CPSC 327 Data Structures and Algorithms Spring 2015

CPSC 327 Assessment

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Assignments and Evaluation

Readings: Readings are an important component of this course; they introduce and complement material covered in class. It is expected that you will do what is assigned.

Homework: Homework problems are an opportunity to practice applying the material covered in the reading and in class. To allow for rapid feedback and in-class discussion, homework problems will generally be assigned in small batches due one or two class periods later rather than in large weekly problem sets.

Programming Assignments: Two programming assignments will emphasize practical applications of the material.

Exams: There will be two midterms and a final exam. All will be take-home exams, and will emphasize applying concepts rather than simple recall. More information about the exams will be provided closer to the exam dates.

Final Grades: Final grades will be computed as follows:

  • Homework: 52%
  • Programming Assignments: 18% (9% each)
  • Exams: 30% (midterms 9% each, final 12%)

You are also expected to attend and be on time for all class meetings, and 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. Class participation and the number of unexcused absences will be taken into account when considering borderline final grades.

Extra Credit: Some extra credit opportunities may be available on programming assignments and exams. If you are interested in extra credit, take advantage of these opportunities!

Coding Standards

Following reasonable conventions is important for readability of your code. The course coding standards specify the particular conventions you should use in this course. Points may be deducted if programs do not follow these standards.

Being Successful

Some tips:

  • Stay on top of things. This course covers a lot of material, and it is important to practice with the material right away - review your notes after class, work on assigned homework, and ask questions promptly if something isn't clear.

  • Budget your time carefully. Start assignments early, and plan to spend some time each day working on longer assignments - waiting until the night before something is due makes it more difficult to put in your best effort, and means that you may not have time to get help if you become stuck.

  • Get help when you need it. Spend time trying to solve problems yourself, but then don't hesitate to ask questions in class, stop by office hours, or send email.

Need Help?

If you are having trouble with the course material or get stuck on a problem you can't figure out how to solve, don't just ignore it! While some topics are relatively independent, other concepts will be important throughout the course. Skipping a difficult topic can make it harder to be successful with the next.

The most useful resource for this course is the instructor (during office hours, and dropping by or scheduling a meeting). This should be your first resource if you are having trouble with course material. For more general help, such as with writing, study skills, or time management, the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) also has resources to help you. See the CTL statement below.

Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL)

At Hobart and William Smith Colleges, we encourage you to learn collaboratively and to seek the resources that will enable you to succeed. The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is one of those resources: CTL programs and staff help you engage with your learning, accomplish the tasks before you, enhance your thinking and skills, and empower you to do your best. Resources at CTL are many: Study Mentors help you find your time and manage your responsibilities, Writing Fellows help you think well on paper, and professional staff help you assess academic needs.

I encourage you to explore these and other CTL resources designed to encourage your very best work. You can talk with me about these resources, visit the CTL office on the 2nd floor of the library to discuss options with the staff, or visit the CTL website.

The CTL resource most useful for this class is the Study Mentors program:

Study Mentors
The CTL resource especially valuable to students either just starting college OR adjusting to the demands of their choice of Major is the Study Mentors program. Study Mentors engage directly with each student in the process of adjusting to new academic demands: they help you find the time you need to engage with both your academic and co-curricular activities, accomplish the tasks in front of you, and enhance your reading and study time. Study Mentors may be especially important for those of you who are involved in many activities; work on or off campus; are studying for Teaching Certification, graduate school exams, or prepping for fellowships; or who have one or more unusually demanding courses on your schedule. To meet with a Study Mentor, one option is to go to the TutorTrac link provided on the CTL webpage and make an appointment. You can also contact Sam Vann at vann@hws.edu, or drop in at the CTL office on the 2nd floor of the library.

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