CS106B Course Syllabus

Spring Quarter 2024. Lecture MWF 1:30 - 2:20 PM in Hewlett 200.


Course Overview and Welcome

Hi there 👋, and welcome to CS106B: Programming Abstractions! This is the second course in our introductory programming sequence. The prerequisite, CS106A, establishes a solid foundation in programming methodology and problem-solving in Python. With that under your belt, CS106B will acquaint you with the C++ programming language and introduce advanced programming techniques such as recursion, algorithm analysis, and data abstraction, explore classic data structures and algorithms, and give you practice applying these tools to solving complex problems.

We're excited to share this great material with you and have a superb team of section leaders that will support you through the challenges to come. We hope you will find the time worth your investment and that you enjoy your growing mastery of the art of programming!

Teaching Team


We have an incredible group of undergraduate section leaders (SLs) who lead weekly sections and help students 1-on-1 in LaIR hours. Read more about the teaching team and office/LaIR hours.

Course Topics

Overview of Main Topics

Our planned curriculum will cover the following topics in this approximate order:

  1. C++ basics
  2. Data abstraction, classic ADTs
  3. Recursion and backtracking
  4. Classes and object-oriented programming
  5. Pointers and dynamic memory
  6. Linked data structures
  7. Advanced algorithms

Learning Goals

After completing CS106B, we hope you will have achieved the following learning goals:

  • I am excited to use programming to solve real-world problems I encounter outside class.
  • I recognize and understand common abstractions in computer science.
  • I can identify programmatic concepts present in everyday technologies because I understand how computers process and organize information.
  • I can break down complex problems into smaller subproblems by applying my algorithmic reasoning and recursive problem-solving skills.
  • I can evaluate design tradeoffs when creating data structures and algorithms or utilizing them to implement technological solutions.

We’ll also be giving you tools to tackle the following questions (note that these don’t have single right or wrong answers!):

  • What is possible with technology and code? What isn’t possible?
  • How can I use programming to solve problems that I otherwise would not be able to?
  • What makes for a “good” algorithm or data structure? Why?
  • Which problems should I solve with algorithms and data structures? What does a responsible programmer do when using data about real people?

Prerequisites

The prerequisite for CS106B is completion of CS106A and readiness to move on to advanced programming topics. A comparable introductory programming course or experience (including high school AP courses) is often a reasonable substitute for Stanford’s CS106A. If you are unsure if this course is the right for you, read more about course placement.

Course Structure

Lectures

Lecture meets MWF 1:30 PM - 2:20 PM in Hewlett 200. Lecture recordings will be posted on Canvas for future review. All students are expected attend lectures in person if at all feasible (i.e., not if you are sick or an SCPD remote student), in order to fully participate in class discussions and other synchronous activities. We understand that this isn't possible for every student every time, so if you are unable to attend we ask that you at least watch the video of class before the next class, so you are up to speed on all course topics and important announcements. Read more about lectures.

Note about recording consent: Video cameras are located in the back of the lecture room to capture the instructor presentation. These recordings might be reused in other Stanford courses, viewed by other Stanford students, faculty, or staff, or used for other education and research purposes. While the cameras are positioned with the intention of recording only the instructor, occasionally a part of your image or voice might be incidentally captured. If you have questions, please contact a member of the teaching team.

Sections

Each students is assigned to a weekly small group discussion section, led by an undergraduate section leader. Your section leader is your mentor, grader, and personal connection to the greater CS106B course staff.

Sections begin the second week of classes, and attendance and participation are mandatory for all students. Your section leader will evaluate your section participation; this contributes to your course grade.

Read more about section.

Assignments

There will be regular assignments, about one per week. An assignment may include written problems, hands-on exercises with the tools, coding tasks and/or a larger complete program. Assignments are to be completed individually.

Programs are graded on "functionality" (is the program's behavior correct?) and "style" (is the code well-written and designed cleanly?). We use a bucket grading scale to focus attention on the qualitative rather than quantitative feedback. Read more about assignments, grading, and late policy.

Exams

We have mid-quarter and end-quarter exams. The mid-quarter is a check-in to assess your understanding of core topics covered in the first half of the course and help you chart a path forward. The final is a comprehensive assessment of your mastery of the course learning goals. Read more about exams.

Mark these dates in your calendar now!

