Summary: This page explains course activities, policies, and recommendations.
I will use the following scheme as a base for weighting grades for individual activities in the final grade:
|Best of above (except for participation)||10%|
I do not believe in "grading on a curve"; I would be pleased if you all earned A's in this course.
Successfully undertaking an activity for extra credit will add 1/2 of a percentage point to your final score. I will propose opportunities for extra credit throughout the semester, and you may propose ideas as well.
Because I realize that computer science does not
students, I reward effort as well as outcome. Hence, students who make
good faith effort in this class will pass the class
with at least
a C+. A good-faith effort includes missing no more than two classes,
turning in every homework assignment, and spending the requisite time
on each examination.
This class meets four times per week on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 to 10:50 a.m.
Computer science 151 is taught in a collaborative workshop style. Some days we will spend the class period working through problems or concepts; even then, my teaching style tends to be more interactive than a typical lecture. Most days, you'll work on laboratory problems at the computer with other students in the class. We will start many days with a short lecture/discussion and end with a reflective discussion. Participation is key.
Because our time in class is limited, you should come prepared to each class. What does it mean to be prepared? First, check the schedule for today's class meeting to find out what we will be working on. Second, if there is a reading listed for today's class meeting, read it before class. Third, come to class on time, with paper and a writing instrument, ready to be an active participant.
The evening after class, you should complete the lab exercise so you can gain its full benefit. You may be expected to carefully write up your solutions to some lab exercises as part of your homework, and you may be quizzed about about laboratory exercises as well.
You will also have the opportunitiy to exercise your creativity in an open-ended project and demonstrate your learning in three take-home midterm exams (plus an optional final exam).
There is no textbook for this course; however, there is a series of online readings.
The readings are short, but important. Do the reading before class. Better yet, read it three times: read through it through carefully to learn new concepts; then skim it to understand how the concepts fit together; finally, read it again to understand the details. Make note of important ideas and any questions you want to ask in class.
Some ideas become clearer as you work through the lab, but I want you to start the lab with some foundation of understanding. If the reading is unclear, please let me know so that (a) I can answer your questions and (b) we can improve it!
Because much of our work in this course involves collaboration and discussion, you will be evaluated on your participation.
Participating in class involves
Students who regularly meet these criteria can expect to earn 90 points (an A-) for their participation grade. I will reward students who regularly provide significant insights or guide discussion in productive ways with a higher participation score. Students who fail to participate regularly or who participate in counterproductive ways (e.g., by dominating the conversation or making inappropriate comments) can expect to earn a lower score.
One unexcused absence (your "oops" day) will have no effect on your participation score. Missing 2-5 classes will reduce your participation score by 10 points. Missing 6-8 classes will reduce your participation grade by 25 points. Missing 9 or more classes will reduce your participation grade by 50 points.
To have your absence count as excused, you must either (a) ensure that I receive documentation of the circumstances of your absence from Health Services or Student Affairs, or (b) contact me to make suitable arrangements at least a week in advance. In particular, students on sports teams should provide me with their game schedules as soon as possible.
Because I care about you, if you do miss class unexpectedly, I would appreciate a quick call or email as soon as you are able. Don't be surprised if I call or email to make sure you are OK.
When you do miss class, it is your responsibility to talk to a classmate about what you missed and only then to see me to discuss any further questions or concerns.
Each Wednesday when there is not a project or exam assignment, you will have a homework assignment due. These homework assignments are intended to go beyond merely checking that you've learned the basic concepts (the quizzes will do that) to let you learn and apply some new algorithms and ideas. However, they are not intended to be huge undertakings. If you find the assignments are consistently taking longer than 3-4 hours, please come talk to me.
The course schedule includes 9 homework assignments; your lowest homework grade will be dropped.
I will give you instructions about what forms of collaboration are permitted on each homework assignment.
Since I want to give you room to go above and beyond the requirements of the assignment, homework will be graded on the following scale. I expect most work to receive checks.
|PLUS (105%)||-||Exhibits exceptional insight and/or craftsmanship.|
|CHECK (90%)||-||Meets the requirements of the assignment.|
|MINUS (75%)||-||Does not meet the requirements of the assignment.|
|ZERO (0%)||-||Not turned in.|
The course will also include one more substantial project, in which you will have an opportunity to exercise your creativity in working on a program over a period of about a week. I will inform you of my grading rubric when the project is assigned.
