CS 230 - Introduction to Computers and Computer Systems

Course Outline


Due to current world events, CS 230 will be held exclusively online in Winter 2021.
Video recordings and supplemental instructional material will be posted on LEARN and will be released weekly.


As CS 230 will be held entierly online in Winter 2021, tutorials will not be held. Please visit course staff during their office hours (more info below, all times EST) for any questions you may have otherwise brought to tutorials.

Course Personnel and Office Hours


Name Contact Office Hours
Sandy Graham sandy.graham@uwaterloo.ca W 9-11am
F 10am-noon
On Virtual Classroom in LEARN

Instructional Apprentices (IA)

Name Contact Office Hours
Murray Dunne cs230@uwaterloo.ca TTh 7-8pm
On Virtual Classroom in LEARN
Stefanie Dukovac cs230@uwaterloo.ca M 3-4pm
Th 12-1pm
On Virtual Classroom in LEARN
David Radke cs230@uwaterloo.ca N/A
Please contact by email if you have any marking issue

Instructional Support Coordinator (ISC)

Name Contact
Patrick Roh proh@uwaterloo.ca
Contact for questions regarding verification of illness or other documents, enrollment, alternative arrangements, or other administrative questions.

Course Description

An introduction to hardware and software concepts used in computer systems. Specific topics include machine-level programming, memory organization, and basic I/O mechanisms.

Course Objectives

To provide a basic understanding of computer hardware, system architecture, and how it supports operating system services and high-level programming languages.

Course Overview

The course content is delivered in the following 6 modules


The primary means for announcements is the course newsgroup on CS230 Piazza. There may be announcements posted on the course website.

Please direct questions to the course newsgroup. If there is a good reason not to use the newsgroup (e.g., personal matters, a question that might reveal part of a solution, etc.) either create a private post or email the IA or instructor directly via email.


There is no official textbook for this course.


Assessment Dates / Information Percent Grade
11 Weekly Quizzes Held every Wednesday
All quizzes are to be completed on LEARN.
3 each (total 33)
Assignment 1 Due: January 22 at 11:30PM EST 8
Assignment 2 Due: February 5 at 11:30PM EST 10
Assignment 3 Due: February 26 at 11:30PM EST 10
Assignment 4 Due: March 12 at 11:30PM EST 10
Assignment 5 Due: March 26 at 11:30PM EST 10
Assignment 6 Due: April 9 at 11:30PM EST 10
Assignment 7 Due: April 14 at 11:30PM EST 9
Total 100

Assignments are submitted online to CS230 MarkUs.


Assignment/Quiz Return

Assignments are returned through MarkUs.

Quizzes are returned instantly and automatically on Learn.

Remarking Policy

Requests for remarking an assignment may be submitted to the IA (cs230@uwaterloo.ca) at up to one week after the assignment is returned in MarkUs.

No remark requests will be accepted for quizzes.

Rules for Group Work

Unless otherwise stated in the assignment, assignments are to be done individually.

Quizzes are to be done individually.

Mental Health

If you or anyone you know experiences any academic stress, difficult life events, or feelings like anxiety or depression, we strongly encourage you to seek support.

On-campus Resources (availability may vary due to world events)

Off-campus Resources


It is our intent that students from all diverse backgrounds and perspectives be well served by this course, and that students' learning needs be addressed both in and out of class. We recognize the immense value of the diversity in identities, perspectives, and contributions that students bring, and the benefit it has on our educational environment. Your suggestions are encouraged and appreciated. Please let us know ways to improve the effectiveness of the course for you personally or for other students or student groups. In particular:

Academic Integrity

In order to maintain a culture of academic integrity, members of the University of Waterloo community are expected to promote honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. All members of the UW community are expected to hold to the highest standard of academic integrity in their studies, teaching, and research. The Office of Academic Integrity's website contains detailed information on UW policy for students and faculty. This site explains why academic integrity is important and how students can avoid academic misconduct. It also identifies resources available on campus for students and faculty to help achieve academic integrity in - and out - of the classroom.


A student who believes that a decision affecting some aspect of his or her university life has been unfair or unreasonable may have grounds for initiating a grievance, as outlined by Policy 70 - Student Petitions and Grievances. When in doubt please be certain to contact the department's administrative assistant who will provide further assistance.


A student is expected to know what constitutes academic integrity, to avoid committing an academic offence, and to take responsibility for his or her actions. A student who is unsure whether an action constitutes an offence, or who needs help in learning how to avoid offences (e.g., plagiarism, cheating) or about 'rules' for group work/collaboration should seek guidance from the course instructor, academic advisor, or the undergraduate Associate Dean. For information on categories of offences and types of penalties, students should refer to Policy 71 - Student Discipline Students may also view the University's Guidelines for the Assessment of Penalties.

Avoiding Academic Offenses

Most students are unaware of the line between acceptable and unacceptable academic behaviour, especially when discussing assignments with classmates and using the work of other students. For information on commonly misunderstood academic offenses and how to avoid them, students should refer to the Faculty of Mathematics Cheating and Student Academic Discipline Guidelines.


A decision made or penalty imposed under Policy 70 - Student Petitions and Grievances (other than a petition) or Policy 71 - Student Discipline may be appealed if there is grounds to do so. A student who believes he or she has a ground for an appeal should refer to Policy 72 - Student Appeals.

Note for Students with Disabilities

AccessAbility Services (AAS), located in Needles Hall, Room 1401, collaborates with all academic departments to arrange appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities without compromising the academic integrity of the curriculum. If you require academic accommodations to lessen the impact of your disability, please register with them at the beginning of each academic term.

Intellectual Property

Students should be aware that this course contains the intellectual property of their instructor, TA, and/or the University of Waterloo. Intellectual property includes items such as:

Course materials and the intellectual property contained therein, are used to enhance a student's educational experience. However, sharing this intellectual property without the intellectual property owner's permission is a violation of intellectual property rights. For this reason, it is necessary to ask the instructor, TA and/or the University of Waterloo for permission before uploading and sharing the intellectual property of others online (e.g., to an online repository).

Permission from an instructor, TA or the University is also necessary before sharing the intellectual property of others from completed courses with students taking the same/similar courses in subsequent terms/years. In many cases, instructors might be happy to allow distribution of certain materials. However, doing so without expressed permission is considered a violation of intellectual property rights.

Please alert the instructor if you become aware of intellectual property belonging to others (past or present) circulating, either through the student body or online. The intellectual property rights owner deserves to know (and may have already given their consent).