  • Midterm: Thursday, May 9, 7:00 - 9:00 PM
  • Final: Friday, June 7, 8:30 - 11:30 AM

👉 This course is participating in the proctoring pilot overseen by the Academic Integrity Working Group (AIWG). The purpose of this pilot is to determine the efficacy of proctoring and develop effective practices for proctoring in-person exams at Stanford. To find more details on the pilot or the working group, please visit the AIWG's webpage.

For more information about the goals of the proctoring pilot and information about how any survey data will be used, see:

AIWG Course Information for Proctoring Pilot

Course Grades

Final grades for the course will be determined using the following weights:

  • 53% Programming assignments
  • 15% Mid-quarter exam
  • 25% End-quarter final exam
  • 5% Section participation
  • 2% Quiz 0 on canvas

In order to receive a passing grade in the course, you must earn a passing grade on the programming assignments as well as (collectively) the exams (i.e., failing an exam will not disqualify you from passing the course, as long as your average across both exams is a passing grade). So, someone who has a passing exam average but a failing average on the programming assignments, or vice versa, will not receive a passing grade in the course.

Units

If you are an undergraduate, you must enroll in CS106B for 5 units (this is by department and university policy, no exceptions). If you are a graduate student, you may enroll in CS106B for 3 or 4 units to reduce your units for administrative reasons. Taking the course for reduced units has no change on the course workload.

Policies

Incompletes

The university “I” grade (“incomplete”) is sometimes appropriate for circumstances of significant personal or family emergency disruption that occur late in the quarter and prevent a student from finishing course requirements on schedule. In order to be eligible for an Incomplete, University policy stipulates that a student must have completed a “substantial” part of the course work in “satisfactory” fashion. There must also be extenuating circumstances that warrant an extension of time beyond the end of the quarter to complete the remaining work. Approval for an incomplete is at the instructors’ discretion. Incompletes are not be considered for reasons such as poor performance in the course or over-commitment. Withdrawal from the course is more appropriate in those cases.

Time Is of the Essence

We require timely notification if any circumstances arise that impact your ability to continue with the course in a way that our late assignment submission policy does not already accommodate – generally in advance of any impacted deadlines.

Honor Code

As a student taking a Stanford course, you agree to abide by the Stanford Honor Code, and we expect you to read over and follow our specific CS106B Honor Code policy. The work you submit for grading must be your own original, independent effort and must not be based on, guided by, or jointly developed with the work of others.

The CS department employs powerful automated plagiarism detection tools that compare assignment submissions with other submissions from the current and previous quarters, as well as related online resources. The tools also analyze your intermediate work, and we will run the tools on every assignment you submit.

The vast majority of you are here to learn and will do honest work for an honest grade. We celebrate and honor your commitment. Because it’s important that all cases of academic dishonesty are identified for the sake of those playing by the rules, we will refer all cases of concern to the Office of Community Standards.

Course Resources

Textbook

Roberts, Eric. Programming Abstractions in C++. ISBN 978-0133454840.

You can find different options to access the textbook here . Recommended readings for each lecture will be posted on our lecture schedule.

Software

The official CS106 programming environment is Qt Creator, which is an editor bundled with C++ compiler and libraries. The software runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux and is free for personal/student use. The Qt Installation Guide has instructions for installing the tools onto your computer.

Getting Help

We want to enable everyone to succeed in this course and offer different paths to help.

The instructors and Head TA will hold weekly office hours. The section leaders staff LaIR helper hours. The CS106B Ed Discussion forum allows public Q&A and discussion with your peers. Here is the Quick Start Guide to using Ed.

Accommodations

Students who need an academic accommodation based on the impact of a disability should initiate a request with the Office of Accessible Education. Professional staff will evaluate the request with required documentation, recommend reasonable accommodations, and prepare an Accommodation Letter dated in the current quarter. Students should contact the OAE as soon as possible since timely notice is needed to coordinate accommodations. The OAE has contact information on their web page: http://oae.stanford.edu. Once you obtain your OAE letter, please send it to the head TA.

Course Tools

The central place for CS106B resources is the course website right here at https://cs106b.stanford.edu. The website is your go-to for course materials (lectures, assignments, sections, exams) and course policies and information.

We also make use use these additional tools:

  • Canvas to publish lecture videos and lecture quizzes.
  • Ed Discussion forum for online community, Q&A, and posted announcements.
  • Paperless, our custom site for submitting assignments and viewing grading feedback.
  • LaIR, our custom tool for mananging the queue in helper hours.
  • Gradescope, for viewing graded exams.