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Scripting For The Web

Instructor: Lee Tusman
Pronouns: he/him
Course: CRN 64657 / MAT 3146 Classroom: Library 1004B 3pm - 6:40pm
Office Hours: Monday afternoons or by appointment TAs:

Course Description

Scripting For The Web is an upper level programming course designed to cohesively work with the web as technology, primarily through Javascript and its dynamic libraries and frameworks. We will build websites and web applications for clients and servers that use live data and interactivity as input, giving this work shape and form through code.

This course is designed to be flexible to student learning goals and interests. The Web is an evolving platform and technology. We will be covering a large array of programming interfaces, languages, frameworks and applications including HTML, CSS, Javascript, the DOM, NodeJS, Express, APIs, markdown, Bash, Linux, Git. If time and interest allows we will study the emerging Peer to Peer internet on the Dat network. Our goal will be to treat the web as a space for exploration and as a platform we can shape and on which to build projects that we envision.

Some of our learning will be difficult. Students will need to consistently write code and build websites and web applications multiple days a week throughout the semester in order to reinforce their learning and to complete their projects. In addition to our assignments, students are expected to do research out of class, to spend time debugging and solving coding errors and challenges, and to be bold and take charge of their learning.

This class is in Math and Computer Science, cross-listed with New Media, and we will take an expansive view of the web as medium to manipulate through scripting. In addition to our technical work we will discuss topics relating to our use of this technology such as privacy, user experience, accessible design, open source culture, and abuses of social media.

We will have a module of the course in conjunction with the Graphic Design course Design For The Web, taught by Professor Kelsey Elder. In this module, Scripting students will work in groups with design students to work on a project tentatively titled The Depth of Time, a design and scripting challenge to build a longterm server space and website as time capsule.

Learning Objectives

  • a working knowledge of the underlying technology of the web and how to build websites and web applications on this platform
  • knowledge of basic software design patterns for software for the web, including asynchronous versus synchronous programming, hosting, client versus server, and responsive design
  • ability to demonstrate knowledge and application of a number of programming languages and contexts: Javascript, Node.js, the DOM, Linux systems, Version Control
  • ability to create and deploy a node-based web application with interaction, data persistence and data/API queries

Additional Course Goals

Required Texts and Tools

  • A computer to regularly work on. If you use a classroom computer, you must save your work to a consistent remote location that you can access in and outside of the classroom.
  • A Web Browser. Chrome or Firefox recommended.
  • A Text editor or IDE. I am able to provide support for Atom.
  • A notebook. Please bring a notebook and pen or pencil to every class. Use it to jot down notes, respond to prompts, and for in-class sketching.

Field Trip

Processing Community Day NYC takes place February 9, 2019 at The New School. Students should register to attend by January 30.

University and Classroom Policies and Rules

Official Purchase College Academic Integrity Policy

The Purchase College academic integrity policy,, explicitly forbids cheating, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty. Plagiarism is the appropriation or imitation of the language, ideas, and/or thoughts of another person and the representation of them as one’s own original work. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the definition of plagiarism and the acceptable methods of attribution.

Violation of any of the above may lead to formal disciplinary action and the following sanctions:

  • Minimum Sanction: Failing grade on the assignment or examination. Maximum Sanction: Expulsion
  • Recommended Sanction (First Offense): Failing grade for the course
  • Recommended Sanction (Second Offense): Expulsion

Students who have any questions or doubts about whether any activity is academically permissible should check with the instructor.

Plagiarism and cheating are taken seriously. You will be held accountable for Purchase's Student Code of Conduct for Academic Integrity.

Class policy on Collaboration

I support collaborative learning with some important caveats.

Coding can be difficult, and struggling with the material is part of the learning process. Students are allowed to collaborate to learn from each other. Do not collaborate in order to simply find out a solution to a project. Each participant should contribute approximately equally, and what you turn in should be your own. Copying a solution from another student, even if you change a few minor things such as variable names, is not a collaboration. You may help someone learn something, but you can not tell them what to code. If you have questions about collaboration or academic integrity, get in touch with me via email, talk with me before or after class, or come to office hours.

Tutoring Support

All students at Purchase College can take advantage of our tutoring services in the Learning Center and the Einstein Corner. These are free, 30 to 60 minute, peer-to-peer tutoring sessions in a variety of subjects and in writing across the disciplines. Sessions can happen in person or through the Online Writing Lab up to 3x/week. The OWL allows students to submit a paper draft and get written feedback by email within 48 business hours. We strongly recommend face-to-face meetings for first-year students and multilingual writers. The OWL is a good option for upperclassmen who have experience with in-person tutoring. You are encouraged to take advantage of this service to help you excel in this class, as well as your other courses. Please visit the Learning Center and Einstein Corner websites for more information.


You will have in-class and outside of class coursework and homework in the form of code sketches and projects. All work is to be submitted on time by noon on the day of classtime. For each day late, your grade will drop a part letter grade.

Academic Accessibility

Students with documented physical, learning, psychological, and other disabilities are entitled to receive reasonable accommodations. For those students who may require accommodations, please call or email the Office of Disability Resources, 914-251-6035,

It is my goal that this class be an accessible and welcoming experience for all students, including those with disabilities. You are welcome to talk to me at any point in the semester about course design concerns, but it is best if we can talk as soon as possible about the need for any adjustments. The Office of Disability Resources collaborates directly with students who identify documented disabilities to create accommodation plans, including testing accommodations, in order for students to access course content and validly demonstrate learning.

