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 240: Introduction to Computer Languages (3 credits)

This course provides an introduction to computer languages. The term computer language is used in a general sense to include programming languages. Java is the language of choice in this course. You will continue to learn Java following from what you learned in IST 140. This is a lab-based course in which students will solve problems by themselves. 


  • A grade of "C" or better in IST 140 or CMPSC 101.


Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Develop, test, and execute Java applications.
  • Work with Java in a way that demonstrates understanding of the principles behind the programming language.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the principles of object-oriented programming including classes, inheritance and arrays.


  • Fred Fonseca

All course-related email, including messages to your instructor(s) and fellow students should be sent within Canvas, using the Inbox. Every attempt will be made for the instructor (or a substitute) to respond to email questions within 24 hours.


Recommended Text:

Java: The Complete Reference, Eleventh Edition, 11th Edition - Herbert Schildt - Published by McGraw-Hill, 2018

Any recent edition will do (8th, 9th., 10th. 11th.)

The 10th edition of the book is available online through our  library  (Links to an external site.)  using  The Safari Learning Platform  (Links to an external site.)  (look for "Databases" at the library website).

See the recommended readings for each lesson in the LESSONS tab on Canvas and also specific readings in each Lab.


Labs 110 points 80 %
Quizzes 183 points  20%

No late assignments.

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

  • 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.

Virtual access to the Java JDK and Netbeans IDE

All the labs should done using NetBeans and submitted as a zipped NetBeans project.

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. 


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