Course Syllabus

About Your Instructor

My name is Kathy Thornley and I've been teaching at the JC in the Graphic Design/Computer Studies Department since 1988. During the past 30 years I have taught so many classes at the JC including: Typography, QuarkXPress, Advanced QuarkXPress, Introduction to the Internet, Multimedia Design, Animation Design, Principles of Screen Design, Beginning and Advanced Advertising and Page Layout Design (GD54), Introduction to Adobe Acrobat DC, Photoshop 1 and an information literacy class: LIR10. I've taught classes both in person and online. I may hold the record for the most distant instructor because I taught an online Graphic Design class from Hong Kong for 3 years (when my husband took a position there in late 1997). In addition to teaching at the JC, I also work as an intern instructor for Work Experience, as a part-time librarian at Doyle Library, and as an education technology specialist for the Distance Education Department. As you can tell, I wear many hats on campus!

I was born and raised in London, England and still have an accent to prove it (perhaps you'll hear it in the videos!). My major at college was French and Spanish and as part of my studies I lived in Mexico City for a year. I'm still pretty fluent in both languages but my vocabulary is a bit rusty these days. I am a graduate of the Graphic Design Certificate Program at SRJC and have ACE certificates in Photoshop and InDesign. I also have a Masters Degree in Information Studies from UC Berkeley (specializing in systems and database management).

I'm excited to teach this CS5 class for just the second time! Please be patient with me as I develop the course. Computers and technology are such fascinating topics and I can't wait to explore them with you.


Welcome to CS5: Computer Literacy!

turned on Acer laptop on table near cup

Designed for the transfer student and/or the person wanting a broad knowledge of computer concepts. This course presents an overview of computers in our world today, how they work, how they are used and their impact on society. Students will be introduced to the Internet and World Wide Web, basic programming concepts and productivity software including word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software.

CS 5 offers a broad overview of computer history, functionality, use, social impact and the future of computing. This course is mostly about concepts and theory but hands-on practice will be required to complete tests and class assignments.

The lab assignments offer a small snapshot experience into operating systems, word processing, Internet/World Wide Web access, web page creation, email, spreadsheet, graphics, presentation software, programming, and document integration.

Students are welcome to use PC (Windows) or Mac. For other types of computers/operating systems, I suggest you borrow a loaner laptop from SRJC for the semester. They are available for a semester on a first-come, first-served basis. Please email SRJC Library Access Services Department: or text 1-877-889-9596 

Recommended prerequisites/preparation for this course:

  • Basic understanding of how to use a computer (PC or Mac)
    Example: Web, email, word processing (basic level)
  • Competence in reading and writing
    Eligibility for English 100A or equivalent reading level is recommended because of the significant amount of reading and written work in this class.
    If you are not sure what your reading level is, contact the Assessment Office

Course Delivery Format:

This course will be taught entirely online (no Zoom or face-to-face meetings). Each week, you will read chapters in your required textbook, watch videos and complete assignments and group discussions that focus on the topics. This gives you a very flexible study schedule, but also requires that you work in a self-disciplined and independent manner.

Student Responsibilities:

As a student in this class, it is your responsibility to read and understand completely everything that's on this syllabus.

NOTE: Please do check your email/notifications from Canvas frequently for any updates and communications from me regarding the class materials. Here's some important information on how to manage your Canvas Notifications in this course.

Changes to the Course:

I reserve the right to change the course syllabus and point values for specific assignments and activities at any time. If I do so, I will inform the class promptly via e-mail and on the class website. Therefore it is essential that you keep your current e-mail address on file by updating your SRJC profile in your student cubby any time you make a change to your contact information.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:
  • Recognize the capabilities and limitations of computer technology, and the theoretical foundations of computing.
  • Critically assess the social and ethical implications of computer technology in their daily life.
  • Improve problem solving and critical thinking through the application of scientific knowledge using hands-on activities.

