Main Course Webpage

General information


Here are some guidelines for electronic communication (email and forum postings). These are meant to help you get answers more quickly by allowing us to better cope with the potentially high volume of messages we receive.

Giving feedback

Rather than wait until the official course evaluations at the end of the term, by which point it's too late to make a difference, please feel free to get in touch with your instructor at any point during the term with any suggestion or complaint that you have about any aspect of the course. In particular, don't hesitate to let us know if there are aspects of the course that you particularly like, so that we can keep them that way, or if there are specific aspects that you dislike, so that we can make changes (or discuss with you our reasons for doing things the way we do).

If you are uncomfortable bringing your concerns directly to us, you might consider mentioning it to your TA so that they can pass them on. Failing that, feel free to use any means that makes you more comfortable to give us feedback.

Note that this does not mean that we will accept unfounded complaints! If you have a complaint or criticism that you are ready to discuss in a reasonable manner, that's great. If you are merely unhappy but you have nothing constructive to say (e.g., "this course is terrible", with no thought about why or how it is terrible), then you should wait and think it over: if you are unhappy, there must be a reason — that's what we want to know! Remember that the goal is to help improve the course, not just to vent. But in that case, please do think about it and let us know!

Contact information

Instructor: François Pitt
Email: fpitt [at]
Phone: 416–978–3707 (email is strongly preferred)
Office: BA 4264
Office Hours: TWR 2–4 [here is my full weekly schedule, in PDF]


Section Time Room
L0101 M 10
W 10
ES 1050
MC 102
L5101 W 6–8 SF 1105


You must enrol in a lab section directly on ROSI.
Labs begin on January 15/16.

Section Time Rooms
T0101 T 9–11 BA 3175 (last names A–G)
BA 3185 (last names H–N)
BA 3195 (last names P–Z)
T0201 T 11–1 BA 3175 (last names B–H)
BA 3185 (last names I–Q)
BA 3195 (last names R–Z, A)
T0301 T 1–3 BA 3175 (last names A–K)
BA 3195 (last names L–Z)
T0401 W 11–1 BA 3175 (last names Y–Z, A–F)
BA 3185 (last names G–O)
BA 3195 (last names P–X)
T0501 W 1–3 BA 3175 (last names H–S)
BA 3195 (last names T–Z, A–G)
T0601 W 3–5 BA 3175 (last names G–S)
BA 3195 (last names T–Z, A–F)
T5101 T 7–9 BA 3175 (last names G–S)
BA 3195 (last names T–Z, A–F)

CS Help Centre

In addition to lectures and labs, and my regular office hours (which you are strongly encouraged to attend whenever you have any question or concern about the course), the CS Help Centre is a nice study space with help available, run by experienced TAs, located in room BA 2230. It is open every Monday to Thursday, 4–6pm, from the first day of classes (Jan. 7) until the last day of exams (Apr. 30).

See the second page of the Course Information Sheet (L0101 / L5101) for a complete calendar of important dates and course events.

Grading scheme

Work Weight
11 Labs: 10% (best 10 of 11 at 1% each)
6 Exercises: 15% (best 5 of 6 at 3% each)
1 Project: 15% (5% for part I, 10% for part II)
2 Term Tests: 20% (10% each)
1 Final Examination: 40%

Policy on special consideration ("Petitions")

If you are unable to complete homework or if you miss a test due to major illness or other circumstances completely outside of your control, please contact your instructor immediately in order to receive special consideration. Note that special consideration will be considered on an individual basis and will not be given automatically — in other words, you risk getting a mark of zero for missed work unless you contact your instructor promptly.

In the case of illness, medical documentation must be supplied on the standard University of Toronto Student Medical Certificate (PDF). You can also obtain a paper copy of this certificate from your college registrar or in your registration handbook. (A simple "note" from your doctor is unfortunately not acceptable.)

Policy on remarking requests

All remarking requests must be received within one month of the date when the homework or test was returned. It is your responsibility to check course announcements regularly (for work returned electronically) or to pick up your work in lecture, labs, or from the instructor during office hours (for work returned on paper).

Please be specific when you write up your request: either clearly demonstrate that the marking scheme was not followed correctly, or ask questions about specific elements in the marking scheme. Note that marks are awarded based on merit, not on need — that is the only fair way to award marks — so statements like "I worked really hard" or "I really need those marks" are unfortunately not good reasons.

If you are comparing your work to that of another student, hand in both tests or include both usernames in your request.

If you are still not satisfied after getting back your remarked homework or test (or after having a meeting with the marker), contact your instructor to discuss your situation.

Python resources

We use the Python programming language in this course. In addition, we will use the Wing IDE (Integrated Development Environment) to edit, debug, and run code.

There is extensive Python documentation available online; you can use it online or download the documentation to your own computer. (Please do not download it to your campus account — this will use up too much of your disk quota! Use the online version instead.)

What to Install

Please check to make sure you download the right package for your computer!

Yes, you do need to download both Python and Wing: Python is required in order for the computer to be able to execute your code; Wing is not strictly required, but if you don't use it, you'll have to find another development environment to edit your code.

Textbook and references

Required textbook

There is no required textbook for this course. Reading materials will be posted on the Lectures & Labs page.

Recommended reference

Python resources

Resources for writing support

You will be asked to do lots of writing at UofT, and you will find lots of resources for developing your skill and confidence as an academic writer. Here is some key information for students in Arts and Science. Reformatted version of a document prepared September 2011 by Dr. Margaret Procter (UofT Coordinator, Writing Support), with a few additions.

Writing Centres
Each college has a writing centre, where specialized instructors are available to work with you individually as you plan, draft, and revise your writing in any subject area. Make appointments early if you can, using the online booking system (log in with your UTORid); there's a wait list function too.
Writing Plus group sessions
Demonstrates university expectations for written work in many genres and offers sensible advice to get you past common pitfalls. Choose the sessions and times that suit you and enjoy lively talks by experts. No registration is needed.
Online Advice Files
Gives university-level answers to questions like how to read critically, how to give references to your research sources, and how to organize a paper without relying on unsuitable high-school formulas. The site also covers practical topics like vocabulary building and note-taking, and it recommends relevant handbooks and other online resources.
English Language Learning
Offers guided practice to all Arts and Science students on the kinds of reading, writing and speaking you need to do in your undergraduate courses. For the first five weeks of term, the Communication Café invites you to group meetings to discuss, debate, and practice critical thinking and argumentation — and have fun while doing it. In the online program Reading eWriting, you can develop your critical writing skills and your ability to read effectively by participating in email discussions with an instructor. Join any time. All activities are free of charge. An intensive non-credit course ELL010H is also offered in the summer.
Academic Success Centre
Can't figure out how to organize your time, or meet deadlines, or stay motivated? Stress and overload hitting you at mid-term, or exam time, or all the time? Then the counselling and support at the ASC are what you need. This service provides a mix of group and individual instruction, and also a drop-in centre for personal help when you need it.
Accessibility Services
If you have a learning disability that affects your writing or your ability to read effectively or follow discussions, be sure to contact this service. Eligible students can get specialized tutoring and accommodations such as extra time for exam-writing.
UofT Library system
Besides a world of journal articles, millions of books, and excellent computer labs and study space, the amazing UofT Libraries offer classes and individual help on finding the research sources you need. Librarians will show you how to find and use online material efficiently, and can help you decide which sources are suitable for specific projects. Don't be shy about asking! Get to know your college libraries as well as the central ones.
Writing Resources
The starting place for many of the resources above.

Useful links