I will not hand out letter grades during the course, just points. Your final grade will be determined by the total points you earn, weighted as shown above, and converted to a letter using this scale:
For the actual formulas used to calculate grades, see the Grade Calculator.
When assigning your final grade, I will strictly enforce the grading scale. For example, if you earn 91.99%, you will get a B. If you feel you should have gotten the higher grade, then you should have done better-than-borderline work.
I will record your grades for the homework assignments, midterm exam, final exam, and programming project, as well as your final letter grade, in a grade file. Each student will have his or her own grade file. Each grade file will be encrypted with a different secret key for each student. The encrypted grade files will be posted on the course web site. Since no one can decrypt the grade file without the secret key, your personal grade information remains confidential despite being posted on the web site.
To decrypt your grade file, you will have to obtain the secret key from me, in person. Come to my office, show me your student ID, and I will give you your secret key. It is your responsibility to safeguard your secret key. If anyone else discovers what your secret key is, they will be able to decrypt and examine your grade file. Treat your secret key as you would your student ID, driver's license, or credit card. If you lose your secret key or suspect someone else has discovered it, see me, in person, to get a new secret key.
When I have finished grading each assignment, I will post an announcement on the What's New page that the grades are available.
For further information, see Encrypted Grades.
There will be one non-graded homework assignment for Module 1. There will be eight graded homework assignments, one each for Module 2 through Module 9. Each homework assignment will consist of problems taken from the textbook chapters for each module, or similar problems. Each homework will be assigned one week before the date when each module starts.
The purpose of the homework assignments is to help you teach yourself the textbook material and prepare for the class sessions. The class sessions will be devoted mainly to answering questions that came up as you studied the textbook and to working out the answers to the homework problems. Consequently, each homework assignment will be turned in for grading before class sessions start for the corresponding module. However, the criterion for grading the homework is not whether you got the right answer for each problem but whether you made a reasonable attempt to solve each problem. In other words, there is no penalty for getting the wrong answer on a homework problem, only for not attempting to solve a homework problem.
You will turn in each homework assignment by sending me a PDF file as an email attachment. I will not accept submissions on paper, and I will not accept other kinds of files. You may use any word processing software you wish to produce the PDF file. However, I encourage you to use LaTeX because of its ability to do mathematical notation.
Each homework assignment will be due at 6:00pm on the date when the corresponding module starts as shown on the Course Schedule. The date and time at which your PDF file arrives at my email inbox determines whether the assignment is on time. After I receive your email message, I will send you an email message confirming that I received your assignment. (The confirmation process is not automated, so you may not receive the confirmation message immediately.)
Grading: Each homework problem will be graded pass or fail (1 or 0). If I can tell from your writeup that you made a reasonable attempt to solve the problem, the problem will get 1 point, otherwise the problem will get 0 points. When computing your final grade, I will eliminate the two lowest-scoring homework assignments and use just the six highest-scoring homework assignments. Each of these six will be weighted by 3.33% for a total weight of 20%.
Late homework assignments: I will not accept a late homework assignment. If you do not turn in a homework assignment by 6:00pm on the deadline date, it will receive a grade of zero. There will be no extensions for homework assignments.
Plagiarism: Each homework assignment must be entirely your own work. I will not tolerate plagiarism. If in my judgment a homework assignment is not entirely your own work, you will automatically fail the course.
Solutions: Solutions for each homework assignment will be posted on the course web site after all students have submitted their writeups. Accessing the solutions requires authentication with a specific username and password. (This is not the same as your Computer Science Department account, and this is not the same as the secret key for decrypting your grade file.) The username and password will be announced in class and will also be listed in your grade file. Please observe the following restrictions:
There will be a one-hour midterm exam in class on the date shown on the Course Schedule. The midterm exam will be open book, open notes, and will cover Modules 1 through 5. The midterm exam may involve numerical calculations; be sure to bring a calculator.
Absences: If you are absent from class on the date of the midterm exam, your midterm exam will receive a grade of zero unless on or before the date of the midterm exam you arrange with me to take the midterm exam at another time. I am normally willing to permit this only for absences due to illness or unforeseen personal emergency. However, if you feel you have a valid reason for your absence, please discuss it with me.
There will be a two-hour final exam during the Institute examination period, at a date and time to be announced. The final exam will be open book, open notes. The final exam will cover material from the entire course. The final exam may involve numerical calculations; be sure to bring a calculator.
I will not hand back the final exam. To see how you did on the final exam, you may visit me in my office.
Absences: If you are absent from the final exam, your final exam will receive a grade of zero unless on or before the date of the final exam you arrange with me to take the final exam at another time. I am normally willing to permit this only for exam scheduling conflicts or for absences due to illness or unforeseen personal emergency. However, if you feel you have a valid reason for your absence, please discuss it with me.
There will be one programming project to be written in Java. The project will be assigned on the date shown in the Course Schedule. The project will be due at 11:59pm on the date shown in the Course Schedule. The project will be submitted via email. The date and time at which your email message arrives in my inbox will determine whether the project meets the deadline. Details of the project, including submission requirements, will be provided when the project is assigned.
Late projects: I will not accept a late project unless you arrange with me for an extension. See below for my policy on extensions. Late projects will receive a grade of zero.
Plagiarism: The project must be entirely your own work. I will not tolerate plagiarism. If in my judgment the project is not entirely your own work, you will automatically fail the course. There are only two exceptions:
The rules for extensions are:
|If you request an extension:||You will receive an extension of:|
|3 days before the deadline date||3 days|
|2 days before the deadline date||2 days|
|1 day before the deadline date||1 day|
|On the deadline date||1 day|
The intent of this policy is not to give everyone an automatic 3-day extension for the programming project. The intent of this policy is to accommodate students who plan and work ahead on the project but experience an unforeseen last-minute difficulty, and to penalize students who do not plan and work ahead. If you put off working on the project and get sick or suffer a computer breakdown at the last minute, I am not going to give you more time than stated above. You should have been working ahead so you would have been finished before the last minute.