Course Resources

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

1. Activating Google Login

To participate in CS 125 you need to activate Google Apps integration for your @illinois.edu email account. We use Google login in many places: to allow you to access the forum and see your grades online, and for forms and other surveys that we send out during the semester.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Start here and then click on the appropriate link.

  2. This is the link for undergraduates. You will need to access your cloud dashboard and enable Google Apps integration with your @illinois.edu email address. The process requires accepting a license agreement.

  3. Now go to Google. If you are not logged in, click "Login" in the upper right hand corner. Otherwise, click your avatar and choose "Add Account". This should redirect you to the familiar Illinois Active Directory log in page.

  4. Once you have completed these steps, you should have a choice of login options when you return to the forum. Choose your @illinois.edu address and you will be able to access and participate in the forum.

2. Videos

Lectures are being taped this semester and will be available on our YouTube channel at some point soon.

3. Office Hours

Need help? Come get it! We have office hours pretty much all day, every day, and there is a team of friendly course staff waiting to help you.

CS 125 holds many hours of office hours per week: check the calendar for specific dates and times. Every office hour is manned by at least one teaching assistant and at least one but probably many course assistants.

Almost all office hours are held in and around Siebel 0403—our dedicated CS 125 space. We are also exploring holding office hours in some of the residence halls this semester.

We suggest scheduling between 4 and 6 hours when you will go to office hours and work on the current MP. That way you’re in the right place when you need help, which you probably will—often. You don’t need to have a question to come to office hours. Just come to work around other students and have fun with the course staff.

However, note that the course staff do not exist to complete the assignments for you. Sometimes they may just help get you unstuck before moving on to help another student. You should expect to do almost all of the work yourself, but expect the course staff to provide helpful advice, encouragement, and sometimes a hint or two here and there.

4. Forum

We have set up a Discourse forum for CS 125. The forum is the right place to ask questions, get help, and interact with other students and the course staff outside of lectures, labs, and office hours. 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 active 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.

4.1. Why Not Piazza?

We are using the excellent open-source Discourse forum software to power our course forum. Why aren’t we using Piazza, which is fairly popular in the educational space? There are four main reasons that we consider Discourse a better choice for CS 125:

  1. Discourse enables discussion. Piazza is designed for students to converge to one answer. But in computer science, there are frequently multiple ways to approach a problem, and solutions frequently emerge through a conversation.

  2. Discourse has a future. Unlike Piazza, Discourse is increasingly used outside academia by companies to host product and technology discussion forums, and by other online communities. Familiarity with it will benefit you as you continue your explorations in computer science.

  3. Discourse is better tech. Discourse is a modern, responsive, and interactive web application. Piazza…​ is not. As budding computer scientists, we want to expose you to the best tech out there so that you are inspired by the kind of things that you will soon be able to create.

  4. Discourse is free and open source. We believe in the power of the open source community, and in encouraging you to share your creations freely and openly. Discourse is a great example of what talented volunteers can build when they work together.

5. CS 199 EMP: Even More Practice

To further aid beginners CS 125 runs a weekly help session as a separate 1-credit course called CS 199: EMP. Note that you should sign up for CS 199 25, 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.

EMP is held on Thursdays from 5–6:50PM in Siebel 0216. It’s on 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.

This semester EMP is 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 lecture.

6. CS 196

CS 196 is the 1-credit honors section of CS 125. It has its own website, forum, and other sources of information. Please use those resources to ask questions about CS 196.


Created 7/14/2020
Updated 7/14/2020
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Built 7/14/2020 @ 17:58 EDT