Syllabus: IST 160

IST160: Introduction to Programming
Integrated Science and Technology | Marshall University College of Science
Course Syllabus
Spring 2009, Internet-Based Delivery


Brian M. Morgan


Morrow 104

Phone Number

(304) 696-6469

Fax Number

(304) 696-6533

Office Hours

You can email me with the VISTA Mail Tool or use the Who's Online tool. Should you ever find yourself on campus during the semester, you can also look me up in person.


This course begins on January 12, 2009 and ends on May 8, 2009.

Please note that all times are Eastern.

Please see the University Academic Calendar for course withdrawal dates.

Course Materials and Cost

The required textbook is the same one that will be used in the traditional, classroom-based IST160 course. The book is available in the Marshall University Bookstore on the Huntington campus, or can be ordered online at You will not only need the book, but also the software package - Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2008, which is available for free to students registered in IST courses. To obtain Visual Studio .NET 2008, you must fill out, complete, and return the MSDNAA Request Form found on the course's homepage in Blackboard. The information on the required text book is below:

Microsoft Visual Basic 2008: Reloaded (3rd ed.), by Diane Zak; Course Technology; ISBN: 1-4239-0250-5, 2009.

Approximate Cost is $108.50 for a new book or $81.50 for a used book.

Technical Requirements

  • For minimum hardware/software requirements please see:
  • Be sure to run the free web browser Tuneup: or
  • If you have technical problems, please go to the Help Desk:
  • Help Desk Phone Numbers:
    (304) 696-3200 ( Huntington, WV )
    (304) 746-1969 ( Charleston, WV)
    (877) 689-8638 (Toll free)
  • Supplemental materials can be found contained within the Blackboard environment ( I will be sending class announcements, updates, etc. using your Blackboard account. Access to a WWW browser is required (Internet Explorer 7.0 or higher or FireFox 2.0 or higher) and Adobe Acrobat Reader (available for download free from Marshall University's Computing Services download page at
  • You will need access to Visual Studio .NET 2008 for your programming projects. Visual Studio .NET 2008 is avaiable nearly all public campus computer labs or for free to students enrolled in IST courses via the MSDNAA program (see the form on the course's homepage in Blackboard or see for additional information). All student data files must be copied to a writable drive such as your V: drive, or a flash/ jump/USB drive.
  • As an Internet-based course, students must have minimal computing skills, including regular access to a sufficient computer system (please see the requirements at, and the ability to process (receive/send) e-mail and browse the World Wide Web.
  • Students must contact the instructor upon registration for the course to establish contact information. At such time the instructor will obtain the studentís e-mail address for course communication purposes.

Course Details

Course Description:
Introduces the students to modern data gathering methods and programming. The course covers programming, graphic programming interface packages, and problem solving methods.

The course is three (3) credit hours. It includes lecture notes and project examples with in Blackboard, 3 exams, and 7 homework assignments which consist of programming projects from the text. Students will participate in various aspects of projects that illustrate the implementation of concepts in general applications to introduce them to computer programming.

This course has no academic prerequisites. It is available to all students including those who are seeking a college degree, auditing students, and to anyone who is interested in advancing his/her computer skills and competency.

Desired Objectives/Outcomes:
Students will learn to design and develop programs in Visual Basic 2008 using a clean, conceptual approach. Specific topic coverage includes:

  • An introduction to Visual Basic 2008
  • Creating a user interface
  • Variables, constants, methods, and calculations
  • Making decisions in a program
  • Repeating program instructionsAfter successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Sub procedures and functions
  • Arrays
  • Fundamentals of logic

Course Grading

Instruction method:
There will be 3 contact hours of classroom lecture per week. Projects covering major topics are part of the course. Students may work on their assignments/projects in University computing facilities or from home with an Internet connection.

Evaluation method:
Evaluation of student's performance will be based on the quality of your performance on programming projects and exams.

Grading Policy:
Final grades are based on performance on five assignments, a midterm exam, and a final exam as indicated below.

2 Textbook-based Exams (equally weighted)


Final Exam


Visual Basic .NET Programming Projects (equally weighted)


The two textbook-based exams will consist of multiple choice, short answer, and true/false questions. The Final Exam will be a hands-on project completed within Visual Basic .NET 2008 application.

Assessment of Projects:
The grading of all homework assignments and projects will take into account:

1.     Although the most important attribute of a program is correctness, grading will take into consideration such items as time and coding efficiency, documentation, etc.

2.     Programs must have proper inline documentation and must be properly indented. 20% will be deducted for poorly documented and/or poorly indented code.

3.     All submitted code must compile correctly to receive at least partial credit. Code that does not compile will receive 0 credit, NO EXCEPTIONS. This means you must debug your code before submitting.

