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Tecnológico de Monterrey en Guadalajara
Computer Science Department
TC1017 Solving Problems with Programming
August to December, 2017

flickr photo by Colette Cassinelli shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license
flickr photo by Colette Cassinelli shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

Course Description

Course intent within the general study plan context

Basic computing course where the objective is to develop in students the logic of structured programming that permits them to solve engineering problems using the computer. It requires previous knowledge in computer handling and basic algorithms. The learning outcome of this course is that the student can design and develop algorithms in order to solve different kinds of problems in science, engineering or multimedia problems.

Course objective

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to apply logic to generate algorithms that provide solutions to engineering problems.

Basic Needs

This from the always inspiration Sara Goldrick-Rab in her post today on Medium. I will amend this to let you know that you can either speak with me directly or you could talk with the director of your degree program (instead of Dean of Students). Also her->him in my case.

Any student who has difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day, or who lacks a safe and stable place to live, and believes this may affect their performance in the course, is urged to contact the Dean of Students for support. Furthermore, please notify the professor if you are comfortable in doing so. This will enable her to provide any resources that she may possess.


I am applying an #AbolishGrading policy in this course. Partial and final grades will be negotiated between each student and the instructor. I will provide more details about how this works but rest assured that you will receive the grade you deserve based on you presenting evidence of knowledge/mastery/learning and collaboration about the content in the course. We will be designing a rubric together to guide the grade during the first day of class together as a team.

Office Hours

First: office hours are extremely flexible and important for you the student *and* myself the professor. I am available almost 24/7 but within reason. Read on for more information.

Much more information on the “Contact” page but I choose to include this portion here within the Page One document.

I want to quote what Adam Heidebrink-Bruno writes in an excellent post aimed at teachers improving their syllabus (Page One to us at Tec) which I agree with heartily:

There is no shame or embarrassment in asking for help, although it is common to feel anxious in approaching one’s teacher. To enter my office and ask for help is an act of bravery. To enter and chat about nothing in particular often leads to new insight. Both are valuable. Both show that you trust me. I promise to respect you and earn that trust through compassionate listening and understanding. As a teacher, I know there is a power-relation between us. As best I can, I renounce this position. Think of me as human, imperfect and vulnerable just like you.

I can’t promise to be in my office 24/7 but I also find the standard specific “office hours” to be non-functional. It forces the faculty member to sit in their office at those times and more importantly restricts the options for students.

Learning Evidence

You will create and share a publicly visible blog for this course. You can use an existing blog (with some work to isolate your work in this course from other posts) but it is probably best to create your own blog. More details in assignments. You can also choose to remain anonymous with your blog posts. If having a publicly visible blog is a problem, please talk to me to find another option.

Most of my students love blogging by the end of the semester and some question the point of it all at the beginning. Practicing communication and reflecting on your practice are crucial elements to your learning here at the Tecnológico de Monterrey. Many of my students continue blogging after. I also want you to realize that this is also about you *owning* your own work and content and not just submitting it to some LMS system for grading. Take pride in your work, show off your knowledge and creativity.

I love this quote from Erik Marshall writing about why he asked his students to blog in a post titled “Blogs in class”:

My hope is that they will treat them as a space for their own writing, for experimenting with prose and trying out opinions, and for seeing their own writing as  potentially valuable to others. I also hope it will teach them to be accountable in their writing and consider an audience beyond their stodgy professor. Finally, I hope they will take ownership of their new blogs and keep them after the class is over.

This is the purpose of your blog. Be creative and create evidence in any way you like. Write code, write prose, write poems, songs, record videos. The choice is yours. This is your space and you own it, I want you to feel proud of your work. Also, remember that your blog content will be syndicated (pushed) to the course blog so please take care in your choice of language, images and other media. We aim to share about our work but not offend others. We (students and faculty) have all signed a code of ethics here at the Tecnológico de Monterrey and need to keep those points in mind.

This Course is Different than Others

Note that we are using an educational paradigm that is called the “Flipped Classroom” (but very much in Ken’s style) in this course. This will be a change for you in that you are responsible for reviewing any videos, reading of textbooks or other materials requested outside of classroom time. The time inside the classroom is principally dedicated to actively programming or asking questions about programming problems or theory from materials that you or your classmates did not understand.

This means that you need to arrive to the classroom ready to program and ready to work. I am a big proponent of “pair-progamming” as well as “pair learning” which means I often will ask you to work in pairs at the computers. You should however ensure you have your personal computers setup with the tools we need for the course.

Are you curious about other student’s reactions to this course? You can read my summary of student evaluation comments (the Good, the Bad and the Ugly) on a blog post I wrote about it.

flickr photo by Cayusa shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license
flickr photo by Cayusa shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

Another blog post filled with videos that you can read to get an idea of how my students of the past view my courses and presented at an international conference in December of 2016 is “Giving Students an Authentic Voice”. I really recommend viewing the videos there.

"voices" flickr photo by mikefisher821 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license
“voices” flickr photo by mikefisher821 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

You can also find many other videos and blogs from previous students located in the #Bonus section of various instances of my classes in the past. I created a catalog of my previous courses (for students and teachers) on the main page of my site

Important Dates

The dates of partial exams and final exams for all courses follow the general academic calendar which can be found at

Part of our grading policy discussion will involve deciding if we will use exams and/or projects as part of the grading.

Assignment Details

All assignments are optional but in a special way. Do the ones that you feel are useful to you in order to show your mastery in the course. If you are in doubt, just do all of them but the choice is yours. Despite all assignments being optional, part of your justifying your grade will be showing what work you have done to show your knowledge of the course content. So if you want to be safe and receive a good self-appointed (and negotiated with instructor) grade, then you should do all of the assignments.


Participation inside (and outside) class is important to learning. I will take attendance in the course and will apply the standard regulations for absences. The only deviation I make from the normal is that I can excuse absences if notified *before* the class that you will be away and why. I am flexible but there are limits on that flexibility.


Official Text:

Recommended Resources:

Course Policies

Have fun, learn, share with others and help others learn.

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Post from our agree social media channel (Lorem ipsum) account linking to this document and stating “I agree to our #TC1017 Page One”.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Page One by Bauer Ken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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