Tentative​ ​nature​ ​of​ ​syllabus.

If​ ​needed,​ ​this​ ​syllabus​ and the course outline ​may​ ​be​ ​revised​ ​to​ ​better​ ​suit​ ​the​ ​class.​ ​Students​ ​are​ ​responsible​ ​for​ ​keeping​ ​up​ ​with any​ ​changes​ ​distributed​ via ​e-mail​ ​or​ ​in​ ​class. The most up-to-date syllabus will be on the class Moodle.

Classroom Community

Class Method

Class starts on time at 3pm. Be ready, awake, prepared. We will generally use the first half of class for seminars and introductions to new assignments, reading discussions, presentations, or lectures. The second half will generally be in-class studio time. Each class there will be a mini-assignment. These may include reading, watching videos, doing code exercises, creating web prototypes, and completing projects. Feel free to collaborate with your classmates and work together on any assignment(s), but everyone must submit their own individual work.

A portion of each class will be spent reviewing assignments. Expect to be asked to show your work each class session. Some classes everyone may demonstrate their work, other classes only a few students will share, but always be prepared to do so. All of your work should be completed on time and uploaded to your web portfolio.

Programming can be difficult! You should expect to spin your wheels sometimes while you actively search for solutions to challenges you encounter. Don't give up too soon. Should you contact me for your help: Please don't contact me last minute. Please try a number of solutions before contacting me. And please include your entire code so I can review it.

Attendance Policy

Students are expected to be present and on time to class every day. Absences should be excused by a doctor’s note.

Three​ ​unexcused​ ​absences​ ​will​ ​lower​ ​your​ ​final​ ​grade​ ​by​ ​one​ ​unit​ ​(i.e.​ ​an​ ​A​ ​will​ ​become​ ​an​ ​B).​ ​With​ ​each additional​ ​unexcused​ ​absence,​ ​the​ ​grade​ ​will​ ​drop​ ​an​ ​additional​ ​unit.​ Arriving more than 15 minutes late for 3 classes is equivalent to an absence. If​ ​there​ ​is​ ​an​ ​emergency​ ​or​ ​otherwise​ ​extenuating circumstances​ ​that​ ​prevent​ ​you​ ​from​ ​being​ ​on​ ​time​ ​or​ ​attending​ ​class,​ ​please​ ​e-mail​ ​me in advance.

We will be covering critical concepts and working on code and projects in class every class and you are responsible for reviewing our class site and reaching out to your peers outside of class time to catch up on what you have missed.

Digital Distractions

Phones and laptops are extremely distracting and we are not as good at multitasking as we think. Studies demonstrate that students learn better when they use pen and paper rather than a computer. That said, this is a programming class. Your education is up to you. We are oversaturated with technology. I do not want to monitor you but trust you to use the computer as a tool and not be used by your computer and phone. We will work together to create an ideal learning space and address challenges.

Please close your laptop while your fellow students are presenting work. You’re otherwise welcome to use laptops in class for classwork, not Facebook or Instagram or email. Turn off all messaging notifications on your laptop and put your phone on Do Not Disturb mode. Phones should not be used except for during our class break times.


We are all learners and educators. Your experience and participation is valid and necessary. I am not the sole source of information. You are responsible for and encouraged to be in charge of your own education. Leap forth into areas of interest. Teach and learn from others.

  • Please hold me accountable and point out areas that need to be improved.
  • This​ ​class​ ​is​ ​a​ ​collaboration​ ​between​ ​all​ ​of​ ​us.​ ​If​ ​you​ ​are​ ​feeling​ ​left​ ​behind,​ ​stuck,​ ​or​ ​frustrated​ ​in​ ​any​ ​way, please​ ​let​ ​me​ ​know​ ​immediately.​ ​I​ ​am​ ​here​ ​to​ ​help​.
  • Sleep enough hours. Good sleep will get you through college, reduce stress, help you do well in class, and feel better. And it's free.

Requesting Help

  • You must work on your assignments throughout the week: this will maximize your recall of information.
  • When you get stuck on a problem with your code and can't figure it out, take a good break such as taking a walk before coming back to try again. Try to explain your code's logic to a friend or family member, even someone who doesn't code.
  • You may wish to visit Einstein's Corner.
  • When contacting me about a coding issue, please send me a minimal version of your code, what you expected, and what you are getting. Please don't message me last minute right before class. It can take me up to 24 hours to respond to emails, and longer on weekends or at the end of semesters. It is generally better for us to review your code together at office hours.


40% weekly homework assignments (weeks 1-10) 20% Mid-semester project 20% Final Assignment (weeks 11-14) 20% Participation and attendance, and preparedness

A 93 - 100
A- 90 - 91
B+ 87 - 89
B 83 - 86
B- 80 - 82
C+ 77 - 79
C 73 - 76
C- 70 - 72
D+ 67 - 69
D 60 - 66
F 59 and below


  • Participation includes asking or answering questions in class, participating in office hours, co-teaching others, assisting in group work and conversations, participating in online forum, and in other ways.


Books (some are available to read online)

  • Eloquent Javascript - Marijn Haverbeke
  • Secrets of the Javascript Ninja - John Resig, Bear Bibeault, Josip Maras
  • jQuery in Action - Bear Bibeault
  • Node.js in Action - Alex Young
  • Express in Action - Evan Hahn

Recommended Websites for Learning JavaScript


Scripting For The Web, Spring 2019, Purchase College






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