Course Syllabus

Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus are subject to change. Instructors will notify students of any changes and students will be responsible for abiding by them. Even if you print this syllabus, please check the online version often.


IST 140: Introduction to Application Development (3 credits) - A first course in concepts and skills for application development.

This is a first course in programming principles for application development. The course will focus on application development foundations including: fundamental programming concepts; basic data types and data structures; problem solving using programming; basic testing and debugging; basic computer organization and architecture; and fundamentals of operating systems. This is a hands-on course designed to help students learn to program a practical application using modern, high-level languages.


  • Math 21 with a C or better or placement above the level of Math 21 in the mathematics placement test. Recommended Preparation: Math 22


Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Write, compile, and run basic procedural programs at the command-line and with an integrated development environment (IDE).
  • Understand, define, and use fundamental programming concepts.
  • Understand, define, and use elementary data structures.
  • Understand, define, and use basic problem-solving approaches for application development.
  • Understand, define, and use basic methods to test and debug programs.
  • Understand and define basic computer organization, architecture, and operating systems principles at the application user/programmer level.


  • TBD

Required Materials

  • Lizarrage, A. & Lysecky, R. (2013). Programming in Java. Zyante Inc. (
    • The zyBooks readings and activities are designed to give you a breadth of knowledge around the topic areas, and to provide opportunities for practicing with the different concepts, techniques, and tools covered in the course.
    • This required, interactive text is only offered through To purchase your subscription to this text, please do the following:  
      • Sign up at
      • Enter zyBook code:
        • TBD (Must use specific code, provided by your instructor)
      • Click ‘subscribe’
    • Students may begin subscribing on TBD. Subscriptions are valid through TBD.
  • Horstmann, C. (2013). Big Java: Late Objects, Wiley. ISBN: 9781118087886
    • The first seven chapters of this text nicely supplement the course content and zyBooks activities.
    • An online version of this text is available at no cost as a Penn State Library E-Book and can be accessed through Library Resources in the course navigation. Some E-Books will only be available online, while others will be available to download in full or in part. You may choose to use the E-Book as an alternative to purchasing a physical copy of the text. For questions or issues, you can contact the University Libraries Reserve Help.
    • The publisher (Wiley) also offers a student companion site, sorted by both chapter and resource.

You are responsible for all of the readings and the zyBooks activities. Please read over the assigned material each week. Many passages in the text may need to be read several times to gain clarity. Taking notes on the material you are reading and reflecting on both the reading and these notes will help you to understand better the issues, concepts and techniques that are being presented.

Supplemental Materials

Assignments & Grading

The course lessons are designed to focus on the most essential concepts, techniques, and tools related to the lesson topic. They are especially important to review and master to support your work in the course.

The course will follow an active, problem-based approach to learning. Quizzes, zyBooks assignments, and programming assignments will provide the opportunity to gain practice with new concepts and skills, and develop and demonstrate a solid understanding of the course material.

Assignments will be graded based on the following general criteria:

  • Correctness (e.g. programs compile & run; language constructs are used appropriately)
  • Completeness (e.g. programs address all problem statements and other requirements)
  • Clarity (e.g. programs are formatted professionally and annotated)
  • Assignments should be turned in by the due date. The "Late Policy" is determined by the instructor (see details below under "Course Policies and Expectations")

Submit all assignments to Canvas before the due date and time (One second late is late).

Course Tools

We will be using the Java Development Kit (JDK) and the NetBeans Integrated Development Environment for all coursework. Both these products are available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

In the first week of the course you will complete a small programming assignment to get you started with Netbeans. But before doing that, you should

If you are unable to install the Netbeans IDE or on your computer, the Netbeans IDE can be accessed through IST's virtual lab environment WinLabs. 

Practice Activities

Practice is assigned and reviewed regularly. Programming Assignments in Canvas and zyBooks Activities are to be completed by you, individually, unless explicitly specified in the assignment description. Please make sure to ask the instructor if you have any questions about the nature of any given assignment.

zyBook Activities

Each course Module includes one or more zyBooks activities. These activities are REQUIRED and must be completed by the assigned due date and time. They are a significant component of your overall course grade.

