Staffing Overview

CS 101 is an exciting course, as it is the first in the major sequence. It is programming-intensive, so we a wonderful team to support students. Here is an overview of the staffing for the course.


Your instructors have office hours to answer questions about material, assignments and labs, posted on the Main Page. You can also email them.

GEMs (upper level CS students)

GEMs (Giga Education Mentors) are upper level students that have been trained in effective and inclusive mentoring.

As a CS 101 student, you will be assigned a GEM, who will

  • review your submitted work
  • meet with you for 10 minutes individually to give feedback on your submitted work (required)

You may also interact with GEMs in two other ways:

  • In each lab, there will be one GEM for about an hour to help with questions during that lab time.
  • Throughout the semester, GEMs will schedule special 1-hour active learning modules to help clarify material. If you attend one of these modules, you will earn 1 late day.

TAs (upper level CS students)

TAs are upper level students that hold 2-hour drop-in help sessions for assistance with on-going work. The schedule of these sessions is posted on the Main Page.


What resources are available if I want help on the current lab or assignment?

  • During a scheduled lab session, you should ask the faculty instructor, lab instructor or GEM (if one is present).
  • Otherwise, you can attend the following (times are posted on the Main Page) or send email to your instructors:
    • Instructor office hours
    • Lab instructor office hours
    • TA drop-in sessions

What resources are available for feedback on submitted work?

  • A GEM will be assigned to you, who will perform an initial "code review" and will discuss this during weekly 1-on-1 meetings for your submitted work.
  • You can also ask your instructors in their office hours or over email.

What is the difference between a GEM and a TA?

  • A GEM is a mentor assigned to you for the duration of the course, who will mainly give you feedback on submitted work.
  • A TA is associated with the course and can help any students during their drop-in sessions with ongoing work.

Who do I ask if I have other questions about the MaGE program?

  • Contact the Program Coordinator (Barbara Rotundo).

On-line Resources

Unity and JavaScript


  • Java API
  • To install Java on your machine
    • Go to http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/index.html
    • Click the button that says Download JDK
    • On the page that appears, follow the instructions to download and install the JDK (not JRE) for your Operating System
      • Note: on Windows, you will need to use the DOS Command Prompt (Start menu -> Accessories -> Cmd prompt) to compile your code. Use the quick ref sheet (also linked below) to find DOS command equivalents to the Unix ones you've learned in lab.

Remote access

  • Follow the directions under Off-campus access from the LITS page
    • Instead of the server names they use (mhc.mtholyoke.edu or www.mtholyoke.edu), enter the address for the CS royal server: royal.cs.mtholyoke.edu
    • Log in with your CS username and password

Unix/DOS commands

Design and Debugging

  • Some ideas for ways that you can use Visual Aids to assist with your program design and debugging
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