|CPSC 225||Intermediate Programming||Spring 2017|
You are expected to be familiar with the course policies stated below. Ignorance of a policy is not an excuse for violating a policy or being surprised when it is applied to you, and will not exempt you from its penalties.
On this page:
You are expected to regularly check your HWS email and the course web page (especially the course schedule). Assignments, handouts, and other information relevant to the class as a whole will be posted on the course web page. Email will be used in the case of a particularly time-sensitive announcement (e.g. an announcement about a homework which is due in the next class meeting) or for matters which are only relevant to a few people in the class.
You are expected to be on task during class and lab - web surfing, texting, playing games, doing assignments for other courses, etc. are not acceptable. Except in the case of an emergency, leaving the classroom during class is not acceptable. (Take care of any necessary business before or after class!) Also, please do not use headphones during lab - you may miss important announcements to the class about assignments, and it makes it difficult to interact with you about what you are working on.
|Assignments and Evaluation||
Readings: Readings are the first introduction for most material. There is not a great deal of reading, and it is expected that you will do what is assigned. (Also, some material in the assigned readings may not get covered in class.) Readings are to be completed for the class period where they are listed on the course schedule.
Labs: Labs will be small-group exercises to explore, practice, and reinforce ideas from class. Some labs may introduce specific software or packages. Labs should generally be completed or nearly completed during the lab period; anything not completed during lab must be finished outside of class. Labs will be due on Fridays.
Programming Assignments: The programming assignments (along with the final project) constitute the bulk of the out-of-class work for this course. The programming assignments provide an opportunity to work on larger programs, practice going from specifications to a working program, and apply the course material.
Exams: There will be two midterm exams. These will be in-class, written exams. The dates and times of the exams are noted on the course schedule - be sure to consult that! More details about each exam will be announced prior to the exam.
Final Project: There will be a final project instead of a final exam. It will be due at the end of the registrar-scheduled final exam time slot. More details about the project will be announced later in the semester.
Final Grades: Final grades will be computed as follows:
Participation: You are expected to participate in class. This does not mean that you have to volunteer for everything, but you should be actively engaged in class - i.e. you are paying attention and contribute meaningfully to the class on a regular basis, and you are on task and contributing to the group during in-class group activities. You should not hesitate to ask questions about the course material, either in class or outside of class via email or office hours - if you remain confused about something, it will make the next topic that much harder. Class participation will be taken into account when considering borderline final grades.
Extra Credit: Some extra credit opportunities may be available on programming assignments and the final project. Another avenue for extra credit is attending colloquium talks (see below). If you are interested in extra credit, take advantage of these opportunities!
Talks: The Math/CS Department sponsors a number of colloquium talks from faculty, alumni, and visitors during the semester. These talks are a great way to find out about a variety of topics in the fields of mathematics and computer science. You can earn extra credit for attending talks relevant to computer science - this includes computer-science-themed math/CS colloquium talks, as well as any other talk given on campus that is relevant to computer science. (Feel free to suggest talks that might qualify.) To get credit for attending a talk, you must be present at the talk and must submit a three-paragraph writeup of the talk: one paragraph summarizing the talk, one paragraph discussing what you learned from the talk, and one paragraph explaining why the talk is relevant to computer science. Writeups are due within one week of the talk. Writeups which are clearly written, substantive, and contain the three paragraphs listed will earn full credit. A maximum of four talks (for a total of 1% of the final grade) will be counted for extra credit.
Programs will be assessed on both functionality (does the program run, and does it do what it should?) and style (which includes readability, commenting, clarity, and design). Specific points I will be looking for:
Following reasonable conventions is important for readability of your code. The course coding standards specify the particular conventions you should use in this course; not following these standards can result in points lost on assignments.
You are expected to attend and be on time for all class and lab sessions, and it is your responsibility to make sure that you sign the attendance sheet each day. Late arrivals or early departures may be marked as absent.
Attending and participating in class (and especially lab) is an important part of your experience in this course, and students who miss class typically do worse on assignments and exams. For that reason, any unexcused absence after the first three absences (whether excused or unexcused) will lower your final grade by 1/3 of a letter grade for the first such absence, 2/3 of a letter grade for the second, and a full letter grade for each of the third and subsequent absences.
Excused absences include absences due to sports competitions, official Colleges activities such as musical performances or debate competitions, academically-related events such as attending a conference, religious observances, illness, or personal or family emergencies. A reason must be provided in order for such an absence to be counted as an excused absence.
Missing class for other reasons - such as being too busy, oversleeping, or leaving early for a vacation - is considered to be an unexcused absence. Any absence for which no reason is provided is automatically considered to be unexcused.
|Making Up Work||
You are responsible for acquiring any notes, handouts, assignments, and other material missed as the result of an absence, whether excused or unexcused. This should be done promptly to avoid falling behind.
Every effort should be made to hand assignments in on time, even if you are absent from class that day. If a last-minute emergency prevents you from handing in completed work on time, the assignment will be accepted late without penalty only if arrangements are made as soon as possible to get the assignment handed in. If you need more time to complete the assignment, then you need an extension (see below).
|Late Policy, Extensions, and Rescheduling Exams||
Late work is accepted - labs and programming assignments will be penalized 5% if turned in by midnight on the due date and 10% per day or part of day thereafter up to a maximum deduction of 40% - but this should be a rare occurrence as deadlines are tight (being late on one assignment takes away time from the next) and a habit of late handins will have a significant impact on your grade as well as making subsequent topics harder to master (much of the material is cumulative).
