Our Expectations

  • We expect you to keep up with the InstructAssist discussion forum. You are responsible for knowing about all announcements and assignment clarifications (we assume you will check the forum daily). You can subscribe to the forums to get messages sent to your email.

  • We expect you to spend roughly 12-15 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 12 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 (prof's 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 forum. 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 forum, we will ask you to come in to office hours.

  • We expect you to turn off electronic devices during lecture, with the exception of using a laptop for taking notes, if you wish. Your devices and screens are often distracting to students sitting around you, and disengage you from classroom activities. Please respect your classmates and turn off your devices at the start of class.

  • 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 forum (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 talk to Professor Fisler. If your problem is with Professor Fisler, talk to the CS dept head, Professor Wills.


We have a diverse course population, whether you look at nationality, race, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic, academic challenges, or other dimensions. We want the culture of this course, including its staff, to be supportive of all of you. But that doesn't mean that we see what you see or experience in the many angles of this course.

If aspects of this course (or the CS department) are making you uncomfortable -- not intellectual discomfort about technical concepts, but personal discomfort -- please talk to Professor Fisler. Send email or make an appointment. If you aren't comfortable talking to her directly, contact your advisor, a trusted staff member, or the CS department head (Professor Wills). She promises a respectful conversation and action as appropriate. But please tell me. I have zero-tolerance for discrimination and/or harrassment within my courses.

And of course, the core message extends to how you interact with your classmates. Please treat each others professionally and with decency.

Make-up Exams

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 Homework

In general, late assignments are not accepted. If an emergency arises or you know in advance about a conflict, contact Professor Fisler to arrange an extension (the TAs/SAs cannot give extensions). One pair member forgetting to turn in an assignment will not be considered an acceptable excuse for an extension.

Academic Dishonesty

Collaboration is prohibited on exams and quizzes. 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 Professor Fisler 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!):

  • Two different homework pairs share a solution to a single assignment question.
  • Students from different homework pairs sit side-by-side while writing up their solutions and one student copies down what the other student types up.
  • You ask a classmate to explain part of a quiz question to you.
  • You send the code for a completed homework question to a friend in another homework pair "just so he can look at it to figure out how to do the problem".
  • You obtain a solution to a homework problem (or similar problem) from on-line or from someone who took the course in a previous term.
  • You leave your work in unprotected directories or services (including github) where other students can find them.

In constrast, the following scenarios would not constitute cheating:

  • Students from two different homework pairs discuss a pair-assignment (its goal, what it is asking you to do, what the challenging parts are, or how to approach the problem).
  • You ask any member of the course staff (professor, TAs, SAs, or MASH leaders) for help in understanding or completing an individual assignment.
  • Students from the same homework pair share code to a solution.
  • Students from one homework pair show their code to a student from a different pair and ask for help in understanding why their code is wrong. (This would become cheating if the non-pair student provided or dictated a reasonable amount of the solution to the original pair).

If you are unsure whether an activity would constitute cheating, ask one of the staff.

Special Needs or Disabilities

Students requiring accommodation due to disabilities must speak with Professor Fisler at the start of the term (and at least one week before the due date in question) to work out appropriate arrangements. Such arrangements require documentation from the Office of Disability Services (ODS). Students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodations in this class should contact the ODS (124 Daniels Hall, (508) 831-4908) to initiate the necessary paperwork.

Religious Observance

Students requiring accommodation for religious observance must make alternate arrangements with Professor Fisler at least a week before the date in question.

Personal Emergencies

In the event of a medical or family emergency, contact Professor Fisler to work out accommodations.