CS 439: Policies and Grading


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


The course will use plus and minus grades. Your final grade will be determined by the following weights:

The exact weighting between the final and quizzes will depend on various factors. Don't worry about missing one or two quizzes; we'll drop your lowest score or two.

Above, "homework" is quoted because this item refers to actual assigned homework plus work done in discussion section.

Work in the "homework" category will be graded loosely. To receive credit, you must make a credible effort to solve the problem; mistakes will not be penalized, in general. Everything else will be graded strictly.

Turn-in policy, slack days, lateness, etc.

Each project team gets a total of 72 late hours to use throughout the semester on the labs. Late hours cannot be used on labs 1 and 3 [update: nor on lab sh], which will be done individually. Beyond this requirement, your team decides how to divide the 72 hours among the various lab assignments. The granularity of these hours is just that: hours. Labs that are late by, say, 10 minutes count as having spent a late hour.

After your late hours are exhausted, each additional day late will incur a full letter grade penalty, though there is a floor: full credit on a lab will always result in a D. At any point, failing to turn in a lab results in an F on that lab (and possibly failing the future labs, since some of them are cumulative).

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

  1. Illness, which has to be documented by a doctor and approved by the university.
  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, etc.).

Homeworks and discussion sections will be synchronized, so no late homeworks will be accepted, and you cannot use slack hours for homeworks. To give you flexibility, we will drop your lowest two homework scores.

Code of conduct

Please read the UTCS Code of Conduct. It outlines what is expected of you and what you can expect from classes in the CS department.

Collaboration, source material, and cheating

You can discuss the labs in general terms only with your classmates. Below are a few notes on this policy. When you have a project partner, then you should read the "you" below as referring to your team, since of course you should be discussing code with your project partner (but no one else):

Below is more detail. You are responsible for knowing these policies.


You must do the work on your own. What does "on your own" mean? Here are some guidelines to keep you on the right side of the line:
  1. It is never okay to look at the written work of another person or show another person (other than the instructor or TA) your written work until after all grading on an assignment is completed. This includes looking at paper print-outs, sketching solutions on a white board or napkin, or looking at a screen to help debugging. Obviously, copying other people's code or solution sets is prohibited.
  2. 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.
  3. Third, everyone in the class is expected to take appropriate measures for protecting their work. For example, you should protect your files and printouts from unauthorized access. Update, 4/2/13: Students should not publish their solutions in publically accessible places, such as github or stackoverflow.

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 operating systems code for public domain software such as Linux. Such activities qualify under approved collaboration practices, and you are welcome to take advantage of them. Consistent with normal academic practice, you should cite and give credit to any source that gave you code or an idea.

What you may not do is look at any course material relating to any project or lab similar to this course's assignments. For example, you may not look at the work done by a student in past years' courses, and 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.


Note that 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.

Students who violate University rules on scholastic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and/or dismissal from the University. Because such dishonesty harms the individual, all students, and the integrity of the University, policies on scholastic dishonesty will be strictly enforced.


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.)

Accommodations for students with disabilities

The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 512-471-6259, 512-471-6441 TTY.

Last updated: Tue Apr 02 23:54:32 -0500 2013 [validate xhtml]