4.     When a method name and/or parameters are specified in an assignment's description, you must use that name and/or parameters.

5.     When you write a function, remember that the function should work for all possible inputs. Not on just your test inputs.

6.     Although interactions with other students are encouraged, you must compose your own answers, unless otherwise noted. Individuals who utilize other people's thoughts or ideas must provide appropriate references to said resources. Failure to provide such documentation will result in a failing grade for the assignment, and may result in a failing grade for the course.

Final letter grades are determined based on the following grading scale:

90 - 100%


80 - 89%


70 - 79%


60 - 69%


Below 60


The instructor reserves the right to change these values depending on the overall class performance and/or extenuating circumstances.

Exams and Quizzes

There are THREE exams worth 50% of your overall grade. The first will come after Chapter 3, the second after Chapter 7, and a comprehensive Final exam (as scheduled).

Homework Assignments

The course includes a number of assignments/projects. All assignments should be completed by the suggested due date that is listed within the course schedule link on the course's homepage here in Blackboard. By doing so, you will ensure that you will complete the course on-time without having to be rushed at the end of the semester. All projects must be submitted through the Blackboard Assignment Tool, and the description of each project/assignment is currently found within Blackboard's Assignments Tool, linked to the course homepage. Please do not procrastinate in working on your assignments or trying to submit through Vista as many others have done in the past. If you wait until the last night to start on the project or the last minute to submit, chances are, you will fail. As with the exams, all projects must be completed and submitted by the end of the day on May 8, 2009.


The Discussions tool within Blackboard will be used to make any general announcements, last minute changes, etc. It is mandatory that you monitor your Blackboard course messages at least once a day. You as a student can also use the discussions tool to post any questions/comments that you have about the course content, projects, specifics of what is to be done, etc.

On-Campus Requirements

Because this is an online course, there is absolutely no requirement that you come to campus. You can communicate with me via the course Mail tool or the Who's Online tool.

Course Policies

My Academic Honesty Policy: Academic Dishonesty is defined as any act of a dishonorable nature which gives the student engaged in it an unfair advantage over others engaged in the same or similar course of study and which, if known to the classroom instructor in such course of study, would be prohibited. Academic Dishonesty will not be tolerated as these actions are fundamentally opposed to "assuring the integrity of the curriculum through the maintenance of rigorous standards and high expectations for student learning and performance" as described in Marshall University's Statement of Philosophy.

If you are found cheating on projects or plagiarizing answers from the Internet or other sources (among other things), there will be no second chance. Your penalty is that you will receive a failing grade for the course. In those cases in which the offense is particularly flagrant or where there are other aggravating circumstances, additional, non-academic, sanctions may be pursued through the Office of Judicial Affairs. Notice of an act of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Department Chair, Dean of the College of Science, and to the Office of Academic Affairs. Please refer to the Marshall University Undergraduate Catalog for a full definition of academic dishonesty.

Make-up Exams and Late Penalty: No make-up exams will be given after May 8, 2009, except under unusual circumstances and satisfactory written justification. Any student who fails to complete the exams and projects by this date due to an unexcused reason will receive a grade of zero for that assessment with no opportunity for make-up or substitution. The decision whether to give a make up exam rests with the instructor.

Withdrawal Policy: The University withdrawal policy is followed in this course.

Satisfactory Progress: Students are expected to show satisfactory initial progress in the course during the first two weeks of the course. In case a student did not meet this requirement, the instructor has the option to administratively drop the student from the course. This is to ensure studentsí commitment to the course.

Course Completion Timetable: The course is available to both part-time and full-time students. Students must complete all course assignments and exams by midnight, May 8, 2009. Contained in this syllabus are a list of topics to be covered and suggested completion dates for homework assignments and exams.

Past experience shows that students, who worked and completed the labs and assignments according to the suggested timeline have shown better performance on the midterm and final exams. Therefore, students are expected and strongly encouraged to work the labs and complete the assignments following the suggested timeline.

Passing grade: All homework assignments and exams are required parts of the course and must be satisfactorily completed to pass the course. A student must have a passing performance on the aggregate of the homework assignments and the exams. A failing grade on either part may result in a fail grade in the course.

Course Evaluation: All students are required to complete the course evaluation form during the last week of the course. The form is linked on the course homepage. Final grades will not be posted until the course evaluation is completed.

Student Evaluation method: Evaluation of student's performance will be based on their progress and accomplishments on the programming projects and exams.

Communication: The Bulletin Board and Private Mail facilities of Blackboard will be used to make any general announcements, last minute changes, etc. It is mandatory that you monitor your Blackboard Vista course messages at least once a day.