Extensions will only be granted for the kinds of things that count as excused absences, and generally only if a significant portion of the time allocated for the assignment is affected. If you miss lab due to an excused absence, you may request an extension allowing you to turn in the lab by the start of the next lab period without penalty. (This is expected to be a rare occurrence, and repeat requests may be denied.) Note that leaving early for a vacation, being busy, or having a bunch of assignments due at the same time are not considered reasons for extensions. Save often and make backups of your files - computer failures do occur and are generally not grounds for an extension.
Exams can only be rescheduled if you will have an excused absence on that day.
Arrangements for extensions or rescheduled exams must be made sufficiently in advance of the date in question - contact me as soon as you know you'll need an extension or will miss an exam rather than waiting until the last minute! Last-minute requests may be denied. Also, it is your responsibility to make sure there are actual arrangements (a specific new deadline or date) - simply sending an email notification about an upcoming absence does not constitute "arrangements".
Extensions will not be granted retroactively - if a last-minute emergency causes you to miss an exam or prevents you from handing an assignment in on time, the make-up policy applies (see "Making Up Work" above). Note that the "extension" in this case will only be for long enough to get the already-completed assignment handed in; if you need more time to complete the assignment, it will be considered late.
No work will be accepted after the end of the Registrar-scheduled final exam time slot.
|Working Together and Academic Integrity||
The HWS Principle of Academic Integrity governs all of the work completed in this course. Specifically:
To emphasize: "Your own work" (or "your group's own work") means that the ideas and the effort to mold those ideas into a working solution are your own (or your group's). Copying part or all of someone else's solution is expressly prohibited and it is never acceptable to be in possession of someone else's program or solution before you have handed in your own. This includes both computer files and paper copies. Decompiling or reverse-engineering someone else's code (including provided code) is also prohibited. All of this should be obvious: using someone else's program "as a guide" to completing your own is plagiarism.
Potentially less obvious is the line between getting help (OK) and working with others (not OK). Working together with someone else to produce a solution which you both hand in is not OK, even if you each type it in individually and/or make some modifications afterwards. You may discuss ideas about how to get started and you may get debugging help or discuss why something doesn't seem to be working; you may not work on designing a program or writing code or pseudocode with someone else. Ask before you do something if you are unsure what is OK.
It is OK to use other materials (such as reference books or websites) as technical references to learn about an aspect of Java or a data structure. However, looking for and/or copying a solution is not acceptable (even if you make some modifications). See "Plagiarism in Programs and on Problem Sets" below for more information on the difference between a reference and a solution.
The purpose of these rules is to make sure that you learn the material so you can solve the next problem instead of getting an answer that only addresses the current problem.
Submitting work which is unreasonably similar to another person's work and/or not being able to explain some part of your solution will result in a minimum penalty of a 0 on the assignment. A second such offense is grounds for failure in the course. Plagiarism offenses may also be referred to the Committee on Standards.
There are no exceptions to this policy; ignorance of the policy and desperation ("It was the night before it was due and there wasn't anyone else to ask!") are specifically not excuses for violating the policy. If you are having trouble with the course material, come to the instructor! - it is never advantageous to "borrow" someone else's solution, and the time spent trying to disguise this "borrowing" is far better spent getting help.
From the HWS Catalogue: (available online at http://www.hws.edu/catalogue/policies.aspx)
|Plagiarism in Programs and on Problem Sets||
As with papers, verbatim copying of programs and problem solutions constitutes plagiarism. Also as with papers, plagiarism is not limited to verbatim copying - copying the significant ideas and structure of someone else's program/problem solution also constitutes plagiarism. In this course, working together with someone else to produce a solution which you both hand in also oversteps the allowed collaboration, even if you contributed to producing that solution.
But aren't all programs which solve the same task/solutions to the same
problem pretty much the same, so won't my program/solution look like everyone
else's even if I worked by myself?
Programming/problem solving techniques are often explained via examples -
what's the difference between using an example and "copying the
significant ideas and structure"?
OK, then, so I can't use any examples because that constitutes
Using "examples" (as defined above) is generally OK but using "solutions" is not.
There's a fuzzy middle ground here, and I'm still not sure exactly
what is OK and what isn't.
|Being Successful and Getting Help||
There is a steady schedule of assignments and much of the course material is cumulative - it is important that you review each day's material (after class is a great idea) and promptly address anything that is confusing. It is also important that you budget your time and start on assignments early so that you have time to think about problems and deal with unexpected surprises.
Your first resource if you need help with any aspect of the course material should be the instructor - ask questions during class and lab, stop by office hours, send email, or drop by or schedule a meeting.
Additional resources include the CS Teaching Fellows, who are available in the Rosenberg 009 computer lab 7-10pm Sun-Thu. Note that they are not specifically hired to support this course, but they should still be able to help you with debugging or thinking through logic. Note that assignment-specific questions are best directed to the instructor.
For more general help, such as with writing, study skills, or time management, you are encouraged to check out the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL):
Disability Accommodations: If you are a student with a disability for which you may need academic accommodations in this course, you should self-identify, provide appropriate documentation of your disability, and register for services with Disability Services at the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). Disability related accommodations and services generally will not be provided until the registration and documentation process is complete. The guidelines for documenting disabilities can be found at the following website: http://www.hws.edu/academics/ctl/disability_services.aspx
Please direct questions about this process or Disability Services at HWS to CTL@hws.edu or x3351.