CSCI-UA.0480-008: Policies and Grading


Your final grade will be determined by the following weights:


Some of our classes will discuss assigned papers. When we have these discussions, the class expectations are that (1) students do the assigned reading before class, and (2) the participation is approximately uniform: every student participates, no student dominates, etc.

In graduate classes, I cold-call students (based on a randomly shuffled deck of cards); this tends to result in both (1) and (2). On our first class meeting, we'll discuss whether to have cold-calling or an alternative.

In any case, participation will be graded based on quality, not quantity. So please don't feel that you have to speak a lot to enhance your participation grade — in fact, if your speaking is drowning out your classmates, that detracts from quality. Contributing to quality means highlighting genuine confusions, shedding light on a paper, answering the discussion leader's questions, giving new points of view (that you substantiate with evidence), etc.


Unless stated otherwise, all exams above will be closed book. The midterm and the final exam will cover material from class meetings, labs, readings, homeworks, and any other assigned material.

Turn-in policy, slack hours, and lateness

Labs will be accepted until the last day of class. Each student gets a total of 120 late hours for the lab assignments. This is five days, total, but you can spend them however you want (a few hours here, a few there, etc.). We round up, so if a lab is late by, say, 10 minutes, that counts as having spent a late hour. If an assignment that is completed in a pair is late, both partners use late hours. The labs have different weights; we will apply your late hours in the way that is best for you (but you should still keep track of your balance).

Spring break stops the late hour clock. We will "stop the clock" at 6:00 PM on Friday, March 11 and start it again at 8:00 AM on Monday, March 21. For example, if a lab is due at 5:00 PM on March 11, and you turn it in at 8:59 AM on March 21, then it costs only two late hours for the lab to count as being on time. This will give you a chance to catch up if your late hour balance is low; alternatively, this gives you a way to enjoy your vacation without destroying your late hour balance.

Beyond your late hours, each additional day late will incur a full letter grade penalty (fractions of a day count as entire days). However, there is a floor: labs that are 100% correct cannot fall below a grade of C (labs that are X% correct and more than 120 hours late would get X% of the points that a C represents, etc). The intent of the floor is that if you do all of the work, you can pass, even if you are very late.

If you do not hand in an assignment, or hand in a blank assignment, you get a 0 for that assignment. It is waaaay better for you to hand in an assignment that receives a C for lateness than to simply give up on the assignment (averaged-in zeroes are damaging).

Exemptions of the lateness rules will be allowed in three cases:

  1. Illness, which requires a doctor's note and approval by the DUS. The instructor will not look at such notes; instead, bring the note to the Director of Undergraduate Studies (WWH 1121), who will communicate with the instructor.
  2. Death in the immediate family.
  3. Accommodation for students with disabilities, as prescribed by the university.

No extensions will be given for any other reason (including job interviews, business trips, work on research publications, etc.).

Collaboration, source material, and academic integrity

Here is this class's collaboration policy. It is the same as my CS202 class last spring. (Please note that many students last spring ran afoul of this policy, which caused problems, stress, unpleasantness,'s much better to ask the course staff for help than to step over the line): We will enforce the policy strictly. Penalties include failing the course, referral to the university's disciplinary body, and possible expulsion.

More about collaboration

You can discuss the labs in general terms with your classmates. What does "general terms" mean? First of all, per the policy above, you cannot look at the written work of anyone else (besides your partner for a given assignment). Second, after discussing a problem with another student (or the course staff!), go do something else (read a book, watch a movie) for half an hour before going back to work on the assignment. If you can't remember what the person said after a half hour, you didn't really understand it.

More about source material

You are welcome to use existing public libraries in your programming assignments (such as public classes for queues, trees, etc.) You may also look at code for public domain software such as Linux. Consistent with the policies and normal academic practice, you are obligated to cite any source that gave you code or an idea.

Per the policy above, you may not look at any course material relating to any project or lab similar to this course's assignments. You may not look at work done by students in past years' courses. You may not look at similar course projects at other universities. If you are unsure about whether a particular source of external information is permitted, contact the instructor before looking at it.

More about academic integrity

The above guidelines are necessarily generalizations and cannot account for all circumstances. Intellectual dishonesty can end your career, and it is your responsibility to stay on the right side of the line. If you are not sure about something, ask.


You can submit any graded item for a regrade, under the following conditions. First, you need to submit a clear, written statement that explains the request (what was wrong and why). Second, you must submit your request within one week of when the graded work was returned. Third, we will regrade the entire exam, homework, etc. (so a regrade can potentially decrease your grade.)

Last updated: 2016-04-15 16:24:02 -0400 [validate xhtml]