Course Content Objectives:

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:
  • Identify the components and function of the hardware used in a computer system.
  • Describe the function of system software.
  • Describe the function of application software.
  • List the steps in systems analysis and design.
  • Describe the popular programming languages and the process of developing computer software.
  • Create a simple computer program.
  • Analyze the impact of computer technology and its ethical implication on society.
  • Demonstrate basic proficiency of productivity software, including word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database and multimedia software.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in electronic communications technology.
  • Explain basic computer networking concepts and architecture.
  • Use the Internet and World Wide Web to perform research.
  • Create a basic Web page.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in social networking.
  • Discuss computer security and its importance for business and personal use of computers.

Link to official course outline for CS5

Instructor/Student Communications!

adult black and white Siberian husky beside short-coated brown dog

How You Should Communicate With Me!

E-mail, e-mail, e-mail!

Please communicate with me via Canvas mail or direct e-mail -- it will be much quicker and more efficient. As a last resort, you can text me using my Google Voice account: (707) 800-9759 (but I rarely check it). You can expect a response to an e-mail within 24 hours (except on weekends). To help me respond to your message please do the following:

  • Provide your FULL name (first and last) at the end of the message
  • Be specific about your question. If it's a particular assignment, copy and paste the link so I know what to refer to
  • Post any general course-related questions to our class questions forum

How You Will Communicate With Your Classmates!

We will have weekly forums to act as our "online classroom". Each week I'll post a discussion topic or sharing activity related to the topics covered in that week's reading and lecture materials.

PARTICIPATION IN THESE FORUMS IS A REQUIREMENT FOR THE CLASS. You must post your initial message and then reply to another student's post. Brief replies do NOT count!! Your posts should be well-written (grammatically-correct) and college-appropriate! No texting lingo/spelling allowed!

How I Will Communicate With You!

I will send out weekly announcements about class. The most recent announcements will appear on the class home page and should also come to you via email if you have your Canvas notifications set to receive announcements via email. Here's some important information on how to manage your Canvas Notifications in this course.

Please make sure you have given a working e-mail to the JC and that you check it frequently so you won’t miss important info. This is your responsibility. I will also give you written feedback on your assignments and projects!

Virtual Office Hours:

I love to meet my students! If you wish to meet with me in person to discuss an individual matter, you can always come to my office hour on Monday from 3-4 pm. Links are provided at the end of each weekly module. I am also open to scheduling individual Zoom meetings.

Required Textbook

There is a required textbook for this class! It is available at the SRJC bookstore, via digital subscription from the publisher (might be the cheapest option), and to purchase or rent through Amazon. You do NOT need to purchase the MyIT Lab or any access code that goes with the book :-)  It is ok to get either the 16th or 17th edition. Make sure it's the COMPLETE edition and not missing any chapters or the appendices at the end.

Technology In Action, 17th edition eText for only $10.99/mo (4 month subscription) from Pearson+
This may be the cheapest option for accessing a digital text. Total = $43.96.

Other Alternatives for Renting/Purchasing the Textbook (Amazon):

Technology In Action, Complete. 16th Edition. Pearson (February 18, 2019)
by Alan Evans, Kendall Martin, Mary Anne Poatsy
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0135435199

Technology In Action, 17th Edition. Pearson (January 20, 2021)
by Alan Evans, Kendall Martin, Mary Anne Poatsy
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0136903666

Please note: I am not able to help you with problems accessing your digital textbook. You will need to contact the customer support department of the company you purchased the text from.

IMPORTANT! This book is required! You will not be able to get through the course without it.

Computer Hardware/Software Skills & Requirements

We don't have many software/hardware requirements for this class but you do need to be somewhat familiar with computers! To be successful in this course you should meet the following software/hardware requirements:


  • Basic understanding of how to use a computer (PC or Mac)
    Example: Web, email, word processing (basic level)
  • Willingness to learn simple software interfaces.
    We may use simple online tools such as and Padlet.


