CIS-2010 Computer Organization

Spring 2011

Vermont Technical College

Class Meeting:



Course Overview:

This course familiarizes students with the general architecture of modern computers. In the process, the students will be learn the C programming language and some assembly language programming.

Course Objectives:

The student completing this course should be able to:

Course Textbook

There are no required texts for the course.

If you like to have a textbook as a reference, I recommend Computer Systems: A Programmer’s Perspective, Second Edition, by Bryant and O’Hallaron (ISBN 013034074X). Much of the course loosely follows this textbook.

Any C book would be useful. I find the on-line book The C Book by Banahan, Brady and Doran to be reasonable and it has the advantage of being free. If you have a favorite book, feel free to use that one instead.

Readings will be assigned for most topics. You may read the material before the class where it is covered or after, but many students will find that it helps their preparation for exams and the homework.

This course will use the schedule page (here) to post the readings for each week.

Online Resources


The directions for individual labs are here.

This course has an associated lab which provides fundamental material for the course. The lab involves three different activities during the semester. During the first part of the semester, the labs will involve C programming exercises. There will be at least one hands-on hardware oriented-lab during the semester. The end of the semester labs will investigate assembly language. Some of the labs may include some instructional time.

With permission, you may attend either lab session but it is imperative that you attend lab every week. The 10AM lab is full, so you students in the 8AM lab must talk to me before coming to the 10AM lab.

Some of the labs will have mandatory submissions. You may complete the work in lab or shortly thereafter. Typically, each lab submission will be due the following Sunday at 9PM.


There will be five homework assignments during the semester. These assignments will primarily address the hardware side of the course. The assignments will be posted on-line when available. Assignments must be submitted by 5PM on the date due. Late assignments will be accepted up to 4 days late at a 10% penalty per day (weekends count as one day). Assignments beyond that point will not be accepted. Each assignment will be worth 5% of your grade.

Six labs will have mandatory submissions during the semester. These will mostly involve small programming projects. Each submitted lab will be worth 4% of your grade. Labs may not be submitted after the Sunday deadline.

There will be three in-class exams given during the semester, roughly after each 4 weeks of material. Each exam will be worth 10% of your total course grade.

There will be a final exam for this course that will cover material from the entire course. The exam will be worth 21% of your total course grade.

Contribution to the course environment, including attendance, is worth 5% of your total course grade.

Your lowest assignment lab grade will be dropped OR the importance of an in-class or the final exam will be lessened by 5%, depending on which is most advantageous to you.

Grading summary:
Homework assignments   5 @ 5%   25%
Lab submissions               6 @ 4%   24%
In-class exams                3 @ 10%   30%
Final exam                                        21%
Dropped grade                                  -5%
Course environment                           lab.5%
Total                                               100%

Student Cooperation:

Students are encouraged to work with each other in many ways. Study groups are particularly encouraged. You may discuss the case studies prior to class. The assignments may be completed in small groups as indicated in class. Any copying of work, either from other students or from unacknowledged external sources, is cheating and will result in harsh penalties up to and including dismissal from VTC. To be safe, you should document any contribution from other students or outside sources to your work.

Other Course Procedures:

Students with disabilities, whether physical, psychological, or learning, who believe that they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact the Learning Specialist as soon as possible to ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion. Please contact Robin Goodall to verify your eligibility for accommodations and/or academic assistance related to your disability. She can be reached at the Judd Support Center, extension 728-1278, or by email (