Functions and Pointers
Functions in C allow the programmer to reuse sequences of
instructions by name rather than having to retype the actual underlying
code. There are many useful functions included in the C standard
library, but programmers also create their own functions. Functions can
both receive input data from and return data to the sections of the
program that call them.
Pointers provide a powerful and flexible way to access data in
memory and share it between different parts of a program. Pointers are a
very useful tool, but programmers must use them carefully to avoid
To successfully complete this learning unit, you will be expected to:
Organize and reuse code efficiently using custom functions.
Use pointers to access data stored in memory.
Use pointers and heap memory effectively.
Learning Activities Collapse All
[u04s1] Unit 4 Study 1
Use your C Programming: Absolute Beginners Guide text to read the following:
Chapter 24, “Solving the Mystery of Pointer,” pages 221–229.
Chapter 25, “Arrays and Pointer,” pages 231–241.
Chapter 26, “Maximizing Your Computer’s Memory,” pages 243–255.
Chapter 30, “Organizing Your Code With Functions,” pages 285–292.
Chapter 31, “Passing Variables to Your Functions,” pages 293–303.
Chapter 32, “Returning Data From Your Functions,” pages 305–312.
Use your Programming in C text to read:
Chapter 7, “Working With Functions,” pages 119–160.
Chapter 10 in Programming in C includes a discussion of
using pointers with structures (structs) on pages 239–251. This course
covers structs in the next unit, so you may want to wait until the next
unit to read this section of the chapter.
Optional Skillsoft Resource
Skillsoft. (n.d.). Java SE 8 fundamentals: Introduction to Java [Tutorial].
[u04d1] Unit 4 Discussion 1
Planning the Logic of the Program
Before starting to write code, it is important to have a clear
picture of what the program should do and the steps in the process for
reaching the desired result. Choose either the program for part 1 or
part 2 of this unit’s assignment and write out in plain English what the
program needs to do and describe the steps in the process to solve the
problem. Focus on a clear explanation of the process of solving the
problem, not writing C. While it is a good idea to do this for both
programs, you only need to discuss one in this post.
Please focus on communicating in writing that is professional in tone and free of spelling and grammatical errors. Complete your initial post by Wednesday, 12:00 midnight Central Time. Response Guidelines
Prior to Sunday evening, read and provide high-quality replies to
at least two of your peers’ posts. In a constructive manner, point out
areas of concern or of note. Include an example from your personal
experience or reasoning, if applicable.
Discussion Participation Scoring Guide.
[u04a1] Unit 4 Assignment 1
Programming in C: Unit 4 Exercises
Part 1: Simple Grade Book, Version 1.1
Modify the grade book code from Unit 3 so that it uses heap memory
to store percentage grades in the range from 0 to 100 (inclusive). The
program should allow the user to indicate when he or she is done
entering grades (since the user may not have grades to fill the whole
array). When the user is done entering grades, the program should print
out the grades entered by the user. Be sure to free the heap memory
before the program ends.
Part 2: Simple Grade Book, Version 2.0
Modify the grade book code from Unit 3 so that it uses 3 custom
functions to calculate the average grade (arithmetic mean, not letter
grade), report the highest grade, and find the lowest grade entered.
This version of the program does not need to use heap memory, though you
are welcome to do so. The program should allow the user to indicate
when he or she is done entering grades (since the user may not have
grades to fill the whole array). When the user is done entering grades,
the program should print out the grades entered by the user. The program
should also display the average grade, highest grade, and lowest grade.
Be sure to include extended comments to explain the roles of your custom functions.
When you submit your assignment, please be sure to include the .c source code files for both programs.
Programming in C: Unit 4 Exercises Scoring Guide.
Updates and Handouts
Periodically, information will be posted in this space for the good of the class.
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