Programming Assignments

Each course module also includes one or more Programming Assignment(s). These are also a significant component of your grade and must be completed on time. There are three levels of programming assignments:

  • Level 1 - taken together, make up 15% of your course grade
  • Level 2 - taken together, make up 15% of your course grade
  • Level 3 - taken together, make up 30% of your course grade

Format of Assignments

Please take care to proofread your work. Writing mistakes will impact your grade, especially if they reflect carelessness on your part. Mistakes include spelling, grammatical errors, and typos.

Please check that your work is properly referenced and adheres to standards of both academic integrity and proper form. The APA style is generally accepted in our field.

Individual work is to be just that - done by you, alone.

Module Flow

Each course Module generally consists of several lessons, zyBooks reading and activities, and programming assignments. 

Modules typically follow a two-part cycle. The first part of each cycle will consist of reviewing lessons, reading and completing zyBooks sections, and participating in virtual course meetings. The second part of each cycle will include all the types of activities in part one, plus end-of-module programming assignment(s) and end-of-module quiz. Weeks end on Sunday night.

 For details please see the course schedule below.

Course Grading Breakdown
Grading Category Percentage of Final Grade
Programming Assignments (Level 1) 15%
Programming Assignments (Level 2) 15%
Programming Assignments (Level 3) 30%
zyBooks Activities  20%
Graded Quizzes 20%
TOTAL 100%

Course Grading Scale

The following are minimum cutoffs for each grade:

  • 93.00% = A
  • 90.00% = A-
  • 87.00% = B+
  • 83.00% = B
  • 80.00% = B-
  • 77.00% = C+
  • 70.00% = C
  • 60.00% = D
  • less than 60.00% = F

Course Policies and Expectations

  • Late Policy: Assignments submitted late will be subject to a penalty and this is determined by the instructor. Computer problems and mistakes such as failing to include an attachment with an electronic submission will result in a late penalty.

  • Logging into Canvas - Students are expected to login regularly to check for course updates, announcements, emails, discussions, etc.

  • Emailing through Canvas - Students are expected to use Canvas for all course email communication.

  • Attending virtual meetings - Students are expected to use specified virtual meeting tool(s) for collaboration, meetings, presentations, etc., as needed.

Academic Integrity

Penn State and the College of Information Sciences and Technology are committed to maintaining Penn State's policy on Academic Integrity in this and all other courses. We take academic integrity matters seriously and expect you to become a partner to the University/College standards of academic excellence.

For more information, please review these policies and procedures:

While utilizing additional sources outside of this class is encouraged for gaining a better understanding of course concepts, seeking explicit answers for graded assignments from outside sources (e.g. Course Hero, Chegg, tutoring services like, etc.) is considered CHEATING and will not be tolerated. Sanctions range from failure of the assignment or course to dismissal from the University. Additionally, sharing course content without permission is a violation of copyright and may result in university sanctions and/or legal ramifications. Contact your instructor with questions related to this topic. 

University Policies

Review current information regarding various Penn State policies (such as copyright, counseling, psychological services, disability and military accommodations, discrimination, harassment, emergencies, trade names, etc.) on the University Policies page.

Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated and can be reported through Educational Equity via the Report Bias webpage (


Find extensive information and links to many Penn State and IST resources (including the Penn State libraries, video conferencing tools, technology and software, writing and research help, and much more) on the Resources page.

Technical Requirements

Standard World Campus computer technical specifications are assumed for this course. Please test your computer for requirements. In addition, a webcam and a headset with a microphone are REQUIRED for the course. These may be used for virtual meetings, virtual office hours, interactions with classmates and your instructor, and group presentations - which are all conducted with virtual meeting tools. No special software is required.


The following schedule outlines the topics covered in this course, along with the associated time frames, readings, activities, and assignments. All due dates reflect Eastern Time (ET). Specifying the time zone ensures that all students have the same deadlines, regardless of where they live.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due