I reserve the right to make minor modifications in the grading breakups. Any such changes will be announced in the class and posted on this web page. Grades will be determined as follows:
A primary goal of this course is to encourage discussion among the class members. Most ideas in systems are developed through such healthy discussions. Students are encouraged to ask questions, suggest new ideas, point out weaknesses and make general observations. Even though the questions are expected to be related to the topic, students will not be judged by the quality of questions that they ask.
To encourage class participation, I will randomly pick a student (using a lottery scheme) and ask their feedback. If you are absent when I pick your name, I consider that an unexcused absence. More than two unexcused absences will result in automatic administrative withdrawal from class.
This portion of your grade will be determined by evaluations of research papers for in-class discussion. The classes will be organized as follows: I will present few introductory lectures as a pre-requisite for further discussions on relevant research materials.
To ensure interactive class sessions and to test for understanding of the material, students are required to read and evaluate papers in the reading list in advance of each class session. An important research skill is the critical reading of related research papers. For each paper, students will submit a 3 sentence evaluation (1/2 page maximum): listing
Clearly, you may have changed your mind by the end of the class discussion; that's OK (and even expected). Evaluations should be entered online, by clicking on the button next to the paper listed for each lecture. Before entering your first evaluation, you will need to register with the system here.
The evaluations will be graded as follows. Each evaluation will receive a score on a 0-3 scale (3 being excellent). The default grade will be a 2. Grading will start off relatively easy but will become progressively harder as the semester progresses. You can skip up to 1/3 of the papers and still receive maximum credit for paper reviews if your evaluation of the other papers is satisfactory. Late homework will not receive credit for any reason. The homework summaries should reflect your understanding of the paper. It is not acceptable to turn in a summary if you have not made an honest effort to read the paper. It is not acceptable to quote verbatim from the paper itself. I reserve the right to ask you to eloborate on your written feedback in class.
We will have three individual, home work projects that will usually take four weeks to complete. These project will emphasize actual implementations of ideas that we learn in class. Each project is due before the beginning of class on the due date. The projects shall be turned in electronically. All the programs should contain a README file describing the programs and special instructions on how to compile and run the program. The programs should compile without any assistance. MAKE SURE THAT YOUR PROGRAM WORKS PROPERLY BEFORE YOU SUBMIT IT. No credit will be given for programs that fail to compile/run. Late submissions will not be graded (late even by a second!!).
There will be a open-book, in-class mid term and final exam.
We will have two take home assignments; mid point between the midterm and final exams. These assignments are designed to help you prepare for the midterm and final exam. You may have to perform experiments to answer some of the questions.
A major portion of this course grade will consist of a term research project culminated by a public presentation and research report. At the end of the course, I will meet each student individually for an oral exam, covering topics that we have learnt in the course as well as detailed specifics of your project. More details on the course project are available here
In general, I will only re-evaluate your homework/assignment/midterm/final grades for arithmetic errors, omissions etc. only. If you disagree with any partial credits, the foot ball penalty principle applies. You have to give me your work, along with a written statement on why you think you deserve better grades on the work that you had turned in originally and how much extra grade that you think you are deserved. I will evaluate your appeal. If I agree with you, I will update your scores. On the other hand, if I disagree with you, I will take away the grades that you had asked for. For example, for a question that was worth 10 points, if I had given you 6 points and you think you deserve 8 points, after a re-evaluation, if I agree that you deserve extra credits; you could get upto 8 points. If I disagree with you, I will downgrade your grade to 4 points. In general, re-evaluations are not encouraged.
This principle (which applies throughout this course) simply states that a reasonable request made in a reasonable fashion shall be reasonably handled by reasonable persons. The TAs and instructor are reasonable people, and we expect that everyone else involved in this class is as well. Asking to be a special case to turn stuff in late is not a reasonable request, barring extreme circumstances. In general, I do not accept late submissions (even if you are late by a second). For home work submissions, I will use on blah.nd.edu as the reference clock. Please contact me regarding unforeseen emergencies.
Collaboration is a very good thing. Students are encouraged to work together and some programming projects will require a team effort with everyone expected to contribute.
On the other hand, cheating is considered a very serious offense. Please don't do it! Concern about cheating creates an unpleasant environment for everyone.
So how do you draw the line between collaboration and cheating? Here's a reasonable set of ground-rules. Failure to understand and follow these rules will constitute cheating, and will be dealt with as per university guidelines.
This rule says that you are free to meet with fellow students(s) and discuss assignments with them. Writing on a board or shared piece of paper is acceptable during the meeting; however, you may not take any written (electronic or otherwise) record away from the meeting. This applies when the assignment is supposed to be an individual effort. After the meeting, engage in a half hour of mind-numbing activity (like watching an episode of Gilligan's Island), before starting to work on the assignment. This will assure that you are able to reconstruct what you learned from the meeting, by yourself, using your own brain.
To assure that all collaboration is on the level, you must always write the name(s) of your collaborators on your assignment. Failure to adequately acknowledge your contributors is at best a lapse of professional etiquette, and at worst it is plagiarism. Plagiarism is a form of cheating.
In intra-team collaboration where the group, as a whole, produces a single "product", each member of the team must actively contribute. Members of the group have the responsibility (1) to not tolerate anyone who is putting forth no effort (being a sponge) and (2) to not let anyone who is making a good faith effort "fall through a crack" (to help weaker team members come up to speed so they can contribute). We want to know about dysfunctional group situations as early as possible. To encourage everyone to participate fully, we make sure that every student is given an opportunity to explain and justify their group's approach.