Computer Science 340
Programming Languages

Fall 2019, Siena College



Dr. James D. Teresco, Roger Bacon 321, (518) 782-6992
Electronic mail: jteresco AT (best contact method)
Twitter: @JTerescoSienaCS
Class URL: [Link]
Class hour: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:10-10:10, Roger Bacon 340
Office hours: Monday 10:20-11:20 and 1:30-2:30, Tuesday 10:00-11:30, Friday 10:20-11:20 and 1:30-2:30, and by appointment


Everything on this syllabus is subject to change. Changes will be announced in class and updated in the online version of the syllabus.

You should check your Siena College email account regularly for class-related messages. You are responsible for being aware of all communications made via email.

Learning Goals and Mission Statements

Course Description and Objectives

From the course catalog: "A study of programming languages. This course explores fundamental constructs underlying programming languages and their use. Concepts are illustrated using a procedural language such as C, a functional language such as Scheme, a hybrid language such as Python, and a logic programming language such as Prolog. Advanced topics in object-oriented programming are also explored. Topics covered include language design, scoping rules, binding, parameter passing, as well as an exploration of interpreters and compilers."

This course satisfies an elective requirement for the Computer Science or Software Development major.

Our specific learning objectives for CSIS 340 include the following:



The required text for the course is Concepts of Programming Languages, Twelfth Edition (Pearson, 2018, ISBN 978-0-13-4997186-2) by Robert W. Sebesta. This is available from the Siena College bookstore and elsewhere. Be sure to get the correct edition, as this is the latest in a long series of textbooks.

There will be various additional readings assigned from freely available sources.


Everyone is expected to attend class and participate in discussions and activities. Required readings are listed on the lecture and reading schedule. It is essential that you do the reading, so we can focus on the most important and challenging topics, work through problems, and complete "mini lab" activities during class meetings. 15% of your course grade will be determined by quizzes based on the readings, in-class mini labs, and other activities.

The notes used to guide in-class presentations are available as PDF files linked from the lecture and reading schedule.

Be prompt, prepared, and ready to focus on the day's topics. This should go without saying, but this means your phones and other devices not being used exclusively to follow along with class materials and/or to take notes must be powered off. Some class work will be done on computers, and you may bring your own laptop (note that you might need to install some software) or use one of the college laptops that are located in our classroom. Food or drink cannot be permitted when using college laptops.

Programs and Problem Sets

Problem sets that include both programming and non-programming tasks will be assigned throughout the semester. The number of points available on each will vary with the complexity of the assignment. Some sets may be individual work; some will be group work. Programs will be graded on design, documentation, style, correctness, and efficiency. Answers to questions are expected to be well-written.

You may develop programs for assignments anywhere (in the school's labs, your own computers, etc.) but it is your responsibility to ensure that your programs work on the grading platform.

Unless otherwise specified, problem set work may be turned in with a penalty computed as 1.08h%, where h is the number of hours late. Extensions will only be granted in serious situations. You can find programs in several languages that print out a table of the late penalties here. Work turned in after solutions have been made available cannot receive credit.

All assignments and projects are to be submitted electronically, often using GitHub repositories. Some assignments may require an in-person demonstration. Please submit written work in portable formats (plain text or PDF). If in doubt about a file format, please check before submitting. Keep a copy of any written submissions for yourself.


There will be two evening exams, scheduled for Monday, October 14, and Monday, November 25. Please plan accordingly. The second exam will serve as the final exam.

Final Project

For the last few weeks of the semester, the workload of the regular assignments will be reduced and you will focus your efforts on a project where you will study and make use of a programming language beyond what we studied in detail in class. The project will include a proposal, a progress report, a paper, a presentation, and software development. Since the second exam, just before Thanksgiving, will serve as our final exam, we will use the last regular class meeting and our exam week meeting to hold a minisymposium where you will present your projects. Details will be made available as the time approaches. Your final submission (paper and software) will be due at our final exam time slot as scheduled by the Registrar's office.


Grades for individual assignments and exams are not scaled. Any scaling deemed appropriate will take place at the end of the semester by adjusting the thresholds. The following thresholds may be adjusted downward (thereby raising grades) but will never be adjusted upward.


In-Class Work/Labs/Quizzes 15% A >= 93% A- >= 90%
Problem Sets 25% B+ >= 87% B >= 83% B- >= 80%
Midterm Exam 20% C+ >= 77% C >= 73% C- >= 70%
Final Exam 25% D+ >= 67% D >= 65% D- >= 60%
Language Project 15% F < 60%


Please be sure you are familiar with the Siena College Student Class Attendance Policy.

Every college student should be motivated to attend every lecture and lab meeting for all the right reasons (e.g., desire for knowledge, desire to get the most out of every very expensive minute, etc.). As experienced college students, you understand that regular attendance is essential to your ability to master the course material.

Therefore, there is no formal attendance policy. You are expected to attend regularly, and should still see the instructor about any excused absences. An excused absence may be any of the following:

  1. A documented athletic or academic event that conflicts with a class meeting. The required paperwork must be presented in person at least one week prior to the event.
  2. A family emergency. These must be documented through the Office of Academic Affairs (518-783-2307), who will then contact your instructors.
  3. Personal illness. These must be documented by the Office of Student Affairs (518-783-2328), who will then contact your instructors.

While there is no formal penalty for unexecused absences, missing class regularly, frequent tardiness, or being distracted in class (e.g., checking your phone or Facebook) will be considered a sign that you are not taking the course seriously. Attendance is taken daily, with late arrivals and evidence of distraction or inattention noted as needed. Common sense suggests and experience validates that students who are frequently absent, late, or inattentive perform poorly on graded work. Do not expect compassion when final grades are assigned or extensive extra help if you do not understand a topic that was covered while you were absent without a valid excuse.

Disability Accommodations

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Siena College is committed to ensuring educational access and accommodations for all its registered students.

Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments or accommodations should provide documentation of such during the first two weeks of class. All discussions will remain confidential. Accommodations must be arranged with Mr. Rob Bahny, Director of Services for Students with Disabilities (Foy 109, 518-783-4239).

Complaints about services provided or not provided may be brought to the attention of Public Safety at 518-783-2376 or Ms. Lois Goland, JD, Title IX Coordinator and Equal Opportunity Specialist (SSU 235, 518-782-6673).

Academic Integrity

You are encouraged to discuss the concepts related to course assignments and exams with your classmates. This is an essential part of a healthy academic environment. However, work submitted for grading must be your own (or the combined work of group members, for group assignments). Any unauthorized copying or collaboration is considered a breach of academic integrity and will not be tolerated. Academic dishonesty cases are unpleasant and uncomfortable for everyone involved. You are responsible for reading and understanding the College's Academic Integrity Policy and the Computer Science Department's Academic Integrity statement. The minimum penalties for a first violation will include failure (0 grade) for the assignment or exam in question and the filing of a Academic Integrity Violation Accusation Form. A second violation will result in failure of the course and a formal letter describing your misconduct will be sent to the head of the Computer Science Department and the Office of Academic Affairs. Students suspected of violating academic integrity will be referred to the Academic Integrity Committee for final determination.

If there is any doubt about the degree of collaboration allowed or the permitted sources for a particular assignment, please ask for clarification before collaborating or consulting the source. Any such collaborations or sources must be cited properly.