Grading Scheme

Grade components:
Students are expected to complete and submit all assigned coursework in good faith; those who fail to do so will earn a failing grade, regardless of overall numerical score.

component % of grade
class participation 5
newsgroup activities 15
quick checks 5
classroom exercises 5
portfolio presentations 5
homeworks 25
two quizzes (short exams) 8
two midterm exams 16
final exam 16
Class participation:
Students are expected to contribute to learning by asking questions and making relevant comments in class and on the class newsgroup. Quality is more important than quantity. Disruptive activity contributes negatively. See policies below.
Newsgroup activities
Discussions on the class newsgroup are an important mode of learning. To encourage everyone to participate actively in these discussions, there is a portion of the grade assigned to how well, and how often, students participate on the newsgroup. Details of how newsgroup activity is scored will be described in class. Briefly, students’ scores will reflect the number and regularity of their messages, the significance of the observations they make (including questions), and the initiative and self-directed learning they reflect.
Quick checks:
In order to encourage everyone to keep up with reading the textbook and other assigned work, there will be a number of very short (under five minutes) tests. Quick checks are closed book (and notes, etc.), unlike exams and quizzes (below).
Classroom exercises:
Our work in the classroom will include a number of short group exercises, meant to solidify understanding of the concepts being discussed. One or more such exercises are likely to be part of most class meetings. The exercises will be graded primarily for effort, group work, and other contributions, and less so for simple correctness.
Portfolio presentations:
The portfolio portion of the grade is intended to encourage reflection and discussions on the learning process of individuals and groups. The portfolio consists of a learning journal (see below), class work and home work samples, and other artifacts that demonstrate student progress. There will be two in-class presentations of student portfolios, in a poster-session format.

Students should maintain a journal of their progress through the course, noting things such as material learned, difficulties encountered, successes and problems in resolving these difficulties, and plans for improvement.

Homeworks include programming and non-programming ones, often mixed. No collaboration is permitted. Everyone is encouraged to discuss the problems and solution strategies at a high level, but the final solution and details must be individual work. If the boundary between permissible and non-permissible interactions is unclear, please ask for clarifications.
Exams and Quizzes:
All exams and quizzes (but not quick checks, noted above) are open book, open notes. You are free to bring with you any resources that you find useful. However, no communications are permitted other than between students and me. The use of computers during exams is strongly discouraged, but brief use may be permitted provided it does not cause a disturbance, at the discretion of the proctor. You may use the Internet, but only as a library to look up material you may find useful. Ask for clarifications in case of any doubt. The exams are designed to require no equipment other than a pen and paper, along with the textbook and assigned readings.

Midterm exams will be held during regular class meetings, and will be roughly an hour long. Each quiz is a short exam, roughly half an hour long, held during part of a class meeting. The final exam follows the usual university schedule, and is thus held outside of regular class meeting times, and often at a different location.