Online Learning

COVID-19 has exposed us to many challenges, including how to offer excellent learning opportunities while remaining safe. To help students practicing social distancing and facilitate access to students in different geographical locations and time zones, we will not require lecture attendance in a physical classroom. Instead, CS 357 will be offered completely online in Fall 2020.

All lectures will be pre-recorded (asynchronous lectures). These pre-recorded videos replace the "traditional synchronous face-to-face" lectures. We will post the videos weekly on MediaSpace, with links also provided on the resources page (where you can find the corresponding class notes and slides). You will be able to earn extra points when watching these videos, either individually or with your peers (see details on the next section).

Side note: You can access the Spring 2020 collection of videos. The content is the same, but recorded following a "lecture" format. We encourage students to use the videos created for the Fall 2020 semester, but we are providing this link as additional resource.

There are two sections of this course: section M does NOT have synchronous meetings at the designated registrar time (TuTh at 9:30am Central Time), and section N will have one weekly synchronous online meeting (via Zoom) at the designated lecture time on Tuesdays at 12:30pm Central Time. We will use the other "lecture slots" for open office hours, additional group work time and quizzes. Check the schedule page for quiz dates and contact page for office hours schedule.

Attendance will be required to students registered in the synchronous Section N (12:30pm Central Time). Students that are not planning to attend lecture should register in Section M (9:30am Central Time). You don't need to worry about maximum capacity in either section, we will be providing overrides for students to move from one section to the other during the first two weeks of classes. We will also provide time-conflict overrides if needed.

EXCEPTION! We will have two Zoom meetings on the first day of classes, August 25 at 9:30am and 12:30pm.

Make sure to read carefully this entire page before deciding which section is the best fit for you.

Lecture Activity

You will be able to earn extra points by completing the "Lecture Activity" in PrairieLearn. These assessments will include the lecture videos that are available on MediaSpace, with a couple of short questions after each video. You will be able to complete these assessments individually, or you can invite other classmates to complete the assessment with you (up to 4 students can join). We hope this will give you an opportunity to interact with your peers as you learn the material together.

Group Activity

We want to continue providing students with the opportunity to interact and collaborate with their peers. In previous versions of this course, students completed class activities during lecture. In Fall 2020, students will complete these group activities either remotely or in person, during the designated class time, or at a time of their convenience.

Students will be placed in groups of 3-4, and they will work together to complete an assignment delivered using a combination of PrairieLearn and Jupyter notebooks. Each weekly assignment is worth 8 points, and every member of the group receives the same grade. Students that don't participate in the activity will not receive the grade received by the other members of the group.

Students registered in Section N (registrar time is 12:30pm)

This class will meet via Zoom once a week at 12:30pm. During class, groups will be assigned to Zoom breakout rooms, where students will work together to complete the group activity. Course staff will be rotating between breakout rooms, checking in and providing guidance if needed. Attendance is required -- students need to be connected to the Zoom video conference to get points for the group activity.

Students registered in Section M (registrar time is 9:30am)

This class will not have an assigned meeting time. Student groups will need to complete the activity at a time of their choice. They can choose to interact remotely (e.g. messaging systems or video conference) or they can meet in person with safe social distancing. The weekly activity will be available over a 24 hour period. Help to these "outside" of classroom activities will be provided via office hours (check office hours schedule).

Group formation

The figure below illustrate how we will setup the schedule for the work activity. On a given week, the group assessment will become available at 12:00:01am on Tuesday and close at 11:59:59pm on the same day.

Students from Section N will be randomly assigned to groups before the first week of classes. However, students must only open the assessment during lecture time, since attendance is required (see above). Groups will be assigned to Zoom breakout rooms, where students will collaborate to solve the given activity.

Students from Section M will complete a survey selecting the time in which they want to complete the group activity. We will assign students to groups using their preferred time slots. Students must only open the assessment during their assigned group time. Each group will decide how to interact in order to complete the activity. To get the points, students will need to be connected to PrairieLearn at their designated time. However, groups can choose to communicate via Zoom, chat messaging systems, phones, or meet in person following safety guidelines.

The groups will be assigned during the first week of classes, and will remain fixed until the end of the semester. In case changes are needed, students should contact course staff using private message on CampusWire. We may consider making new groups in the middle of the semester.

Students can choose only 1 friend/partner to be part of their groups by filling the group survey form. If students A and B want to be in the same group they should do one of the following options:

1) Student A can submit the sign up form with B’s netid and student B doesn’t need to sign up at all. (Ideal case)

2) Student A and B both submit the sign up form - in this case they have to ensure that they have each others netids on the form and must select the same time (if they are in section M).

Any other Permutation or Combination (eg. triangle or squares) will result in the involved netids being signed up individually in the pool for random selection of groups rather than as a pair.

Students in section M (9:30am) that do not complete the form will be automatically assigned to the 9:30am slot (official lecture time).

If all students from a group agree, they can meet at a different time as the one assigned initially.

You must submit your time and partner choices before Wednesday, Aug 26 at noon.