  • Relatively powerful computer: either a PC running a recent version of Windows or Mac OS. It should have a functioning microphone and web cam.
    If you need a reliable computer, laptops are available for a semester on a first-come, first-served basis. Please email SRJC Library Access Services Department: or text 1-877-889-9596 
  • Internet Connection: You will need a good Internet connection particularly to view the online videos.
  • Web Browser: Chrome is the browser recommended for optimal working in Canvas. Make sure it's a recent update. Students have run into problems using Safari to access Canvas.
  • Internet Plug-ins/extensions: Make sure you have commonly-used Internet plug-ins installed with your browser such as: Acrobat Reader
  • E-mail Account: Use just ONE e-mail account that you check frequently. Make sure the e-mail account does not get so full that messages are bounced. Also check your SPAM folder if you are not receiving any messages from the class. Do not change e-mail accounts in mid-course unless it's absolutely necessary!
  • E-mail Software: Be sure that you understand how to use your e-mail software (either an online e-mail account or on your home computer)
    • You can obtain an e-mail account either by signing up for a JC Student account or by getting a free online account through Gmail or similar service (Yahoo accounts have had some issues in the past so I recommend you avoid them!). Click on this link for more information on JC Student E-mail Accounts
  • Good Computer Karma!!


Weekly Lectures and Reading

dog sitting in front of book

Make sure you read completely through any weekly instruction pages and watch any video presentations. At the beginning of each weekly module, I provide an overview page with the topics, goals, video and reading requirements, and then a list of any assignments. Please read that overview page first!!

Videos: I have assembled/created videos for you to watch each week! These resources substitute for actual in-class lectures. They are required so allow time to watch them! Full disclosure! I do have analytics software in Canvas that shows me if you have watched videos or not :-)

The weekly instruction pages and videos are activated on a weekly basis at noon on Thursday. You can see starting and ending dates for each week in the top of each module. I will post a weekly update announcement with an overview of a particular week's topic/assignments.

Assignments, Projects and Participation

dog sitting on chairThe assignments/activities for each week are listed on the Weekly Schedule in the Modules. The due date and points for each assignment/activity are clearly identified. Click on the link for each assignment to read detailed instructions on what you are expected to do. Make sure you complete the assignments on time. Assignments are assigned on a Thursday at noon and are due either the following TUESDAY (discussions) OR WEDNESDAY night (assignments/quizzes/labs) at 11:59pm. Deadlines are clearly marked. 

Be sure to read my feedback and comments on your assignments by clicking on the Grades page and the rubric/comment icons next to each assignment.

Here is a tentative overview of the assignments/projects and the points assigned. (This might change a little because I am new to teaching this course.) The class website will have an up-to-date schedule and list of assignments/projects.

  • Weekly quizzes on reading assignments from the textbook and other materials
  • Lab Assignments to practice skills
  • Discussion or written assignments on technology topics
  • Midterm and final exams
  • At least 3 larger projects

Expectations for Written Assignments:

Since this is a college-level course, written assignments (including discussion forums) should have detailed answers and must be completed using full, grammatically-correct sentences without spelling errors. Type your assignments in a word processing program (e.g MS Word) and use a grammar/spell checker if you're not confident about your writing/spelling abilities.

  • Assignments written in "texting" lingo (e.g. "these tutorials r gd lol") will receive an automatic 50% penalty.
  • Assignments generated using ChatGPT or any other AI equivalent are not acceptable.

Participation and Attendance

Participation is essential to an online class. You participate by raising good questions, sharing great examples, giving constructive feedback to your classmates, and actively contributing to the discussions in the weekly forums. If you do not put in the hours required by this course, it will be very obvious from the quality of your participation.

Attendance: You "attend" class each week by reading the Weekly Information Pages, doing the required reading in the textbook, watching the videos, completing the assignments on time and participating in the forums/discussions. Canvas keeps a student log of your activities that shows the extent of your "attendance" on the class Canvas site. 

