I run my courses based on established and published policies. This page has all the info you need to understand your rights and responsibilities as a student in this course.
Your grade in this course will depend upon several aspects of your work. The weightings are as follows:
Details of all the grading opportunities may be found elsewhere within this presentation. When appropriate, grades and associated comments will be posted (anonymously) on the Posted Grades page. Please note that final letter grades will not be posted. My full grading philosophy is discussed elsewhere. However, it can be summarized as follows:
I do not count attendance at lectures toward your grade. However, students who actively participate in lectures tend to earn better grades on both coursework and exams. They hear the important announcements, experience the material as I present it, and pick up the various hints and pointers I provide along the way — all of which are hard to get from copied notes. Exposure to these sometimes subtle, but often important, insights allows participating students to achieve higher scores on their assignments, project and exams.
Also, regular participation in lectures is the best way to help yourself succeed in the course. I am happy to assist students throughout the semester, but I cannot learn the material for you. You must first take the initiative and do what you can to help yourself. If you have not been attending lectures regularly and come to me seeking help, do not be surprised if my first suggestion is for you to get the notes you’ve missed from a classmate and start attending lectures.
Your final grade will be assigned based upon how well you perform relative to your classmates. There is a common misperception that this means that students with prior knowledge have an advantage. However, history has demonstrated that participation in lectures offers a far greater advantage than prior knowledge.
Assignments are due at the date and time indicated in the assignment description. You may submit assignments later than this deadline; however, a penalty will be assessed on your grade as a result.
Penalties will be at my discretion, but you should expect a minimum penalty of 5% (or a partial letter grade where applicable). The later the submission, the greater the penalty is likely to be. Submissions more than 72 hours late will not be accepted without prior permission.
I will assume that online submissions are complete as of the deadline. If you are not going to have one done by the deadline, you must notify me by e-mail prior to the deadline. Then, you are responsible for notifying me again by e-mail as soon as the assignment is complete and ready for grading. If you fail to notify me that an assignment will not be complete at the deadline, I reserve the right to either grade it as it stands at the deadline or not grade it at all. I also reserve the right to deduct a larger penalty than I might have otherwise if you do not notify me prior to the deadline that an assignment will be late.
All of the above is negotiable if you have a valid excuse. However, it is your responsibility to get special allowances from me by e-mail. Even if we discuss such allowances face to face, they will not be considered official until you get me to confirm them in writing. As a general rule of thumb, the sooner you contact me about a difficulty, the more flexibility and forgiveness I am likely to have. And, remember, I will be the one to decide the validity of your excuse, and I will do so in consideration of fairness to your classmates as well as you.
Exams will be announced so that you can plan and study accordingly. Makeups may be allowed at my discretion, but only if you contact me before the exam is administered. Be sure to get confirmation of your makeup from me by e-mail to make it official! I will not drop any exam scores at the end of the semester.
While it is helpful to have your own personal computer on which to do the course work, it is not required. If you wish, you are entitled to use the public computer clusters on campus.
If you do have your own computer, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the proper software installed to complete the assignments. If you do not, you may find it preferable to use the public computer clusters here on campus.
No matter where you choose to do your work, you should plan on getting started on it as soon as possible. All computers are governed by Murphy’s Law (some more so than others), and you should plan on them deciding not to work just when you need them the most (that is, in the last hour before an assignment is due). It is your responsibility to allow yourself enough time to get your work done despite the obstacles (both expected and unexpected) that may impede your progress. You may want to familiarize yourself with the policy governing the late submission of assignments so that you know what is at stake. Computer difficulties are more often a sign of poor planning than a valid excuse.
In this course (as with most courses, and indeed life in general) you are expected to do your own work. All work which you submit and/or display as your own original work must in fact be your own original work. If any portion of your work is an exact replica or derivation of somebody else’s work, you must obtain the creator’s permission to utilize his or her work and indicate the name of the creator and the extent of their contribution.
Unfortunately, experience has demonstrated that a handful of students find this simple statement ambiguous. Therefore, I have composed a Code of Conduct for my classes. Please be sure you read and fully understand this document. You may be asked to submit a signed copy to me.
It is also your responsibility to familiarize yourself with and follow the University’s Code of Ethics regarding the use of campus computing facilities.
Likewise, you are expected to act as a good citizen within the networked society we are exploring. Use your common sense and good taste and remember that you will be held accountable for all network activity originating from your account.
Potential penalties for failing to abide by these rules can range from zero scores on individual assignments, to failure of the course, to loss of University computing privileges, to (in extreme cases) legal action.