There will be seven homework assignments (done in pairs), an individual project, and two exams. Assignments will be posted on the assignments page as they become available (roughly one per week). Assignments will be due Thursdays at 11:59pm (except for the last one, which will be due on a Tuesday). Late assignments will not be accepted (full policy below).
Course grades will be computed according to the following rules:
You must take both exams and earn a passing average on the exams and the individual project (combined) in order to pass the course. We will compute this average using the same relative weights as for computing final grades (see next bullet).
If you have completed and earned a passing average on the exams and project, your final grade will be based on the following weights:
We expect you to spend roughly 12-17 hours a week on this course outside of lectures. A few students will handle the course in less time, but most of you will need a minimum of 15 hours a week to keep up with lectures and the assignments. If you're not spending this much time and not doing well, you need to spend more time practicing the course material. If you're spending much more time than this and still not doing well, come see us so we can figure out why.
We expect you to come to office hours (professor or the TA/SA's). As you work through an open-ended assignment, you'll encounter two kinds of questions: technical questions (how do I do X?) and process questions (how do I approach X?). We can answer easy technical questions on the discussion board. Deeper technical questions and process questions don't have simple answers, and we need to work on those questions in person. If you ask such a question on the discussion board, we will ask you to come in to office hours.
We expect you to treat your classmates and the course staff with respect. Respect your homework partner by responding to her/his email, showing up to meetings or canceling them in advance, and doing whatever work you agree to do for the pair. Be courteous on the discussion board (constructive criticism is encouraged, but no name calling, etc). If an assignment is unclear to you, ask us for a clarification rather than assume we're purposefully trying to make your life miserable.
Of course, if you are having a problem with your homework partner or a member of the course staff, please let the professor know. If your problem is with the professor, talk to the dept head, Prof. Craig Wills.
Make-up exams will only be allowed in the event of a documented emergency or religious observance. The two exam dates are listed on the syllabus. You are responsible for avoiding conflicts with the exams. Do not plan to leave campus for the term before the final exam.
Late assignments will not be accepted without prior consent of the professor (the TAs are not allowed to grant extensions). Extensions will be granted only in the event of unforseen and documentable emergencies, or extenuating circumstances that you discuss with a professor well in advance. One pair member forgetting to turn in an assignment will not be considered an acceptable excuse for an extension.
Collaboration is prohibited on exams and the project. Collaboration is encouraged on homework assignments and labs. You may discuss problems across pairs, but each pair is responsible for writing up their own solution from scratch.
Violations of the collaboration policy on any assignment or exam will result in an NR for the course and a referral to the Student Life Office, in accordance with WPI's academic honesty policy. Exceptions to this rule are possible only if you admit your violation to a professor before we detect the violation (this gives you a chance to pass the course if, for example, you cheated in desparation the night an assignment was due, then felt guilty about it in the morning). If we detect the violation before you admit to it, no exception to the NR policy will occur. Egregious violations (such as breaking into another student's account to copy a solution) may still earn an NR even if you admit to them. You can safely assume that we will not begin grading an assignment before noon on the calendar day after the assignment is due.
As examples, each of the following scenarios would constitute cheating (this list is not exhaustive!):
In constrast, the following scenarios would not constitute cheating:
If you are unsure whether an activity would constitute cheating, ask a professor.
Students requiring accommodation on exams or assignments due to disabilities must speak with the professor at the start of the term (and at least one week before the assignment due date or exam in question) to work out appropriate arrangements. Such arrangements require documentation from the Disability Services Office (DSO). Students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodations in this class should contact the DSO (Daniels Hall, (508) 831-5235) to initiate the necessary paperwork.
Students requiring accommodation for religious observance must make alternate arrangements with the professor at least a week before the date in question.
In the event of a medical or family emergency, talk to the professor to work out appropriate accommodations.