COSC 4920 Principles of Design

Fall 2018

Course Syllabus: Lectures
Office Hours
Grading Policy
Dennis Brylow
Email: brylow at mscs dot mu dot edu
Office: Cudahy 380

Mon//Wed/Fri Noon - 12:50pm, CU 412

Office Hours
Mon/Wed 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Mon 9:00pm - 10:00pm
Fri 9:00am - 10:00am
MSCS Department Logo


Textbook Cover

The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering,
Anniversary Edition.
Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.
ISBN: 0201835959.
Textbook Cover

Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software,
Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides.
ISBN: 020163361. [RECOMMENDED]
Readings will be regularly assigned from the textbooks.
Lectures will assume that students have already read the assigned chapters.

Course Outcomes

Upon completing this course, students will be able to:

For those of you interested in curriculum details, this course will correspond to the following components in the Joint ACM / IEEE Computer Society Taskforce report, Computer Science Curricula 2013: Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Degree Programs in Computer Science:

Knowledge Unit Core-Tier 1 Hours Core-Tier 2 Hours
Software Engineering (SE) 6 21

Course Policies


Grades will be calculated using the following formula:
Projects 50%
Reading Quizzes 10%
Midterm Exam 20%
Final Exam 20%

Weekly reading quizzes will be offered automatically through D2L, and will generally consist of one or to problems taken from or motivated by the readings assigned for the following week.

Grades will be assigned using the standard formula: A: [93, 100]; A-: [90, 93); B+: [86, 90); B: [82, 86); B-: [78, 82); C+: [74, 78); C: [70, 74); C-: [66, 70); D+: [62, 66); D: [58, 62); F: [0, 58)
At the instructor's discretion, grades may be "curved" up; grades will not be curved down.

Grades will be routinely posted in the gradebook on the course D2L site, as they become available.


Student attendance will not be explicitly tracked in this course, and will not directly impact student grades. However, students who routinely miss class discussions or lectures should expect to be unprepared to complete the assignments and exams upon which grades so heavily depend. In short, I don't bother with attendance bean-counting because students who cut class usually fail themselves out of the course before I would need to take any action. Make good decisions.

If you know you will be missing class for a legitimate reason, I appreciate a heads-up, but in accordance with Marquette University Attendance Policies, neither require nor accept documented excuses, except in those specific cases detailed in the policy above. Please try to have a peer in the class take notes in your absence, and get any assignments in ahead of the deadline.

The size and structure of this course will not normally allow me to accept late work under any circumstances. There are enough opportunities for points in the course for most students to miss a few without severe consequences for their grades.

Academic Integrity

All students are expected to abide by Marquette University's Policy on Academic Integrity, and we will proceed under the assumption that everyone has committed themselves to the University's Honor Pledge:

I recognize the importance of personal integrity in all aspects of life and work. I commit myself to truthfulness, honor, and responsibility, by which I earn the respect of others. I support the development of good character, and commit myself to uphold the highest standards of academic integrity as an important aspect of personal integrity. My commitment obliges me to conduct myself according to the Marquette University Honor Code.

The Honor Code has particular implications for computer scientists and engineers, as well as computing professors, whose course work is so readily duplicated and shared in our modern digital world.

For my part, I will strive to ensure that your assignments and exams are engaging, challenging, and worth your investment in time and energy. For your part, I expect you will work hard, strive to learn, and present your work with honesty and integrity.

There will be many opportunities for you to collaborate with your peers in this course, and I strongly encourage you both to seek help when you are stuck, and to share your knowdledge with your peers when you have achieved understanding. Problems will only occur if you falsely claim work as your own when it is not, or collaborate when an exam or assignment has been specified to be individual work.

In the unlikely event of an academic integrity violation in this course, Marquette University's Procedures For Incidents of Academic Dishonesty will be closely followed.


Week Topics Readings Assignments
01 Introduction and Overview MM Ch 1 Initial Project Pitches
02 Software Lifecycle MM Ch 2 Round 2 Project Pitches
03 Software Requirements Feature Selection
04 Requirements Engineering MM Ch 3 Roadmap
05 Requirements Engineering MM Ch 4 Sprint #1
The instructor reserves the right to adjust this schedule as necessary.

[Revised 2018 Oct 06 15:06 DWB]