CSCI280: Computer Organization

Updated 2020.07.21

Fall 2020 Syllabus


Tom Kleen, Heelan Hall 274, (712) 279-5411,

Student Office Hours

9:00-12:00, Monday-Thursday.




The Essentials of Computer Organization and Architecture, 5th Edition, by Null & Lobur.
ISBN: 978-1-4496-0006-8


        To become familiar with common data formats for numbers, text, sound, and pictures.

        To become familiar with the basic building blocks of digital systems: AND gates, OR gates, NAND gates, NOR gates, inverters, encoders and decoders, multiplexers, flip-flops, etc.

        To become familiar with the basic organization of a computer: CPU, registers, memory.

        To become familiar with how computers are programmed at the lowest level: machine language, assembly language, instruction formats, addressing modes.


I expect you to:

        be honest

        read the book

        come to class every day

        do the homework and hand it in on time

Topics covered

        Data formats: Number systems (decimal, binary, octal, hex), data formats (characters, pictures, sound), integers and twos complement, floating point numbers

        Digital systems: Digital logic, combinational circuits, Boolean algebra, Karnaugh maps, decoders, multiplexers, adders, CPUs, shifters, sequential circuits, flip-flops, registers, memory organization, counters, RAM and ROM

        Computer organization: The Marie Computer, fundamental CPU design, instruction cycles, bus concepts

        Programming: Instruction sets, addressing, I/O, interrupts, DMA

        Computer systems: Computer peripherals, modern computer systems, introduction to the operating system, user interfaces, files and directory structures


Your grade will be based on two things:
(1) 20%-- homework assignments.
(2) 80%--four tests, 20%, 20%, 20%, 20%.

The grading scale in this class is:
A: 90-100, B: 80-89, C: 70-79, D: 60-69, F: 0-59

Academic Honesty

Homework is an individual activity, and each student is expected to turn in an original work. "Working together" is not allowed. Do not give your assignment to another student so that he can "see how it is done". Any student found turning in work which is not his or hers will be failed for the course. If you are having problems completing homework assignments, please see me for help. I am usually in my office when I am not in class and frequently check my email. There is no such thing as "extra credit."


I expect you to be here every day. See attendance, test, and homework policies. Print out this document, sign it, and hand it in next class.

Cell Phones

Please keep cell phone usage out of the classroom. It is considered a nuisance in a business situation for private cell phone usage to interfere with the work environment; the same rule applies to the learning environment.

Cell phones should be turned off or set to silent upon entering the classroom. If there are medical or other reasons leave your phone turned on, let your instructor know at the beginning of class. Phones ringing during class are disruptive to the other students in the class and to the instructor.

If you are using your computer or phone during class for anything except for class-related work, your next assignment will have 50% deducted from it.

Computer use during lectures

You may use your computer during a lecture for the purpose of taking notes. You may use your phone for purposes described by the instructor. You may not use the computer to play games, surf the Internet, email, IM, tweet, etc.

If you are using your computer or phone during class for anything except for class-related work, your next assignment will have 50% deducted from it.

Administrative withdrawal policy

Students who do not attend or participate online in class for two consecutive calendar weeks are subject to administrative withdrawal.

Course withdrawal

The withdrawal date is September 9. After the withdrawal deadline students may withdraw, but will receive a penalty grade of WP (withdrawal passing) or WF (withdrawal failing). A WF will be counted when computing your GPA.

Disability Statement

Persons with disabilities who need accommodations should initially contact Jeanene Sampson (Heelan Hall-108 or 712-279-5562) to discuss needs. Documentation of the disability is required.


The instructor retains the right to clarify and/or to emend the contents of the syllabus, provided that students are given reasonable and timely notice of such adjustments.

Reporting to University Officials / Title IX Resources:

As an instructor, I have a mandatory reporting responsibility under The Title IX Educational Act of 1972 which prohibits violence, harassment, and discrimination based on sex and gender. For the sake of Briar Cliff University students' safety and welfare, I am required to share information regarding sexual misconduct or information about a crime that may have involved a Briar Cliff University student with the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinators. This includes incidents that occur within on-line courses, on and off-campus, or study abroad. This also takes into account all means by which I might learn of such an event, whether I see it personally, whether I am told about it directly (e.g., in-person, through an assignment, on a discussion thread, etc.), or whether I learn about it indirectly (e.g., secondhand, social media, etc.).

Confidential assistance is also available for students. If you or someone you know has been harassed, assaulted, or discriminated against because of sex or gender, the following resources are available:

On Campus Confidential Resources:

        Director of Counseling Services: Therese Copple (712) 279-5433

        Director of Health Services: Jo Morgan (712) 279-5436

        Campus Minister: Jason Salisbury (712) 279-5263

Reporting to University Officials / Title IX Resources

        Title IX Coordinator: Beau Sudtelgte (712) 279-1633

        Deputy Title IX Coordinator: Dave Arens (712) 279-1715

        Deputy Title IX Coordinator: Liz Rembold (712) 279-5458

        Security Department: (712) 898-1888

The Sexual Violence and Harassment policy and additional off-campus resources can be found here.


Please remember to pay attention to all university policies related to COVID-19. They are designed for the protection of all of us at Briar Cliff and to help us have a safe and successful semester.

        You are required to wear a mask and/or face shield in all public spaces on campus, including classrooms and labs.

        Practice physical distancing.

        Frequently wash your hands.

If you experience any symptoms do not come to class/campus, complete the confidential health information form, and contact your healthcare provider. The form and other information is available at the following link: