Courses/CS 1114/Lab Manual/Getting to Know Our Labs

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Getting to Know Our Labs


Introduction

This lab will give you a chance to get to know our labs. You will learn about login procedures and some of the software we will be using in this course.

Topics Covered in this Lab:

  • Logging On to the Lab Computers and the Lab Resource Site
  • The Lab Resource Site (CSCADE) Overview
  • How to Submit a Homework Solution
  • Solving a Real-World Computational Problem

Questions Answered in this Lab:

  • How do I log on to the computers in the labs?
  • How do I view lab assignments and get lab manuals and resources?
  • How do I turn in my homework?

Demonstrable Skills Acquired in this Lab:

  • The ability to log in to our lab computers
  • The ability to check assignments, course notes, and resources using the lab resource site (CSCADE)
  • The ability to turn in homework solutions using CSCADE
  • Experience solving a real-world problem requiring planning and computation

Logging On to the Lab Computers

The computers in our labs run the Windows 10 operating system. When you sit down at one of the computers, the screen may appear blank. If so, move the mouse slightly and you should see the login screen. You have a login name assigned by the university as well as a password that you choose when you activated your account. If you have not yet activated your account, a lab proctor will help you do so now. Once your university login account is activated, press Ctrl+Alt+Del (all at the same time) to display the login dialog. Type your user name (which is also your email address) into the "User Name” box; it is not case-sensitive. Then type your password into the "Password” box; it is case-sensitive. Click on the "OK” button. If you typed everything correctly, the dialog should disappear and you will (after a short pause) see the Desktop.

Logging On to the Lab Resource Site (CSCADE)

Once you’ve logged on to the computer itself, the next step is to log on to the lab resource website (we usually refer to it as "CSCADE” (pronounced cascade)). First, start Mozilla Firefox. It may take a few seconds for Firefox to load. (Google Chrome may be used as well, but avoid Microsoft Edge.)

When Firefox has loaded, click in the Address bar to highlight whatever is there and type the following URL exactly as it appears: https://cscade.cs.astate.edu. Press the "Enter” key or click the "Go” button. Logon to CSCADE in the same manner as you logon to the campus computers.

If it is your first time logging on, you will see a release agreement saying that you allow us to keep your grades in the system and that you allow us to email you information about your grades. Take a moment to read it (the full text is also available at https://cscade.cs.astate.edu/eula.txt). To continue, you must choose to accept the release agreement. Click the "Accept" option and then the "Continue" button.

After you accept the release agreement, you should see the main menu screen of CSCADE. If you encountered any problems, be sure to get help from a lab proctor before going on.

A Quick Tour of CSCADE

Now you should be looking at the main menu screen of CSCADE. You may – or may not – see a box at the top of the gray area on the left that looks like this:

Course SelectBox

If you do see this box, choose the correct course from the drop-down box by clicking the down-pointing arrow on the right and clicking on the correct course number. Your instructor will tell you what the correct course number for your lab is. Click the "Select” button to select the course you just selected. NOTE: If you do not see this box, do not worry. You should see this lab’s course number listed at the top of the gray bar on the left. If the course number does not appear or if it is incorrect, take a moment to point it out to a lab proctor.

You should now see a menu that looks like the following:

Assignments
Notes
Grades

** Log Out **

Here is a brief explanation of each item:

Assignments
Click on this link to view posted assignments for this course. You can view current assignments, past assignments, and (sometimes) preview upcoming assignments. You can also submit your solutions for current assignments (referred to as "open” assignments) here. To submit your solution to an open assignment, simply click on the "Submit” link next to the assignment listing. Assignments may also have material (like this lab manual), and resources (additional files that you need to complete the assignment) associated with them. To view the material for an assignment, click on its "material” link (if applicable). To view and download the resources for an assignment, click on its "resources” link (if applicable). The "Assignments” link will be highlighted whenever there is an open assignment listing.
Notes
Click on this link to view notes posted by the instructor. These notes may provide additional instructions for assignments, hints, or additional files to help you with assignments. To help remind you to check the notes section, this link will be highlighted whenever a new note is posted (until you view it for the first time).
Grades
Click on this link to view your current scores for the course. Scores will be updated as soon as the instructor has finished grading your work.
** Log Out **
Click here to log out of the system. It is important to do this before you get up to leave the computer so that no one else can sit down and use your account. The system will log you out automatically if you are idle (not typing or clicking on anything) for a long period of time. You can see the remaining time before your session "times out” on the right-hand side of the black bar at the top of the page.

Submitting a Solution

During the course of the semester, you will be turning in various kinds of solutions that will be generated in various pieces of software. We will be turning in all the solutions via the CSCADE online tool. To turn in a solution using CSCADE, you first need to know the name of the file containing the solution. You also need to know which folder you saved the file in. Pay attention when you save your work for the first time (or do a "Save As”) so that you do not lose the file! To submit a file with CSCADE:

  1. Log on to CSCADE (as you did above).
  2. Click on "Assignments”
  3. Click on "Submit” next to the assignment listing you want to submit a solution for. It is important to remember that the "Submit” link will only be visible while the assignment is open. Once the deadline for the assignment has passed, the link is no longer available!
  4. Click the "Browse” button on the ”Submit Assignment” page. (There may be more than one if the solution requires multiple files - choose the first one that is unused.)
  5. In the "File Upload” dialog that appears, find the file you wish to submit. Click to highlight it and click "Open” (or just double-click on the file).
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 as needed if the assignment requires multiple files.
  7. Click the "Submit!” button at the bottom of the "Submit Assignment” page.
  8. Wait until the "Assignments” page loads. There should be a confirmation message at the top of the white area of the page – if so, everything uploaded properly. If the message is highlighted in yellow and says "Error”, something went wrong. If this happens, try to submit the file again and/or ask for help from your instructor or a lab proctor immediately.

Naming the File

There are certain characters that should not be used when naming files that will be submitted via CSCADE. Restrict filenames to alphanumeric characters only to avoid CSCADE from refusing to upload your file.

Install a Text Editor

If you already have a preferred text editor then you can use that. However, I'll be using VS Code and I recommend you do the same. You can download and install it here: VS Code

In-Lab: Submitting a file

  1. Open VS Code (or your preferred text editor).
  2. Type your name and major on separate lines in the file.
  3. On the next line, indicate any languages with which you have programmed, such as Java or C++. If you have never programmed before, indicate "none".
  4. Save the file in your Documents folder as MyInfo.txt.
  5. Close your text editor.
  6. Use the instructions above to submit the file you just created (MyInfo.txt) to the in-lab portion of this lab assignment. If you have difficulties, ask a lab proctor for assistance.

Verifying Submitted File Uploaded Successfully

When submitting your file, be sure to check that CSCADE reports a successful upload. In addition, verify the size of the file uploaded is not 0 bytes. If you are informed of an unsuccessful upload or if the file size shows to be 0 bytes, check the filename and try again. If the file still does not upload, send the file as an attachment to the lab proctor or course instructor.

Late Submission

Take a moment to look at the top right corner of the screen. You will see a current date and time. This is the current date and time of the CSCADE server. An assignment is considered late when the CSCADE server time has passed the assignment's due date. Once the due date has passed, the Submit button will no longer appear beside the assignment. All late submissions must be made via email if there is not a late submission assignment available. Attach the file you wish to submit to an email to the lab proctor or course instructor.


Labsubmitsinglefile.pngFOR IN-LAB CREDIT: Upload the solution for each of the above lab steps in a file named MyInfo.txt.