Course Outline and Syllabus

Course: EECS 1520 3.0
Course Webpage: and
Term: Fall 2017

An introduction to the use of computers focusing on concepts of computer technology and organization (hardware and software) and the use of applications such as spreadsheets and information retrieval tools for problem solving. This course is designed for students who are not engineering or computer science majors. Students who plan to major in engineering or computer science are advised to take LE/EECS 1011 3.00 or LE/EECS 1012 3.00, respectively.

Course Credit Exclusions: LE/CSE 1520 3.00, AK/AS/SC/CSE 1520 3.00.
Note: This course is not open to any student who has passed or is taking LE/EECS 1020 3.00, LE/CSE 1020 3.00, AK/AS/SC/CSE 1020 3.00, LE/EECS 1021 3.00, LE/EECS 1022 3.00.

Section A

Lectures: SLH F (MWF, 13:30 - 14:30)
Instructor: Khalil Abuosba
Office: to be announced
Email: to be announced
Office hours: to be announced

Section B

Lectures: LAS C (MWF, 9:30 - 10:30)
Instructor: Ali Mahmoodi
Office: Lassonde Building, office 2008
Office hours: F 10:30 - 11:00

Section C

Lectures: SLH F (TR, 14:30 - 16:00)
Instructor: John Hofbauer
Office: Lassonde Building, office 2016
Office hours: TR 16:00 - 17:00

Section D

Lectures: SLH A (TR, 11:30 - 13:00)
Instructor: John Hofbauer
Office: Lassonde Building, office 2016
Office hours: TR 16:00 - 17:00

Section F

Lectures: SLH F (MWF, 10:30 - 11:30)
Instructor: Andranik Mirzaian
Office: Lassonde Building, office 2030
Office hours: Tuesdays 3:30 - 4:30 pm.

Section G

Lectures: LAS B (TR, 13:00 - 14:30)
Instructor: John Hofbauer
Office: Lassonde Building, office 2016
Office hours: TR 16:00 - 17:00

Main Topics


  1. History of Computing
  2. Digital data representation (e.g., numbers, text, images)
  3. Computer Organization (e.g., gates and circuits, stored program concept)
  4. System administration (e.g., operating systems, and file systems)
  5. Networking and The Internet

  1. Spreadsheet design and creation
  2. (Simple) Webpage design and creation
  3. Still image manipulation

Learning Objectives for the Course

By the end of the course, the students will be able to:

  1. Create a spreadsheet workbook to calculate, model, and/or visualize data
  2. Demonstrate the ability to edit digital images using freely available tools
  3. Describe how information is stored digitally in a computer
  4. Identify computer hardware components and their purpose
  5. Describe computer networking devices and their roles

Highly Recommended (but not required) Course Text

Understanding the Digital World: What You Need to Know about Computers, the Internet, Privacy, and Security by Brian W. Kernighan [Available from York Bookstore and Amazon]

D is for Digital: What a well-informed person should know about computers and communications by Brian W. Kernighan [Available from York Bookstore and Amazon] [Steacie Library 1-Day Reserve]

Note that "Understanding the Digital World" is the 2nd edition of "D is for Digital". There is little difference between the them. Take you pick.

Additional readings may be assigned or recommended during the course.


The final grade of the course will be based on the assessment items below, with the weights indicated. The weights will not be adjusted, except to accommodate missed assessments as outlined below. In addition, no "extra credit" assignments will be provided. In order to be fair and consistent with regards to the entire class, individual grades are not negotiable. Furthermore, marks for assignments and tests will not be "rounded" or "bell-curved". Contact your instructor about grades only if there is a clear error in your grade (e.g., calculation, clerical, etc.) within one week of the test score being made available to you.

If you believe that an assessment was graded incorrectly, you may request a reappraisal of the work. A reappraisal request must be properly submitted within one week of receiving the original grade. It is essential that you explain clearly why you think the work should be re-marked; otherwise, the grade will remain unchanged. Note that the assessment item (e.g., test) will be re-graded in its entirety and that re-grading can result in the grade being raised, confirmed, or lowered.