According to SRJC attendance policy:

  • Students are expected to attend (participate) in all sessions of an online course.
  • Students may be dropped from any class when their absences exceed 10% of the total hours of class time.

Link to SRJC attendance policy online

If you fail to attend (participate) in the class for an entire week without contacting me in any way (or responding to my attempts to contact you), you may well be dropped from the class. However, it is ultimately YOUR responsibility to drop a class. Failure to do so may result in an F grade.

Grading Information and Homework Guidelines

dog reading book during daytime

Everyone starts with an A. What you do with the A is up to you. I don’t give grades. You earn grades!!

Tips for Earning a Good Grade

  • Turn your work in on time
  • Complete your assignments to the highest quality possible
  • Do the reading and watch the videos
  • Participate in the discussions
  • Engage with the information and your fellow students

Ways You Can Hurt Your Grade

  • Failing to turn in assignments
  • Producing careless/rushed work
  • Procrastinating on projects and assignments
  • Not paying attention to or reading your instructor's feedback and applying it

Extra Credit

There may be extra credit opportunities offered during the semester.

Late Work

Late work is disruptive and very hard to keep track of in such a large class. All assignments are due at 11:59 pm PST on the due date. A late submission will receive a 5% per day penalty. Submissions more than one week late will not be accepted unless you have a true emergency beyond your control. You should contact me before the deadline to indicate you're unable to turn in your assignment.

No work is accepted after the last day of class!

Your final grade will be based on the points accumulated from your participation and all the work completed during the class. Grading: >90% = A, 80%-89.9% = B, 70%-79.9% = C (or P/NP), 60%-69.9% = D, <60% = F.  You should use the Canvas Grades page to keep track of your progress in this class. 

Grading Feedback

I will attempt to give you helpful and detailed feedback on your assignments when possible. My goal is to grade assignments within 1 week of the final deadline but with so many students in the class I may have to extend my grading time. Late assignments may receive little or no feedback :-( You should receive notifications from Canvas when an assignment has been graded. Check your grades page for my overall comments and also specific comments in the assignment rubric. Click on the rubric icon right next to the assignment name.

Important Note about the Canvas Grades page!  Ungraded assignments may show a 0 grade. Please do not assume that you have received 0 for assignments you have submitted. The number will change when I actually grade the assignment -- usually within 1 week. You should be able to check the status of an assignment to make sure you've submitted it.

Important Dates for This Course

Here are some important dates for CS5! Pay close attention to the drop dates and the class end date.
Day Class Begins: Monday, August 14, 2023
Day Class Ends: Friday, December 8, 2023
Day/Time of Final Exam: TBD online
Last Day to Add with instructor's approval: Sunday, September 3, 2023
Last Day to Drop and be eligible for enrollment/course fee refund: Sunday, August 27, 2023
Last Day to Drop without a 'W' symbol: Sunday, September 3, 2023
Last Day to Drop with a 'W' symbol: Sunday, November 12, 2023
Last Day to Opt for Pass/No Pass: Friday, December 15, 2023

Student Expectations for This Course

brown and black yorkshire terrier puppy playing green tennis ball on green grass field during daytimeThis 17-week section will be taught entirely online. The online format offers you flexibility in scheduling however it requires extra self-discipline and motivation.

Your time commitment:

According to SRJC guidelines, you can expect to dedicate approximately 4 hours in completing video lectures, weekly reading, and following/watching software lab demos, and 7 hours for homework/project/lab assignments). This is an estimate but may not actually reflect the time you spend on the class. Please be aware that your time commitment might vary depending on your existing computer/technology skills. Make an effort not to fall behind with your assignments. 

If you fall behind with your assignments, please e-mail me before you decide to drop the class. I'm very willing to help you out.

