How am I going to get an A in this course?
As of today, you are learning for life, not for exams.
College is your last chance to learn how to learn by yourself, without pressure from parents, teachers, or peers. You want to learn that, because the quality of your life depends on it. Your life. Nothing more, nothing less.
Naturally, we understand that you want some feedback, both in terms of specific corrections and in terms of a grade. You want feedback so that you can improve your learning process. And we will give you that feedback. It is our end of the bargain. Your end is to demonstrate that you actually study the methods we teach so that they become second nature. After all, you don’t want to waste your time, and we don’t want to waste ours either.
So, if you wish to earn a grade in this course, you must complete the Course Contract, in the Handin Server in your first lab session (2501); you should not leave the lab without having signed a contract. Your signature acknowledges that you have read these notes and understood the contract between you and the course staff. Promise As long as you will live up to its spirit, we will stand by you during this semester.
Professor Razzaq’s office hours will be held in Nightingale 132C on Mondays 3:30-5:00 and Tuesdays 3:30-5:00 and by appointment.
The course comes with two lab sections. The labs start the first week of class.
You signed up for a lab section during registration. You must attend the lab section you signed up for.
The purpose of labs is to give you some hands-on experience with the actual tools, and to explain some of the principles from lecture with hands-on examples.
We will use DrRacket (v6.12), a programming environment for a family of programming languages. For Fundamentals I, we will stick to the HtDP teaching languages plus a small number of teachpacks. DrRacket is installed on the CCS computers.We urge you to download DrRacket to your own computer so that you can work on CS 2500 wherever, whenever you like. It is also freely available on the web in case you wish install it on your own computer.
DrRacket runs on most popular platforms (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and other *nixes). Programs written in the teaching languages have mostly the same behavior on all platforms. You therefore do not need to worry what kind of machine you use when you run your programs.
The purpose of the problem sets is to prepare you for the exam. There will be 1-2 assignments per week.
Late policy: Falling behind on homework is never a good idea: the course presents new material every day, making catching up harder and harder. Additionally, in weeks that you are completing code reviews, your homework must be submitted on time in order for someone else to review it on time.
However, we know that your time is not always easily scheduled, and some weeks, “stuff happens.” We will therefore allow you to turn in your work up to 20 hours after the deadline at a 5% per hour penalty. The handin server will prevent any further submission even 20-hours-and-one-second late, so it’s not worth trying to sneak in a submission in those last few seconds.
You must work on some graded problem sets in assigned pairs. Your partner will be signed up for the same lab as you; your lab TA will assign you the first partner. We will switch partners once or twice.
Pair programming means that you and your partner work on the problem sets jointly. You read them together and you work on the solutions together. One of the lab’s purposes is to teach you how to work in pairs effectively; indeed, pairs are provably more effective than individuals in programming. The rough idea is this: One of you plays pilot, the other co-pilot. The pilot works on the keyboard and explains aloud what is going on; it is the co-pilot’s responsibility to question things that do not make sense. After a problem is solved to the satisfaction of both, you must switch roles.
We will have two exams to assess your progress.
Thursday, May 30th in class (9:50-11:30am)
Wednesday, June 19th in class (9:50-11:30am)
The exams will test material similar to that assigned in weekly problem sets. If you cannot solve every homework problem on your own, you will have a difficult time on the exams.
You may bring one piece of paper to the exam, double sided, with anything written (or typed) on it that you want. We are limiting you in this way because (a) writing this one sheet of paper is an excellent way to study and (b) we have found that in the past, the more papers that students bring to the exam, the worse they do. We want you to focus on the exam, not on shuffling through everything you’ve ever written.
You can use the handin server to see the current weights of each assignment, and your approximate grade in the course so far. The exact weights of assignments, quizzes and exams may change during the semester, depending on exactly how many of each we have. We will let you know when we update these weights, and will try to keep it as infrequent as possible.