Course Resources

You will find the following resources helpful to your success in CS 125.

Activating Google Login

You must enable Google Apps integration to participate in CS 125. Doing so will allow you to participate in discussions on the forum, as well as access your grades and complete your daily lessons on this website.

The process is simple:

Course Forum

CS 125 runs a Discourse forum. The forum is the right place to ask questions, get help, and interact with other students and the course staff. Please use it for all course-related questions that are not of a sensitive nature, since answering them there helps other students with the same question. To log in, you will need to activate Google Apps integration for your @illinois.edu email account.

Please also get in the habit of searching the forum before asking a question. Chances are fairly good that your question has already been asked and answered, which means that you can find out what you wanted to know immediately! On public forums this is also considered good forum etiquette.

Why not Piazza (or CampusWire, or some other crappy LMS)?

We are using the excellent open-source Discourse forum software to power our course forum. There are four main reasons that we consider Discourse a better choice for CS 125:

  1. Discourse enables discussion. Piazza encourage students to converge to one answer. But in computer science, we frequently have multiple ways to solve a problem. Discourse helps us discuss the tradeoffs instead of pretending that there is one "right" answer.
  2. Discourse has a future. You will never again use Piazza once you graduate. (Unless you find yourself back at a univeristy.) However, you'll frequently find yourself on Discourse forums as you continue your journey in technology.
  3. Discourse is good tech. Discourse is a modern, rapidly-evolving, responsive, and interactive forum application. Piazza... is not.
  4. Discourse is free and open source. We believe in both the power and the principles behind open source software. Discourse is a great example of what talented volunteers can do working together. And they have no incentive to monetize your personal data, like Piazza, Campuswire, and similar products. Our Discourse instance is hosted right here at Illinois and your data never leaves the premises.

CS 199 EMP

To aid beginners CS 125 runs a separate 1-credit course called CS 199: EMP. Note that you should sign up for CS 199 EMP, not one of the other CS 199 sections. EMP stands for Even More Practice, and more practice is what you are going to get if you come. You can find more information on EMP here.

We will add several dedicated EMP programs to the course calendar. We will have a large number of course assistants there to provide personalized help. Many were CS beginners themselves not that long ago.

EMP sessions are always open to all CS 125 students. If you register for EMP, you’ll be expected to attend regularly. But even if you don’t, feel free to drop by at any point when you feel confused or need a bit of extra help with the lecture material.

However, EMP is not extra office hours. Don’t come expecting to get help on the assignments—that’s what office hours are for. EMP will focus exclusively on reviewing and strengthening material and concepts covered in the daily lessons.

CS 196

CS 196 is the 1 credit hour honors section of CS 125. CS 196 is a fantastic experience! It also has its own website, forum, and sources of information. Please use those resources to ask questions about the class.