Summer Technology Training – Summer 2021
English Department

Instructor: Bruce Elgort
Office: Virtual Office
Availability: On Slack 7 days a week or by appointment at
Phone: (360) 771-8819
Credits: 4
Course Location: Remote via Zoom
Course Meeting and Location: Tuesdays on Zoom from 5:30 – 7:30 PM. I will share the link for Zoom on the class Slack group.

Course Description

This course is an 8-week “coding bootcamp” style course for graduate and advanced undergraduate students in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities who need coding and computer literacies to support their professional development and research activities.

The course will generally follow the Harvard CS50 Intro to Computer Science curriculum (Available free on EdX), although after the introductory material students will be able to focus their interests to suit their professional goals (e.g., Python for data analytics or HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for web development).

Your instructor will support student learning, provide additional instruction and resources, and support student projects.

This course fulfills a Technical Communication Elective for students in the Masters in Professional and Technical Writing program and elective credit in other degree programs.

Course Outcomes/Learning Objectives

Among the overarching goals for students individually in this course is that they learn something that we haven’t taught them, as is manifest at term’s end by so many students’ final projects that use languages, libraries, tools, and techniques not taught in the course. Along the way will students learn to

  • think more methodically;
  • program procedurally;
  • represent and process information;
  • communicate succinctly and precisely;
  • solve problems efficiently;
  • recognize patterns among problems;
  • decompose problems into parts and compose solutions thereto;
  • operate at multiple levels of abstraction;
  • separate design from implementation details;
  • infer from first principles how systems work;
  • assess the correctness, design, and style of code;
  • teach themselves new languages;
  • identify threats to privacy and security;
  • read documentation, drawing conclusions from specifications;
  • test solutions to problems, find faults, and identify corner cases;
  • describe symptoms of problems precisely and ask questions clearly; and
  • identify and quantify tradeoffs among resources, particularly time and space.

Ultimately, the course provides students with a foundation for further studies in computer science and empowers students to apply computer science to problems in other domains.

Course Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites for this course.

Required Materials

Students will need access to a computer that can run the Google Chrome web browser. Access to the Internet is also required.


Students are encouraged to use Slack for communication with the instructor. All students will receive an invitation to the class Slack group. Students can ask questions, collaborate with others, and share relevant information on the topics relating to programming. Students have been sent an invite to join the Slack group. If a student did not receive the invite, please contact Bruce.

Major Assignments

Each week there will be a “Problem Set” assigned.

Students who elect to complete a “Final Project” are not required to submit Problem Sets 6, 7, and 8. See the Final Project section for more information.

Problem sets are due on the following dates:

  • Problem Set 1 – Due on Monday, June 28 at 9:00 PM
  • Problem Set 2 – Due on Monday, July 5 at 9:00 PM
  • Problem Set 3 – Due on Monday, July 12 at 9:00 PM
  • Problem Set 4 – Due on Monday, July 19 at 9:00 PM
  • Problem Set 5 – Due on Monday, July 26 at 9:00 PM
  • Problem Set 6 – Due on Monday, August 2 at 9:00 PM
  • Problem Set 7 – Due on Monday, August 9 at 9:00 PM
  • Problem Set 8 – Due on Friday, August 13 at 9:00 PM
  • Final Project (for students electing to complete one rather than Problem Sets 6, 7, and 8) is due on Friday, August 13 at 9:00 PM

Final Project

Students who elect to complete a Final Project rather than complete Problem Sets 6, 7, and 8 must do the following:

  1. Complete and submit to the instructor a short Final Project Proposal including their goals and a work plan by Friday, July 23rd at 9:00 PM. 
  2. Students must work with the instructor in developing their project proposals.
  3. Final Project proposals are due during Week 5 and must be submitted by Friday, July 23rd at 9:00 PM.

Grading Criteria

Each weekly Problem Set is worth 12.5 points. There are 8 problem sets for a total of 100 points.

Students that wish to complete a Final Project do not need to turn in Problem Sets 6, 7, and 8. The Final Project is worth 37.5 points.

The two lowest Problem Set scores will be dropped from students’ final grades in the course.