Each Friday, there will be a short, written quiz covering two or three key ideas from the previous week. Since lab work is done in pairs, the quizzes are intended to check each individual student's understanding of these ideas in a timely fashion (i.e., well before the examinations). If you (or many students in the class) are missing a key concept, I want to revisit that concept as soon as possible so we can build on it in later lessons.
The course schedule includes 10 quizzes; your lowest quiz score will be dropped.
Since the goal of the quizzes is to check that you have learned basic skills, an answer that is basically correct will receive full credit, even if there are minor issues. For code, my rule of thumb is that the code is basically correct if I believe you could make it work in a few minutes at the computer (and it uses the required ideas). A partially correct answer will receive partial credit at my discretion.
If you require accomodations for these quizzes, please come talk with me as soon as possible. The first quiz will be the second Friday of the semester.
You will have opportunities to demonstrate what you have learned through three take-home exams. You should find they challenge you to go beyond what we have done in class.
Take-home exams are open notes, open computer, and open instructor. However, because I intend the exams to assess your own individual understanding of the material, collaboration on exams is not permitted. You should not talk to anyone (except me) about take-home exams before they are due. You should not discuss the problems on the exam, nor your answers. You should not give any information about your progress on the exam (e.g., which problems you have completed or which you found difficult), and neither should you ask others about their progress. If you have any doubt about what is and is not permissible, ask me.
In accordance with the schedule issued by the Committee on Academic Standing, the final examination for this course will take place at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, December 17. However, the final examination for this course is optional. It can be used to replace your lowest score on one other examination.
The final exam will be an in-class exam. Talking with other students during the exam will not be permitted. You may ask me questions. The final exam will be closed-book and closed-computer, but you will be allowed to use one double-sided, 8.5"x11" sheet of hand-written notes.
I expect you to follow the highest principles of academic honesty. Among other things, this means that any work you turn in should be your own or should have the work of others clearly documented. However, when you explicitly work as part of a group or team, you need not identify the work of each individual (unless I specify otherwise).
You should never
give away answers to homework
examinations. You may, however, work together in developing answers to
most homework assignments. Except as specified on individual
each student should develop his or her own final version of the
assignment. On written assignments, each student should write up an
individual version of the assignment and cite the discussion. On
non-group programming assignments, each student should do his or her
programming, although students may help each other with design and
When working on examinations, you should not use other students as resources.
Work is due at the time and date specified in the assignment. Except under exceptional circumstances, each weekday (MTWThF) your work is late will reduce your grade by one level.
When exceptional circumstances prevent timely submission of your work, you must either (a) contact me to make suitable arrangements when the assignment is handed out, or (b) ensure that I receive documentation of the circumstances from Health Services or Student Affairs.
Because I am concerned about your health and well being, I will also accept late work if (1) you start the assignment at least three days in advance of the due date; (2) you get to sleep by midnight the night before the assignment is due; (3) you expend a reasonable amount of effort to complete the assignment by midnight; (4) you turn in a letter attesting to facts (1), (2), and (3) when the assignment is due; and (5) you talk to me ASAP about any problems you've had on the assignment.
Deadlines for exercises involving programming will automatically be extended by at least one class period if MathLAN is down for an unscheduled period of 3 or more hours during the two days preceeding the assignment due date. No such extension will be granted for exercises not involving programming.
Absolute deadline: All work must be turned in by Friday, December 19 at 5 p.m.
The Math Lab makes tutors for 151 available at regularly scheduled times, which are posted on the front door. These tutors can be found in our classroom, SCI 3813.
You can also get help from me, either during office hours or by appointment. I really enjoy working with students one-on-one.
If you have specific physical, psychiatric, or learning disabilities and require accomodations, let me know early in the semester so that we can work together to meet your learning needs. You will also need to provide documentation of your disability to the Academic Advising Office, located on the third floor of the Rosenfield Center (x3702).
Janet Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org)Created January 19, 2007