Course Outline and Syllabus

Course: EECS 1520 3.0 Term: Fall 2020 Sections: A, B, C, D, G, H
Course Webpage: and

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, LE/EECS 1012 3.00, or LE/EECS 1015 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.

Course Coordinator: Amir H. Chinaei (







Office hours


Zoom (MWF, 13:30-14:30)

Hui Wang


F 18:00-19:30


Zoom (MWF, 16:30-17:30)

Onoise Gerald Kio


WF 17:30-18:30


Zoom (TR, 14:30-16:00)

Andriy Pavlovych


TR 13:30-14:30


Zoom (M, 19:00-22:00)

Paul Kashiyama


M 18:00-19:00


Zoom (MWF, 10:30-11:30)

Amir H. Chinaei


M 11:30-13:30


Zoom (MR, 17:30-19:00)

Jia Xu


R 19:00-20:00


Main Topics


  1. Intro and 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, file systems)
  5. Networking and the Internet


  1. Spreadsheet design and creation
  2. Document design and creation
  3. Knowledge translation
  4. (Simple) Webpage design and creation
  5. 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, risks and counter measures
  4. Identify computer hardware/software components and their purposes
  5. Describe computer networking devices and their roles, threats and counter measures

Recommended (but not required) Course Text

·        D is for Digital: What a well-informed person should know about computers and communications by Brian W. Kernighan [Available from Amazon]

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


The final grade of the course will be based on the assessment items below, using the weights indicated. 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".

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) or any other source is a violation of the Senate Policy on Academic Honesty.

Assessment items

Due date/time

Weight, %

8 Assignments

A1 on Sept 24

A2 on Oct 1

A3 on Oct 22

A4 on Oct 29

A5 on Nov 12

A6 on Nov 19

A7 on Nov 26

A8 on Dec 3


3 Tests

Test 1: Oct 6

Test 2: Nov 3

Test 3: Dec 8


Final exam

Determined by university


As the course is all online, you are responsible to make sure you have a secure internet connection and reliable computer prior to each assignment due time as well as for each and all tests.

Note that there are 8 assignments each is due at 23:00 on the due date (deadlines will not be extended, plan ahead).In calculating your grades, we omit the one in which your grade is the worst. Also, there are 3 tests; you can write them any time between 19:00 and 22:20 on the test day; however, note that once you open each test, you have up to 40 minutes to answer it. If you open a test after 22:20, you will have up to 23:00 to answer it. Again, you are responsible to make sure you have a secure internet connection and reliable computer before starting each test. Also, if your grade on the final exam is better than any of your assessments, we will take that into consideration to some extent at our own discretion.

Missed assignments or partial tests: If you miss any assessment (an assignment or a test) due to any reason beyond your control (such as illness, accident, religion, loss of family member, etc.), you should upload in eClass a properly completed Special Consideration Form. Please note there is a deadline to upload such forms and the deadline depends on the date of the original assessment--normally within one week of that date. Check these in eClass. Upon approval, your grade in the missing assessment will be calculated based on your grade on the final exam.

Missed final exam: Students who miss the final exam must properly complete a Deferred Standing Agreement form and submit it together with your supporting documentation to the EECS Department office (LAS 1012M, or via email within one week of the originally scheduled exam.

Remark requests: If you believe that an assignment was graded incorrectly, you may request a reappraisal of the work. A reappraisal request must be properly uploaded in the eClass page before the deadline (which is up to 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 assignment will be re-graded in its entirety and that re-grading can result in the grade being raised, confirmed, or lowered. Also note that remark requests will be processed within four weeks after the deadline.

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












Email Policies

Course Announcements on EClass

Course announcements will be posted on eClass 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 written 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. Audio 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, calculator, smart watch) 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. Also, various technological means may be used to ensure academic integrity.

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 for an in-class test, examination, or lab pose such a conflict for you, Complete a Special Consideration Form within the designated deadlines in eClass. 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.

Last Word:

"..., this course is demanding in terms of time, and should not be added to an already heavy load.", quoted from the EECS Calendar. Also, slides and many other resources are available online; yet, not actively attending lectures, assignments, discussion forum, or office hours could severely impact your grade. Note that you could go to office hours of any of the course's instructors, no matter which section you are enrolled in.