Getting Started

Welcome to CCSE's First-Year Experience (FYE)!  If you're reading this, you're probably either in CSE 1300, CSE 1321 or CSE 1322.  This page is here to get you started and is intentionally minimalistic.  The FYE website serves as a central repository for just about everything in this course, so make sure you explore it thoroughly!

Things to know/do on your 1st day (in this order):

  • If you're taking a lab (CSE 1321L or CSE 1322L), make sure you're taking the correct language. Labs are language specific and all lab assignments/exams must be completed in the specfic language of your lab.  Students from the Engineering College (SPCEET) are required to take C++.  Computer Science and Information Technology majors historically take Java, and Software Engineering and Game Development majors historically take C#.  Other majors should ask their advisors.  If you're in the wrong lab and don't know how to switch, contact your advisor. Be careful - don't drop your lecture if you drop your lab.  You can see the language of your lab by looking at the comments section of the Dynamic Schedule.
  • For online courses, you should be able to log into D2L.  Go ahead and log in.
  • Buy a webcam if you do not already have one equipped on your computer or laptop.
  • The expected workload of these courses is between 6-10 hours per week for a 16-week period.  For summer courses, you can expect to double that.  Make sure you have (scheduled) time to complete the course.

Things to do in the first day or two:

  • Find a backup Internet connection - which is critical for exam days!  Some set up their phone as a "hotspot" while others hit the local coffee shop.  You only have 2 hours for an exam, so think about this ahead of time.
  • You likely have a different lecture professor and lab instructor.  Find out who both of them are and what their contact information is - which should be found in D2L.
  • Install an IDE (Integrated Development Environment - see Resources page).  Right now, we're using Visual Studio for C++ and C#, and IntelliJ for Java.
  • Explore this website - and pay special attention to the Resources page.  Understand that we have tutoring, office hours, advising and so on.  We also have additional help there.
  • Read the syllabus and look at our Academic Policies.  We have a really interesting Final Exam policy that you might like.
  • Get familiar with the tech.
    • Gradescope is how you'll submit your assignments and labs.  You won't be able to log in until after Drop/Add week is over, at which point you'll receive an email from the system.
    • D2L is what we use as the "shell" for the course.  You should be able to log into that if you're enrolled in the class.  You should see a syllabus quiz there, so complete that.
    • Online exams use Respondus and Lockdown Browser, so watch this 2-minute video.
    • Some of you will be using GitHub, which is place to store and manage your code (called a repository).  Where applicable, you'll find out more about this later. 

Things you should do throughout the semester:

  • Practice coding; you'll start to see patterns. Yes, we have a practice bank.  Becoming a good programmer is like becoming a good piano player.  You can't just watch a teacher play, you have to play the instrument yourself.  Practice builds confidence for exams as well.
  • Check your email.  We send you things and you need to know about them.
  • Start assignments early.  Assignments are easier at the beginning of the semester than the end of the semester -  becoming progressively harder.  You'll have a higher shot at success if you start early.
  • Ask questions.  If you get stuck, ask questions.  A rule of thumb is if you can't make even small progress in about 30-45 minutes, you should ask for help.
  • Don't cheat. If things go well, you're going to graduate in 4 or 5 years.  Chances are high that you'll have a technical job interview where they ask you to write code.  If you didn't learn what you needed to in these classes, this will be a highly embarrassing time for you.  We want you to get that high-paying job!
  • Learn all you can and master the content to the point you can teach others.  If you know the content and can teach others, consider becoming a Teaching Assistant (TA) here in the College of Computing and Software Engineering!