Lab 0: Preliminaries
Please complete ASAP!
This lab consists of some simple tasks that you should complete on your own as soon as possible.
If you encounter any problems while completing these tasks, please post your question to Piazza, our class discussion site. The link to our Piazza course page is available on this site’s navigation bar.
Task 0: Set up your CS account
In order to use the computing resources of the computer science department, you need to set up a CS account, which is different from your regular BU account. To do so, you will need to go the CS undergraduate lab, which is located in EMA 302 (730 Commonwealth Avenue, 2nd level; the main entrance is by Pavement Coffeehouse). Make sure to bring your BU ID with you to the lab.
Once you get to EMA 302, you should perform the account-creation process using one of the Unix machines, which are located on the left-hand side of the lab. Directions for doing so should be available when you enter the lab; ask one of the people at the help window if you don’t see an instruction sheet.
After you have completed the instructions for creating an account, show your BU ID to someone at the window. You are then free to leave the lab.
Task 1: Review course policies
As your next task, please review the policies of the course, which can be found in the syllabus and using the links in the navigation bar. In particular, please review carefully the policies on collaboration and academic misconduct for this course. Note that under some circumstances collaboration between students is encouraged, but there are important limitations to the extent to which you may do so. Read over these policies and ensure that you understand to what degree you may work with others. Feel free to let us know if you have any questions.
Task 2: Complete a survey
Please use the link below to complete a short survey that is required of all students in CS 111.
Task 3: Get a notebook for lecture
A number of lecture exercises will require you to write out your work on paper. As a result, you will need to bring a paper notebook (either loose-leaf or spiral) and a pen or pencil to every lecture. Doing so will also allow you to take notes during class, which we highly recommend!
Task 4: Prepare to use the Top Hat response system
We will be using the Top Hat classroom response system during lecture. You will be required to use this system to submit answers to in-class questions using your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
To prepare for your use of Top Hat, we encourage you to visit the Quick Start Guide that is found on their website. It outlines how you will register for a Top Hat account, and it also provides a brief overview to get you up and running on the system.
Top Hat will require a paid subscription, and a full breakdown of the available subscription options can be found here. You only need Top Hat Classroom (student access to the Top Hat app). You do not need to include Top Hat Test / Secure Test.
Each lecture section of CS 111 (A1, B1, or C1) has its own Top Hat course, and you must join the correct course for your lecture section. You should receive an email invitation from Top Hat with all of the necessary information. If you don’t receive this email, you can also find your lecture section’s Top Hat URL and join code in the Announcements section of your lecture section’s site on Blackboard.
Should you require assistance with Top Hat at any time, please contact
their support team directly by email (
the in-app support button, or phone (1-888-663-5491).
Task 5: Install the necessary software
In your work for this course this semester, you will need to have access to a number of programming tools.
The steps needed to obtain and install these tools depend on the operating system that you’re using. Select the appropriate link below:
(Note: You can also use these tools on the computers in the undergraduate lab.)
Task 6: Change IDLE’s settings
One of the tools that comes with Python 3 is called IDLE, which we will be using to write our programs. It is important to change several of the default settings in this program.
Select the appropriate link below: