CS 561 - Written Critiques
You will write brief critical evaluations, so called critiques,
of some of the readings that we are to discuss in class
to prepare yourself for the class discussions.
Critiques are a short (typically one to
two pages long) writeup
of the day's reading, which will be due at the start of the class.
What is a critique.
The critique should not be a mere summary of the material.
a critique is typically
a short written description of the key contributions and
weaknesses of a paper, and why you think so.
should address several or possibly all
of the following:
what is the one most important point of the paper?
arguments for why the work is notable or novel or neither,
if the problem the paper tackles is important and or not,
- if the
proposed solution is potentially useful or not,
- are the assumptions clearly specified and are they
reasonable and practically valid,
- point out additional contexts where the same
or technology could be applied, relate the work to another
paper that you find during your literature search,
have the proposed ideas been evaluated in some form, how,
and how thorough is that evaluation,
a list of possible future research tasks to make the proposed
work even better, develop a different solution strategy,
or to drop some of the given assumptions, and so on.
In some cases,
I may pose a question or a problem for you to answer
in your critique related to the reading in order to help
you organize your thoughts. However, part of writing
a good critique is first for you to figure out what
are good questions to ask yourself about the reading,
then to explicitly pose your own questions,
and then answering them one by one.
What you need to do.
Critiques are a short (one or two pages long) writeup
of the day's reading.
They will be due at the start of the class in hardcopy.
However, you'll want to bring 2 copies so that you have
your critique in front of you during our discussion of
the material (it will serve as your cheat-sheet, if you will, to remind
you for your own thoughts).
Critiques may be worked on in a group of more than one student
attending the class;
in the sense of discussing the papers together
and together deciding what the main points of the
paper are, if you wish.
But everyone must write up and hand in their own critique,
which reflects their understanding of the reading.
First and foremost the critiques are for you, namely, for you to
prepare yourself for class discussions.
Hence, critiques may be worked on in a group of two or
more students; thus allowing you to
discuss the papers together already before class.
In fact, I highly encourage you to discuss the papers with
your student colleagues.
When you study the assigned reading, make a list
of the points you find particularly confusing, ambiguous,
interesting, controversial, etc., and make sure to
bring those up in class.
This could in some cases be part of your critique as well
(but don't make that the only content :).
In general, I will ask you for your input on the
points you wrote down so that you can discuss them
in class. Thus your critique and more should be in your "head",
as well as in paper on front of you when you arrive in class.
Grading of critiques.
All assigned critiques will be collected by the
instructor (to verify that you did them). However only
a subset of the critiques may actually be graded.
You will not know beforehand if or if not a
critique is graded; so to encourage you to do a quality job
on all of them :)
The grading scale will be:
- 0 (not handed in),
- check minus minus (a very weak effort),
- check minus (a minimal effort critic),
- check (demonstrates reasonable critical understanding of material),
- check plus (demonstrates excellent evaluation of material),
- check plus plus (very nice insights and independent critical thoughts).
In short, we have a range from 0 to 5.
No late critiques will be accepted - as we will
be discussing the material in class that very day.
Also, do see the note on plagerism, and refrain from for example
copying the abstract or summary from the paper
directly into your critique word for word.
Note: If you are the presenter of the given reading for
that day, then of cause you do not also need be preparing
a critic of the paper you are in charge of.
You instead will be preparing talk slides (see student presentations).