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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Renaissance Computing

An Initiative for Promoting Student Participation in Computing

Introduction to Computing

Department of Computer Science and Engineering
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
256 Avery Hall
Lincoln, NE 68588-0115

With today's increasingly ubiquitous use of computing in all disciplines, there is an urgent need to introduce students to computational thinking--a paradigm for solving problems using computer science concepts and computing technologies. Some might argue that computational thinking is now as fundamental as mathematical thinking. Therefore, to make this important subject relevant to general undergraduate education and accessible campus-wide, the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has undertaken an NSF-funded initiative called the Renaissance Computing project (, with collaborations and support from academic units and faculty from the engineering, sciences, arts, and humanities, to update our introductory courses.

Entering students may select from several introductory courses, according to their interests and as indicated by the CSE Placement Examination. All CSCE155 courses provide a foundation in designing and programming computing solutions and prepare students for more advanced CSCE courses, including CSCE156. Each CSCE155 course is designed to meet different interests. The CSCE155 and CSCE156 courses will count towards credit hours in the CS major or minor.

  • CSCE155A is designed for students majoring in computer science or computer engineering. CSCE155H is for honors students. The primary language used is Java.
  • CSCE155E emphasizes computing for systems engineering, such as control systems, mobile computing, and embedded devices. The primary language used is C and the course caters to students in all disciplines with interest in developing applications on devices.
  • CSCE155N focuses on numerical and graphical computation in engineering and science, such as applied physics, working with time-sequence data, and matrix applications. The primary language used is Matlab and the course caters to engineering students.
  • CSCE155T focuses on data and information processing, such as library or database applications, online commerce, or bioinformatics. The primary language used is Perl and the course caters to students in humanities, business, and biology who are interested in text or string analyses.
  • CSCE156 is for students with a background in designing and programming computing solutions, such as is provided by CSCE155. Advanced incoming students may opt to take this course bypassing CSCE155 conditioned upon their performance on the CSE Placement Examination and meeting with the Chief Undergraduate Advisor.
  • CSCE101/101L are for students seeking a broad introduction to computer science with brief instruction in computer programming. This course does not count towards credit hours in the CS major.
All these introductory courses will be certified for ACE Student Learning Outcome 3. (CSCE101 and 155A, have already been certified.)

For more information on these courses, please refer to additional brochures on each individual course from Jodi Holt ( or from the department website at

Each CSCE155 course is designed to have 3 lecture hours and one laboratory hour per week. The laboratory component involves hands-on, inquiry-based programming and problem-solving exercises designed to reinforce on the topics learned in lectures and to also apply computer science concepts to discipline-specific problems. This lecture-laboratory design allows the lectures to cover topics and examples catered to larger audiences while the laboratory activities address the needs and interests of non-CS disciplines. Also, each course involves several programming projects or homework assignments to further help students apply computational thinking to problem solving and hone their programming skills.

The curricular activities have been conducted under the auspices of the Renaissance Computing Project sponsored by the National Science Foundation (CNS-0829647) and by the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

For more information, please contact Steve Goddard (Department Chair,, Stephen Scott (Vice Chair and course scheduling,, Steve Reichenbach (curriculum chair,, Leen-Kiat Soh (Renaissance Computing Lead,, or Chuck Riedesel (chief undergraduate advisor,

Please refer to the following brochures for more information on the courses (list is not complete yet):

Renaissance Computing Project is Funded by NSF