Topics and Methodologies / Schedule

A detailed schedule of topics covered in this course can be found under the schedule link on the course homepage in Blackboard, or referred to below. The following outline delineates the suggested course completion timeline with topics to be addressed during the course. Please note this is a highly suggested timeline to follow, but is not mandatory. The only mandatory date is the course completion date of May 8, 2009. All assignments and exams MUST be completed by this date. HOWEVER, if you do complete an assignment by the suggested date below, you will receive 5 points extra credit on that particular assignment.

January 12

Overview of Course and Syllabus.
Familiarize yourself with the Courseís Milestones (see dates contained in this topics list or the Course Schedule)
Read and study how to use the Blackboard tools used in the course (Start Here link on the homepage of the course).
Sign up for access to the MSDNAA and obtain Visual Studio .NET 2008

January 13-January 18

Chapter 1

January 19-January 25

Chapter 2

January 26-January 29

Work on and complete Assignment #1

January 30-February 7

Chapter 3

February 8-February 11

Work on and complete Assignment #2

February 12-February 13

Exam #1 (covers chapters 1-3)

February 14-February 21

Chapter 4

February 22-February 26

Work on and complete Assignment #3

February 27-March 1

Chapter 5

March 2-March 4

Work on and complete Assignment #4

March 5-March 13

Chapter 6

March 14-March 17

Work on and complete Assignment #5

March 18-April 1 (Spring break within)

Chapter 7

April 2- April 5

Work on and complete Assignment #6

April 6-April 7

Exam #2 (covers chapters 4-7)

April 8-April 17

Chapter 8

April 18-April 21

Work on and complete Assignment #7

April 22-May 1

Chapter 9

May 2-May 8

FINAL EXAM (submit through Blackboard)

For each topic discussed in the notes, specific experience of other students and the instructor will be posted to the discussions forum to enhance the characteristics involved. Projects for the course will be based on creating a real-world or fictitious solutions to gain experience.

Effort Required:
As a 100-level course, a considerable amount of development and research effort is required of the student. Students are expected to put in an effort of at least 10 hours per week studying, trying examples, and programming. Upon background and preparedness, some students may have to put in additional effort. Please do not procrastinate. Procrastination and the placing of blame on other factors than yourself has become very large problems for college students. Prioritize, schedule, and take responsibility for your actions and you should do very well in this class.

Syllabus as a Contract
This syllabus is *not* considered a legal document and is subject to change. Corrections may be made as the instructor sees fit.


Me: Don't hesitate to contact me directly with questions or concerns. You can reach me through the Blackboard Mail Tool or if necessary by phone at (304) 696-6469. Please don't let your questions hang out there and simmer. If you are not sure about something the best thing to do is to ask about it right away! Something that may seem obvious to me may not be obvious to you at all! I answer e-mails every evening before going to bed, so if you do not hear from me within 24 hours of sending your message, it may not have reached me.

Support Services
Marshall University offers a variety of support services to students enrolled in online courses:

About Me - Biography


Associate Professor, Integrated Science and Technology
Marshall University

Brian Morgan is a resident of Proctorville, OH and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Marshall University and a Master of Science Degree in Technology Management from the Marshall University Graduate College

Professional Experience

Assistant Professor, Integrated Science and Technology Program, Marshall University, Huntington, WV. (July 2000-Current).

Director, Center for Instructional Technology, Marshall University, Huntington, WV. (October 1997-June 2000). Responsible for everyday duties of the Center, as well as managing Instructional Technology and World Wide Web Development on both the Huntington and South Charleston campuses of Marshall University, and coordinating faculty and staff IT development training programs.

Part-Time Faculty, Marshall University Community and Technical College , Huntington, WV. (August 1997-Current). Have taught Computer Technology 107, 107E, and 108; Information Technology 107E, and have designed the electronic versions of Computer Technology 107E and Information Technology 107E.

Instructional Technologist, Marshall University, Huntington, WV. (November 1996-October 1997). Responsible for working with Information Technology staff and faculty from a variety of disciplines on the selection and production of CD-ROM-based and WWW-based multimedia instructional materials, assist faculty and staff, through training and consulting, in integrating computing and information resources into the curriculum, track current and emerging Internet and development technologies, and aid in the progression and completion of technology grants. I have created distributable Computer Based Training modules for both Distance Education and Faculty Training, as well as worked with several Internet course creation tools for placing classes "on-line."

Computer Programming, Marshall University College of Liberal Arts and College of Science, Huntington, WV. (April 1996-May 1997). Responsible for developing and programming multimedia tutorial programs for the University as well as programming multimedia modeling software for science laboratory courses.

Computer Programming and Research, NASA and National Science Foundation Grant through Marshall University, Huntington, WV. (Spring 1996-Fall 1996). Responsible for developing and programming lecture-room demonstration educational project programs through a NASA and NSF grant for Marshall University.

Marshall University