Introduction to Computer Science


The following are some of the resources available to students of this course. If you feel at any point that you need additional assistance, please let us know!


The textbook for this course is Think Python: How to Think Like a Computer Scientist, a free digital textbook. You may also obtain a PDF of the book here if you prefer.

Python Quick Reference

The textbook is an excellent resource for learning the material. If you’d just like a quick reference sheet of functionality we have discussed (or will discuss) in class, please check here.


The Section 1 instructor for this course is Zachary Palmer. My office hours are as follows:

Monday 3:30 - 4:30 PM
Tuesday 3:30 - 4:30 PM
Thursday 1:00 - 3:00 PM

You can also contact me via e-mail (zachary --dot-- palmer --at-- swarthmore --dot-- edu) to make an appointment or just ask a question. You’re even welcome to drop by anytime my door is open; I’ll help if I’m around and available. My office is Science Center 270.


Lauri Courtenay is the CS Department’s Academic Support Coordinator. She will be working closely with the CS department student mentors, known as Ninjas, who will be assisting during class and running evening study sessions. Please see that page for more information.


All sections of the CS21 course have a shared Piazza forum where you can ask questions and discuss the course material. When posting public questions, please make sure to follow the Academic Integrity Policy: don’t give answers to homework in your public posts, for instance.

Computer Lab

You can use your student ID card to gain access to the computer labs during the nights and on weekends. Just wave your ID over the microprox reader next to the lab doors. When the green light turns on, just push the door to get in (the knob will not turn). If you have problems getting in, visit Bridget in the department office or send her an e-mail (local-staff --at-- to have your number added to the system. If the building is locked, you can use your ID to enter the door between Martin and Cornell library. For this class, you will have access to rooms 238, 240, and 256.

Python Documentation

The Python language provides a large collection of libraries that you may use in your programs. The documentation for those libraries, including examples of use, can be found here. Note that this link leads to the documentation of Version 2.7 of the language, which we will be using in this class.

Academic Accommodations

If you believe that you need accommodations for a disability, please contact Leslie Hempling in the Office of Student Disability Services (Parrish 113) or email lhempli1 to arrange an appointment to discuss your needs. As appropriate, she will issue students with documented disabilities a formal Accommodations Letter. Since accommodations require early planning and are not retroactive, please contact her as soon as possible. For details about the accommodations process, visit the Student Disability Service website.

To receive an accommodation for a course activity, you must have an Accommodation Authorization letter from Leslie Hempling and you need to meet with me to work out the details of your accommodation at least one week prior to the activity.

You are also welcome to contact me privately to discuss your academic needs. However, all disability-related accommodations must be arranged through Leslie Hempling in the Office Of Student Disability Services.