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 print the Course Contract, sign it, date it, and turn it to enter your first lab session (2501); you may not enter the lab without a signed contract. Your signature acknowledges that you have read these notes and understood the contract between you and the course staff. We promise: As long as you will live up to its spirit, we will stand by you during this semester.
The course comes with several lab sections. The labs start the first full week of class, on Sept. 12.
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 (v6.9), 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 typically be two assignments per week. The usual schedule is this:
Due Mondays: you will hand in a test suite for your code. This means you will write detailed tests which explain what your code should do when you actually write it.
Due Tuesdays: in some weeks, you will review another student’s submission, reading their tests to determine whether they are thorough and correct. After completing Tuesday’s assignment you will not be able to resubmit to Monday’s assignment (see Late Policy below).
Due Thursdays: you will submit the full code for the assignment.
This is the basic schedule but may vary from week to week, especially in the beginning of the semester.
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 allow you to turn in your work 1 day
late, with a 50% lateness deduction. This is exactly a 24 hour grace
period: the submission server will prevent any further submission even
24-hours-and-one-second late —
Because Tuesday’s peer-review assignments might give away some feedback that might help you improve your Monday submission, you are prohibited from resubmitting (even late!) to Monday’s submission once you’ve started Tuesday’s submission, and the hand-in server will prevent you from doing so.
You must work on your graded problem sets in assigned pairs (Note: pair, not triple or with my friends). Your partner will be a classmate in the same lab as you; your lab TA will assign you the first partner. We will switch partners twice (see syllabus).
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.
This semester, we’re trying a new assignment format: on Tuesdays, you will be asked to review other students’ homework. This has several benefits, and several potential pitfalls, and is worth a longer description. Please read that carefully!
10/05 @ 6:00-9:00pm ; the rooms for this exam are WVF 020, ISEC 102, RI 200, SN 108, SN 168
11/16 @ 6:00-9:00pm ; the rooms for this exam are WVF 020, ISEC 102, RI 200, SN 108, SN 168
The exams will test material similar to that assigned in weekly problem sets. If you can solve every homework problem on your own, the exams will be easy. If not, you will have a difficult time.
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 may have noticed the discrepancy between "one-hour" and the actual times. The exam is a one-hour exam. A student who has worked through the readings and graded problems can solve the problems on the exam in less than an hour. To make sure that nobody feels rushed, however, we allocate three hours immediately for students with special needs as well as students who feel they need time on the exam to double and triple check their work.