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CSW 8 - Introduction to Computer Science

Spring 2023 with Prof. K

Welcome to CMPSCW 8: Introduction to Computer Science at UCSB!

The link to this webpage is

Use links at the top of this page to access the main course resources (most were mentioned in the Syllabus).

This site is provided just as a convenience for quick access and searching: Gauchospace is the main hub for all course-related links.

Week 2 Review and Deadline Extensions

Apr 15 · 8 min read ⏳

🐣 Week 2: Objects, Functions, and Expressions

Dear all,

We hope you all had a great start to your quarter and that you are enjoying your introduction into CS and Python!

Please carefully read this email from start to end to ensure that you are aware of the course expectations, policies, and resources.

You can find these announcements on Gauchospace under the “Instructor Announcements”. Weekly review announcement are also posted to our course website:


We rely on the fact that if you are unable to attend the class, you take advantage of the class recordings to make sure that you stay up-to-date with the course announcements and discussions.

  • As mentioned in the Syllabus: this class “requires synchronous interactions and active participation.
  • The slides and class recordings as well as the videos from the class and lab sections are posted on Gauchospace (look for the ⏩ icon; use your UCSB address - we won’t be granting access to personal gmail accounts.)
  • The links to the in-class videos and helpful resources are listed in the document in the “Class materials” folder.

In-class and lab sessions

  • This week, during the Thursday class, we worked through the lab activity (LA 2.18 Week 2 In-class activity - Calorie expenditure in zyBooks).
  • Just this week, this in-class lab will be part of your lab grade (since it is almost identical to the LA 2.17). In the future weeks, the in-class lab activities are going to be added to your Participation score - you will have until the end of the day to finish the activity and submit it.
  • In labs, TAs led interactive, hands-on walkthroughs - the lab sessions are excellent for you to ask additional questions and ask for clarifications. Consider these sessions as a built-in office hour slot in your schedule.

Quiz 1

  • We had our first quiz on Thursday (Quiz 1) and the results have been released on Gauchospace.
    • Quizzes are going to take place each Thursday at the start of the class unless discussed otherwise in class.
    • Any regrade requests should be submitted before the next quiz through a form that’s linked in the quiz description on Gauchospace. Please do not post the regrades to Piazza.
    • We reserve the right to not accept regrades for quizzes that took place more than 1 week ago.


Any exception in this class should be requested through the form linked in the Syllabus together with the proper documentation.

Please do not post the requests to Piazza, since you will be asked to use the link in the Syllabus. For your convenience, here is the relevant Syllabus link.

  • In-class activities have no make-ups - as per our Syllabus policy, we drop many of them.
  • Quizzes have no make-ups for the first missed quiz - as per our Syllabus policy, we will automatically drop that score. Another missed quiz will require a form submission with an official documentation to arrange for a make-up quiz (which will take place during your lab section).
  • zyBook activities allow for a late submission / partial score - here is the relevant Syllabus link - the more activities you complete before the original deadline, the higher your score will be.
  • Reflections also have no make-ups - as per our Syllabus policy, we drop many of them.


  • The iClicker scores from this week and last week will not be counted in your participation.
  • The Syllabus policy regarding the iClicker has been updated: we will count your participation score if you answer 50% of questions and we will also drop 5 missed/lowest activities. Note that iClicker grading is based on completion/participation.
  • There are no make-ups for the in-class activities. Note that for the in-class labs, you will have until the end of that day (Tue or Thu) to complete and submit the lab that we worked on during class.
  • Unless you exceed the provided number of dropped scores, please do not ask for any exceptions for them - the dropped scores should take care of any unexpected situations that would cause you to miss them.

Troubleshooting Lab Activities

  • ℹ️ Pay attention to the Troubleshooting section of the zyLabs - we aggregate the most common issues that we see in the office hours and on Piazza, and add them there with the suggested solutions. If you run into an issue, check those sections first.

  • We also have a list of common errors, their causes and potential solutions:
    • Use it to search the page for an error that you get from Python.
    • OPTIONAL: Let us know if you find an error that’s not listed there - post on Piazza with the subject “New error for the Debugging page” and use this template or if you want to practice using GitHub, contribute to the website directly.
  • A common issue is when students add a plural name where a word is supposed to be singular, and use a singular version where the code expects a plural - typically, if you get an import error, double check if that’s an issue with your function name.

  • When defining functions, ask yourselves a question that relates to the “Program components” listed on the checklist that we posted for you on Gauchospace (“Function / Program Checklist”):
    • Am I calling the function in the main program with the specific arguments (typically collected via the input())?
    • Why would I need to define a function if I am not using it in my program?
    • There is a Piazza post about LAB 2.18 where I provide a more expanded example that motivates why you need to call the function that you defined - join that discussion if this concept is still not very clear.


Speaking of Piazza…

  • Please, make sure to read and obey the Piazza Posting Guidelines (a pinned post at the top of the list of messages) to help ensure that the forum is a useful resource for the class.
  • At the start of the post there are useful tips and suggestions, such as using the question numbers (which you can reference easily) and search / filters or ways to change how often Piazza emails you, so we hope that you continue to use it for reference.
  • Also, it is important that you post your messages as text using code formatting (described in the guidelines) instead of posting screenshots.
  • Important: please do not post your solutions publicly.

⏰ Due dates and Deadlines ⏰

As you can see on the Calendar, the due dates for Week 1 have been extended.

  • Welcome Survey is still available for you to submit on Gauchospace (it was the Week 1 “reflection”)
  • Sat, Apr 15
    • 11:59pm ⏰ Extended Due Date for PA01, CA01
    • 11:59pm ⏰ Due: PA02 + CA02 in zyBooks
    • Reflection (linked on Gauchospace under the Week 2 tab)
  • Tue, Apr 18
    • 11:59pm ⏰ Extended Due Date for LA01 (LAB 1.14 - 1.21)
    • 11:59pm ⏰ Due: LA02 (LAB 2.10 - 2.18)

Work on completing LA02 (Week 2 lab activities in zyBooks, LAB 2.10 - 2.18) before Monday 9am - so that you have enough time to ask for clarifications during the class, office hours, lab sessions, or post your questions on Piazza.

zyBooks student ID information

Helpful tips

If you haven’t already done so, please complete the action items that we posted for you in our first announcement (you can see it in the “Getting Started” post on the website or under the Week 1 tab on Gauchospace. - We specifically recommend creating an email filter for CSW8 messages to make sure that you see the announcements and emails from us in your primary inbox.

If you ever have any questions, please, first consult the course syllabus and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section. A lot of course structure, helpful hints, and expectations are also outlined for you on that page.

Your success in this course will largely depend on how carefully you read and follow the instructions.

I hope that this summary helped orient you to the course, the deadlines, as well as the resources that we provide you to succeed. I look forward to seeing you in Week 3!

Prof. K and the mentors

Previous Announcements