Mary Eberlein, Ph.D.
office: GDC 6.314
email: eberlein at cs.utexas.edu
Office Hours: M 2:30-4 in GDC 6.302, or by appointment (email me some times that work for you)
Course web page: http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~eberlein/cs301k/
Textbook and other materials
Required text: How to Prove It, by Daniel Velleman, Cambridge University Press, 2006 (2nd edition)
Class notes are posted on the course webpage - click the "schedule" link on the main webpage.
other topics as time allows
I think we all wish that we could have courses without grades. You hate worrying about grades. I hate having to assign grades. But grades are essential to insuring that your degree has the value that it deserves. So we have a grading system and that system has to have two essential properties:
-It has to be fair to everyone in the class.
-It has to be a true measure of how much each student knows about the class material.
The system I will use in this class will assign grades as follows:
Exams (Feb 27, Apr 10, final exam slot) (all cumulative, 20%, 20%, 35%)
Homework assignments 15%
The standard letter grade cutoffs will be applied, i.e., 90 - 100 % is an A, 80 - 89 % is a B, etc., with +/- used as deemed appropriate by the instructor. It is possible that these cutoffs may be lowered, but don't count on it.
The exam dates given above are tentative and may be
No late assignments will be accepted. Homework assignments are
due at the beginning of class on the due date. Quizzes may or may
not be announced in advance, and the lowest quiz grade will be
dropped. Because the lowest quiz grade is dropped, no late or
makeup quizzes will be given. There will be no makeup midterm
exams unless it coincides with one of your other classes, and a
missed test without a written, verifiable emergency, medical,
religious, or participation in a varsity sporting event excuse
provided to the instructor will count as a zero. Emergency excuses
can be provided after the test. All other excuses must be provided
one week before the test. With such an excuse a midterm exam grade
will be replaced by your final exam grade. With such an excuse a
makeup final exam will be given.
In order for this grading system to work fairly for everyone, we
need a few additional ground rules:
(1) Assigned grades are not the starting point of a negotiation. This isn't a weekend bazaar. Unless we have made a specific mistake in grading your work (i.e., you have a correct answer that was marked wrong or your score was added incorrectly), your grade is final.
(2) If we have made a mistake, then you must submit a description of the problem in writing in email to the TA within one week after we return the graded work to the class. All evidence and supporting arguments must be included in this email, and the assignment, quiz or exam must be promptly returned to the grader. All grade disputes will result in the entire test, quiz or assignment being regraded. Note that mistakes in grading can work against you or in your favor, so regrading may result in a higher or lower grade.
Note that none of the following grade discussions is appropriate:
(1) "I know my answer was wrong, but I deserve more partial credit points." When we grade, we make decisions about how many points to give for various kinds of wrong answers. This is never a clear cut decision. The important thing is that we make some decision and then implement it fairly for everyone. It is completely unfair to come back later and give one person more points just because they ask. We won't do it.
(2) "I don't like my final grade. It will ruin my life for the following reason: ... Therefore you should give me a better one." Class grades reflect only one thing: how well you did in the class. Life circumstances just don't play a role here. Don't come to me with this kind of argument.
(3) "I don't like my final grade. I am desperate. Isn't there some sort of extra credit thing I could do?" Any answer other than "No" to this question would be completely unfair to other students in the class unless they were all offered this option. That would be equivalent to saying that the semester isn't over and everyone can keep trying. We're not going to do this. Final grades are final.
(4) "I don't like my final grade. Can I have an incomplete and try again?" There are University rules for giving incompletes. If you meet those rules (e.g., you had a medical problem during the semester), then, of course, come and tell me and ask for an incomplete. But make sure you do it as soon as you can. Do not wait until the semester is over. If you do not meet the rules, the answer is "No".
(5) "I don't like my final grade. It doesn't reflect what I really know. I guess I didn't show what I know on the exams, but won't you give me a chance to convince you that I really know this stuff." Again, any answer other than "No" would be unfair to everyone else.
Some of the comments above are based on the computer science
Please organize yourselves into study groups of 3-5 students who will meet once a week to discuss the course material. One member of each group should email the group members' names and your meeting location and time to your TA by the fourth class meeting.
We follow the University's standard policies on academic honesty. They will be rigorously enforced. Cheating will result in action commensurate with the policies stated in the University's Manual on Academic Honesty. At the very least cheating will lead to an automatic F in the class and a referral of the case to the Dean of Students Office. Additional penalties, including suspension or expulsion from the University, may be imposed by that office. You are expected to do all work individually unless explicit permission for group work is given.
Every piece of work that you
submit with your name on it must be yours and yours alone.
Students may not acquire from any source (e.g., another student or
an internet site) a partial or complete solution to a problem that
has been assigned. You may discuss approaches to problems with
other students, but you have crossed
the line into cheating if you are looking at another
student's solution or solutions from any other source. Discuss the
approach, but write up the solution on your own.
Students with Disabilities
The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic accomodations for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 471-6259, 471-4641 TTY.