Course format: online and in-person

There are two sections of CS 357:

• Section M: Online, TR 2pm - 3:15pm

• