Announcement: Self-Paced 61AS Offered This Semester

We'd like to call to your attention an alternative to this semester's standard lecture/lab/discussion-based 61A. We are also offering a lab-only, self-paced version of the course, which covers the same material and fulfills the same requirements. In principle the course is called CS 61AS (S for self-paced), but for administrative reasons has a CS 194 course number this semester.

Key differences:

  1. 61A's instructor is John DeNero; 61AS's instructor is Brian Harvey.
  2. A self-paced course allows students to work either more slowly or more quickly than everyone else and still succeed. The course offers between one and five units of credit, depending on how far you get; four units is equivalent to the pace of the lecture-based version. Extra topics are available for students who finish the regular four units before the end of the semester. There's also a "unit zero" providing a gentle introduction for students who have not programmed recursive functions. Students who don't finish the entire course will get credit for what they've done and can complete it next semester. Only three units are required to meet the 61A prerequisite for later courses.
  3. 61A and 61AS use different (but similar) programming languages and materials. 61A uses the Python programming language and lecture notes that are derived from the classic textbook Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (SICP). 61AS uses SICP directly (available free online) and the Scheme programming language. Course topics are similar.

Both versions of the course are being offered this semester for the first time, although both are based on the course as offered in the past.

We are offering three sections of 61AS

Instruction for 61AS begins this week.

Section      CCN      Times

CS 194-18    26625    TuTh 1-4pm
CS 194-19    26628    TuTh 10am-1pm
CS 194-20    26631    WF 1-4pm

If you're interested, sign up for whichever section you can attend. All sections will meet in the lab, 273 Soda Hall.

More information about 61AS

Because we want to be sure that the self-pacing feature of 61AS really works, we want to attract three kinds of students to the pilot this semester:

  1. Students with little or no programming background, and specifically who have not programmed recursive functions.
  2. Students who have previously taken CS 3/3L/3S or CS 10 at Berkeley.
  3. Students who've been programming since they were 12.

If we don't have enough of each kind of student, we'll try to twist some people's arms to switch between 61A and 61AS.

Because different students will complete different numbers of units, grading is based on the ratio of points earned to the maximum possible points for those units. Points are given for homework, short in-lab quizzes (at the end of each lesson), programming projects, and a final.

Video recorded 61A lectures by Brian Harvey are available as an optional part of each 61AS lesson.

If you have previously taken a lab-based course (e.g., CS 3L) or a self-paced course (e.g., CS 3S) from us, please note that 61AS is a sort of hybrid, with (we hope) the best features of each model: As in 3S, you can work at your own pace, but as in 3L, you get the support of a specific regular lab time with the same TA and the same fellow students at each meeting.

Direct further questions to Brian Harvey, bh@cs (dot berkeley dot edu)