Student Conduct Standards and Academic Integrity:

Students must abide by the SRJC Student Conduct Standards and are expected to conduct themselves in a manner which reflects awareness of common standards of decency and the rights of others. All students should know the Student Conduct Code and adhere to it in this class. Students who violate the code may be suspended from 2 classes and referred to Vice President of Student Services for discipline. Follow this link for detailed information about Students Rights and Responsibilities at SRJC.

These Conduct standards also apply to acts of Academic Dishonesty. Any act of academic dishonesty, either intentional or unintentional, will result in a grade of "F" on that assignment. Collaborating on or copying of tests or homework in whole or in part will be considered an act of academic dishonesty and result in a grade of 0 for that test or assignment. Students are encouraged to share information and ideas, but not quiz answers or homework. 
SRJC's statement on Academic Integrity

Special Needs:

Every effort is made to conform to accessibility standards for all instructor-created materials. Students should contact their instructor as soon as possible if they find that they cannot access any course materials. 

If you need disability-related accommodations for this class -- such as a notetaker, test-taking services, etc. -- please provide me with the Authorization for Academic Accommodations (AAA letter) from the Disability Resources Department (DRD) as soon as possible. You may also e-mail me about your accommodations. If you have not received authorization from DRD, it is recommended that you contact them directly. DRD is located in Analy Village (707-527-4278) on the Santa Rosa campus, and Jacobs Room 101/Call Room 690A on the Petaluma Campus.


Tips For Enjoying This Class


Get involved in class discussions and share your questions and discoveries!


Be open to new experiences! Experiment with different software and tools and try things that might be technically challenging.


With an online class you're pretty much on your own on the technical front. Please check the web for online support/tutorials before you contact me. YouTube is a wonderful thing! I may not be able to help you solve problems with your home computer.


You create a great class atmosphere when you work cooperatively with your fellow students and with me. Your classmates will appreciate hearing your constructive comments. In addition, I like to receive constructive and positive feedback about how the class is going. If there's a problem I'd like to hear about it. You never know... maybe I can even fix it!


Stay up to date with your reading, tutorials and assignments! Resist the urge to procrastinate!


Support Resources for Students!

Online Course Support

I've assembled a group of important resources for students learning online on this page: Support for Students Learning Online (this includes links to Technical Support, Tutoring and the Library).

If you need reassurance that you are ready to take an online class, please check the following page: Support for Students who are new to online learning.

Technology Support

SRJC's Information Technology department offers students support in a variety of ways. For example, you can request a student email account, download free (to current student) software (like Microsoft Office 365), and find out about borrowing a loaner laptop. You can borrow one for a semester on a first-come, first-served basis. Please email SRJC Library Access Services Department: or text 1-877-889-9596 

Disability Resources

If you need disability-related assistance contact the Disability Resources Department. DRD is located in Analy Village (707-527-4278) on the Santa Rosa campus, and Jacobs Room 101/Call Room 690A on the Petaluma Campus.


If you have a health-related concern, you can contact SRJC Student Health Services by clicking on this link:

All students enrolled in any credit course in the Sonoma County Junior College District are eligible to access services funded by the Health Fee. Professional visits and select supplies are provided free of charge. Cost of care obtained at other healthcare facilities, however, is the student's financial responsibility. 

Mental Health

SRJC’s Student Psychological Services is free to all SRJC students. 

  • SPS has expanded its staff this semester; last semester there were virtually no waiting lists
  • Services are provided via a special extra secure version of Zoom; Information communicated during sessions is confidential
  • Students can see SRJC therapists for a wide variety of reasons, including stress, anxiety, sadness, depression, relationship issues, and many more
  • Appointments can be easily made by calling 707 527-4445 or emailing
  • Appointments are available during the many hours of operation: M-TH 8:30-5 and F 8:30-12:30
  • SPS is part of Student Health Services, and you can contact the same number/email for any medical issues you have
  • Online information about mental and physical health is also available at