Thanks for your interest in our course!
This document covers three topics: the waitlist, background for the course, and workload. It addresses most of the questions you are likely to have, so please read it carefully.
First and foremost: if at any point you decide you are no longer interested in the course, let the staff know so we can remove you from the waitlist! You may be blocking another interested student.
We only have so much room in the classroom, so if you would like to take the course, please join the waitlist because we admit students in the order that they appear on that list, subject to a few conditions.
If we can't admit you this semester, you will be considered for next semester. In any case, to be admitted to the course, you must attend every class, and do the homework assignments.
Initially, attendance will be huge with people sitting on the floor, etc. Don't worry: it's just the shopping period working itself out. Instead of fretting over your waitlist number, just show up and do the work. No promises, but we'll do our best to make it work.
We require people to use laptops for the course. Since the classroom doesn't have any computers, you'll be required to bring a laptop to class to do the work. If you don't have a laptop, talk with the course staff — maybe we can work something out.
Finally, if you have special circumstances (e.g., you enrolled last semester but talked to us about taking it this semester instead), we'll take that into account. Remind us if it looks like we've forgotten. For now, don't sweat it.
If you can use Excel or some other spreadsheet to add a column of numbers, you have all the background we expect. If you don't know how to do that but can figure out how to do so, you should be fine.
If you have done any prior programming, this is probably not the class for you. See http://www.cs.brown.edu/ugrad/whatcourse.html.
You've probably heard legends about computer science workloads. Some of the legends are true, many are not. Either way, 0931 is not your typical computer science course. We expect you to put in about 10 hours per week (including class time). Depending on your perspective, this can seem like a little or a lot. All the course staff are available to help you, but learning the material in this course requires a time investment.
On the upside, you'll come out of CSCI 0931 with a lot of valuable skills. In the past fifty years, computing has irrevocably changed subjects like engineering, physics, and biology, and it is now starting to do the same for the social sciences and humanities. You stand at the cusp of a new computing revolution. 0931 provides an unusual opportunity: few universities have such a course (and even fewer did when it was first offered a few years ago). We offer a supportive environment that, combined with your hard work, will put you at the front of this wave. With the skills you get in this course, you should be able to contribute much more effectively to your chosen field, whatever it is, as computation takes a larger role over time.