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CSCI 121: Introduction to Computer Science

Helpful resources (adapted from a document by Rhody Kaner)


We will be assigning each student a mentor who will provide you personalized feedback for each project as the semester progresses. The list of available mentors is here.

Drop-In Tutoring

Drop-in tutoring happens every weekday evening, Sun-Thurs from 7-9pm in ETC 208. Come by any time during tutoring hours (even if you don’t have a question) to work on assignments around other CS students and get moral support from the community.

Individual/Small Group Tutoring

Every Reed student is entitled to one hour per week of individual tutoring (or more with an accommodation) for every course, and you also have the option to pool tutoring hours with other students in the class to do multiple hours of small-group tutoring. Tutoring appointments can be made at for any time and place that works for you and your tutor. Please remember that tutors are busy Reed students too, and really appreciate it when you try to schedule appointments at least a few days in advance when possible.

Professor Office Hours

Eric’s Office Hours are in Library 316 on Tuesday 9am-12pm and Wednesday (on days projects are due) 7pm-midnight.

Mark’s Office Hours are in Library 314 on Monday 5-6pm, Wednesday 4:10-6pm, and Thursday 11am-noon.

STEMGems Office Hours

Reed’s group for gender minorities in STEM hosts office hours for CS/Math/Stat on Tuesdays 5:30-6:30 in the Math Lounge.

DOJO Study Skills Workshops and Coaching

Reed offers a variety of workshops as well as individual coaching to help you learn study skills, time management, etc. Find info at

Polytopia and The Math Lounge

Polytopia (Library 387) and the Math Lounge (Library ) are academic spaces for students in CS (and math) classes. These spaces are often populated with other students working on similar coursework (and sometimes upperclassfolk who can answer your questions), and these rooms are conveniently on the same hallway as all the CS Professor’s offices.

First steps

This course is taught using Python 3. We recommend the following setup:

  1. Go to
  2. Choose whether you're using Windows, Mac, or Linux by clicking on the appropriate icon. This will give you a choice of files to download.

downloader screen shot

  1. Click the big green download button beneath the Python 3.7 version.

Next steps for Mac users

  1. Open the downloaded file, which should be called something like Anaconda3-2018.12-MacOSX-x86_64.pkg.
  2. You may be asked whether or not you trust the provider of this file. If so, click "Continue".

verify screen shot

  1. Follow the remainder of the instructions from the installer (accept the license agreement, etc.) Note that the installation may take several minutes. You need not bother installing Microsoft VSCode (if asked). At the end, feel free to move the installer to the trash (if asked).

installer screen shot

  1. To launch Anaconda Navigator, open a Finder window and then press Command+Shift+A. This will jump to the Applications menu. From here, open Anaconda Navigator by double-clicking on it.

finder screen shot

  1. To make it easier to open Anaconda Navigator in the future, you may wish to right-click on the Anaconda icon (a green circle) in the dock at the bottom of the screen. Then go to Options -> Keep in Dock. In the future, this will allow you to open the Anaconda Navigator by clicking on the Anaconda icon in the dock.

dock screen shot

  1. All done! Proceed to the section on "Using Anaconda Navigator and Spyder".

Next steps for Windows users

  1. Open the downloaded file, which should be something like Anaconda3.something.exe.
  2. Follow the setup prompts, taking all the default recommendations. The installation may take several minutes. You need not bother installing Microsoft VSCode (if asked).
  3. From the Start menu, click the Anaconda Navigator desktop app.

Using Anaconda Navigator and Spyder