Students re-taking this course are expected to redo all assignments from scratch. Reusing work from a previous offering of the course (even if it is your own work) is a violation of the Senate Policy on Academic Honesty.
Assignments 7x2% 14%
Project 6%
Test 1 15%
Test 2 15%
Exam 50%

Grading: The final grade for the course is obtained by combining the scores of the assessments and converting this total to a letter grade according to the following table. Final course grades may be adjusted to conform to Department or Faculty grades distribution profiles.
≥ 90≥ 80≥ 75≥ 70≥ 65≥ 60≥ 55≥ 50≥ 40< 40

Missed assessment: The weight of a missed test or assignment will be automatically shifted to the weight of the final exam. No documentation is required. There are no make-up tests.

You may choose to ask that either or both of your test marks be ignored and the weight shifted to the final exam. You must ask for this in writing by filling out a "Test Annulment form". This form will be made available after the second test is returned and must be submitted before the final exam takes place. As a result you have nothing to lose by writing a test.

Missed final exam: Students who miss the final exam must properly complete a Deferred Standing Agreement form and submit it and your supporting documentation to the EECS Department office (LAS 1012M) within one week of the originally scheduled exam. As with missing other assessments, the only accepted documentation for illness is a properly completed Attending Physician's Statement based on a medical examination that occurred no later than twenty-four (24) hours after the originally scheduled exam.

Email Policies

Course Announcements on Moodle

Course announcements will be posted on Moodle in the "Course Announcements" forum. By default, all enrolled students should receive an email notifying them of a new announcement. Regardless, it is the responsibility of each student to be aware of all course announcements that are made, so check the forum regularly.

Discussion Forum Code of Conduct

Recording Lectures

Images and materials presented in lectures are subject to Canadian copyright law. Lectures are the intellectual property of the professor. Course materials are the intellectual property of the associated author(s). Neither lectures nor course materials should be distributed without explicit permission from the professor or author.

Photographs and audio recordings are permitted, provided they are used only as a personal study aid. They may not be sold, passed on to others, or posted online. Lectures can only be recorded from your seat. Exceptions may be made for students who are registered with Counselling & Disability Services and presented relevant documentation from their counsellor to the professor.

Academic Honesty

Students are expected to do their own work and to act with integrity. Looking at someone else's work during a test, talking during a test, using aids not permitted (such as a phone) during a test, plagiarism, not reporting cheating by someone else, and impersonation are all examples of academically dishonest behaviour.

We take matters related to academic dishonesty seriously and we take measures to detect irregularities during all assessments. For example, network traffic may be logged, video surveillance could be in place, and multiple versions may be used.

Students are expected to read and understand the Senate Policy on Academic Honesty. If you have any questions about the policy or would like to report a violation, please speak with your instructor.

Additional Information

Academic Integrity: There is an academic integrity website with comprehensive information about academic honesty and how to find resources at York to help improve students' research and writing skills, and cope with University life. Students are expected to review the materials on the Academic Integrity website.

Access/Disability: York University is committed to principles of respect, inclusion and equality of all persons with disabilities across campus. The University provides services for students with disabilities (including physical, medical, learning and psychiatric disabilities) needing accommodation related to teaching and evaluation methods/materials. These services are made available to students in all Faculties and programs at York University.

Students in need of these services are asked to register with disability services as early as possible to ensure that appropriate academic accommodation can be provided with advance notice. You are encouraged to schedule a time early in the term to meet with each professor to discuss your accommodation needs. Please note that registering with disabilities services and discussing your needs with your professors is necessary to avoid any impediment to receiving the necessary academic accommodations to meet your needs.

Additional information is available at the following websites:

Religious Observance Accommodation: York University is committed to respecting the religious beliefs and practices of all members of the community, and providing reasonable accommodations for observances of special significance to adherents. Should any of the dates specified in this syllabus for an in-class test or examination pose such a conflict for you, contact the course director within the first three weeks of class. Similarly, should an assignment to be completed in a lab, practicum placement, workshop, etc., scheduled later in the term pose such a conflict, contact the course director immediately. Please note that to arrange an alternative date or time for an examination scheduled in the formal examination periods (December and April/May), students must complete an Examination Accommodation Form, which can be obtained from Student Client Services, Student Services Centre or online.

Student Conduct in Academic Situations: Students and instructors are expected to maintain a professional relationship characterized by courtesy and mutual respect. Moreover, it is the responsibility of the instructor to maintain an appropriate academic atmosphere in the classroom and other academic settings, and the responsibility of the student to cooperate in that endeavour. Further, the instructor is the best person to decide, in the first instance, whether such an atmosphere is present in the class. The policy and procedures governing disruptive and/or harassing behaviour by students in academic situations is available online.