Late Work

Any Problem Set submission or the Final Project – that is submitted late will have points deducted.

No assignment or submission will be accepted 5 days after the deadline.

Flexibility Statement

The instructor reserves the right to modify course content and/or substitute assignments and learning activities in response to institutional, weather, or class situations.

Course Calendar/Schedule

Week 1– Introduction
– Scratch
– Problem Set 1
Week 2 – The C Programming Language
– Problem Set 2
Week 3– Storing Data in Arrays
– Problem Set 3
Week 4– HTML, CSS and JavaScript
– Problem Set 4
Week 5– Algorithms
– Problem Set 5
– Final Project
Week 6– Python
– Problem Set 6
Week 7– SQL (Structured Query Language)
– Problem Set 7
Week 8– Data Structures
– Problem Set 8

PSU Policies & Resources

PSU Grading System


Drop/Withdraw Deadline:

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a vital part of the educational experience at PSU. Please see the PSU Student Code of Conduct for the university’s policy on academic dishonesty. A confirmed violation of that Code in this course may result in failure of the course.

Incomplete Policy

Students do not have a right to receive or demand an Incomplete grade. The option of assigning an Incomplete grade is at the discretion of the instructor when the following criteria are met.

Eligibility Criteria:

  1. Required satisfactory course completion/participation.
  2. Reasonable justification for the request.
  3. Incomplete grade is not a substitute for a poor grade.
  4. Written agreement. (See Incomplete Contract )
  5. Resolving the Incomplete.

For the full Incomplete Policy see

Student Services

Disability Access Statement

If you have, or think you may have, a disability that may affect your work in this class and feel you need accommodations, contact the Disability Resource Center to schedule an appointment and initiate a conversation about reasonable accommodations. The DRC is located in 116 Smith Memorial Student Union, 503-725-4150,,

Safe Campus Statement

Portland State University desires to create a safe campus for our students. As part of that mission, PSU requires all students to take the learning module entitled Creating a Safe Campus: Preventing Gender Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Assault. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you can find the appropriate resources on PSU’s Enrollment Management & Student Affairs: Sexual Prevention & Response website at

Basic Needs at Portland State

It can be challenging to do your best in class if you have trouble meeting basic needs like safe shelter, sleep, and nutrition. Resource centers across campus are here to provide assistance, referrals, and support. Please contact anyone on this list for assistance:

Title IX Reporting

As an instructor, one of my responsibilities is to help create a safe learning environment for my students and for the campus as a whole.  Please be aware that as a faculty member, I have the responsibility to report any instances of sexual harassment, sexual violence and/or other forms of prohibited discrimination.  If you would rather share information about sexual harassment, sexual violence or discrimination to a confidential employee who does not have this reporting responsibility, you can find a list of those individuals on PSU’s Enrollment Management & Student Affairs: Sexual Prevention & Response website at For more information about Title IX please complete the required student module “Creating a Safe Campus: Preventing Gender Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Assault” in the “My Courses” section of D2L.

Cultural Resource Centers

The Cultural Resource Centers (CRCs) create a student-centered inclusive environment that enriches the university experience. We honor diversity, explore social justice issues, celebrate cultural traditions, and foster student identities, success, and leadership. Our centers include the Multicultural Student Center, La Casa Latina Student Center, Native American Student & Community Center, Pan African Commons, Pacific Islander, Asian, Asian American Student Center and the Middle Eastern, North African, South Asian program. We provide student leadership, employment, and volunteer opportunities; student resources such as computer labs, event, lounge and study spaces; and extensive programming. All are welcome!


Recording Technology Notice

We may use technology for virtual meetings and recordings in this course. Our use of such technology is governed by FERPA, the Acceptable Use Policy and PSU’s Student Code of Conduct. A record of all meetings and recordings is kept and stored by PSU, in accordance with the Acceptable Use Policy and FERPA. Your instructor will not share recordings of your class activities outside of course participants, which include your fellow students, TAs/GAs/Mentors, and any guest faculty or community-based learning partners that we may engage with. You may not share recordings outside of this course. Doing so may result in disciplinary action.