+ = B+; 83+ = B; 80+ = B-;
77+ = C+; 73+ = C; 70+ = C-;
67+ = D+; 63+ = D; 60+ = D-;
0+ = F;


We will read from the recommended articles, various sources on the web, and slides that will be made available on the web site. The schedule for the readings are given on the schedule web page.


  1. Homework:
  2. Providing answers for any examination when not specifically authorized by the instructor to do so, or, informing any person or persons of the contents of any examination prior to the time the examination is given is considered cheating.
  3. Penalty for cheating will be extremely severe. Use your best judgment. If you are not sure about certain activities, consult the instructor. Standard academic honesty procedure will be followed for cheating and active cheating automatically results F in the final grade. Please check University Policy on Academic Standards and Cheating for additional information.
  4. You are expected to come fully prepared to every class.
  5. No incomplete grade under nearly all situations.
  6. Pay very careful attention to your email correspondence. It reflects on your communication skills. Avoid using non-standard English such as "how r u?" in your email message. In addition, I recommend you put the class number 187SL and a brief summary of your question in your email subject. For example,

    Subject: CS 187SL Request an Appointment

  7. I immediately discard anonymous emails.
  8. The ringing, beeping, buzzing of cell phones, watches, and/or pagers during class time is extremely rude and disruptive to your fellow students and to the class flow. Please turn off all cell phones, watches, and pagers prior to the start of class.

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