|CPSC 343||Database Theory and Practice||Fall 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 - 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!)
|Assignments and Evaluation||
This course introduces many new terms and concepts, including multiple languages and sets of notation. This means that it is important to do the readings, to prepare for class and actively practice the material, and to keep up rather than letting things slide.
Readings and Class Prep: Readings will typically be the first introduction to new material. Most readings will be in the form of course notes, so they will generally be fairly short but also quite terse. These readings will often be accompanied by several exercises. It is important to attempt these exercises in order to identify questions to be addressed in class. For other readings (such as tutorials or documentation), you should skim the material to get a sense of what information is there and what the key points are, then revisit particular details and examples as you need them. Readings and class prep exercises are to be completed for the class period where they are listed on the schedule page. Class prep exercises will be graded on a "reasonable effort made" basis and will be factored into the class participation grade.
Practice Problems and Homework: Learning new things and gaining new skills typically requires practice, not just reading about a topic or watching someone else do problems. Ungraded practice problems (with solutions) will be posted after most classes; it is your responsibility to try these problems and ask questions in class or office hours if you are having trouble or aren't sure about something. Graded homework problems will be assigned less often, typically at the end of a section or topic.
Project: A substantial course project involving the design and development of a database and application utilizing that database will provide a practical application for the course material. Work on the project will begin early in the semester; the timeline can be found on the schedule page. The project will normally be done in pairs.
Exams: There will be two midterm exams and a final. All three will be take-home exams. Dates for the exams are on the schedule page; more information about content will be announced closer to the exam dates.
Participation: "Participation" covers a number of aspects of engagement in the course: attendance, completion of assigned preparatory work (readings, class prep exercises), meaningful contributions to class, and pulling your weight on group assignments.
Grades: Grades in this course will be computed as follows:
|Neatness and Coding Standards||
Work turned in for this course is expected to be easily readable - it should be clear what answers go with which problems, and what those answers are. Unless otherwise specified, both (legibly) handwritten and typed work is acceptable.
The project will involve coding, either in HTML/PHP or Java. You are not required to adhere to a particular set of coding standards but following reasonable conventions for naming, capitalization, whitespace, and commenting is important for readability of your code and you should be consistent in the choices you make.
You are expected to attend and be on time for all class meetings, and to be present and engaged in the course material for the full class period. Announcements are made at the beginning of class, and late arrivals may miss important information.
Attendance is factored in to the participation grade, and more than a few unexcused absences (see the definition below) will negatively impact this grade. It is your responsibility to make sure that you sign the attendance sheet each day.
In addition, note that any absence, whether excused or not, means that you miss out on discussions and activities that take place in class. This puts a greater burden on you to catch up, and students who regularly miss class often end up not doing as well in the course.
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. (Note that providing a reason does not automatically make an absence excused - it must also be one of the reasons listed above.)
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||
No work will be accepted after the end of the Registrar-scheduled final exam time slot unless an incomplete has been granted.
Extensions for homework and the final project handin and extensions/rescheduling for exams will generally only be granted for the kinds of things that count as excused absences (see the definition under "Attendance" above), and only if a significant portion of the time allocated for the assignment is affected. 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.
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 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 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.
|Working Together and Academic Integrity||
The HWS Principle of Academic Integrity governs all of the work completed in this course. Specifically:
For all assignments, 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. Decompiling or reverse-engineering someone else's code (including provided code) is also prohibited.
Failure to acknowledge help received will generally result in a warning the first time, and point deductions for subsequent offenses. Submitting work which is unreasonably similar to another person's work and/or not being able to explain any 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.
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 lot of new material in this course, and at any point you will potentially have several active assignments: reading and class prep, practice problems, homework, and the project. Don't fall behind! It is important that you budget your time so that you can fit all of these things in and get them in on schedule.
The primary resources for this course are your group (for the project), other students in the course (when allowed), and the instructor - during lab, during office hours, and dropping by or scheduling a meeting outside of office hours.
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).
If you are a student with a disability for which you may need accommodations, you should self-identify, provide appropriate documentation of your disability, and register for services with the Coordinator of 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 Christen Davis, Coordinator of Disability Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or x3351.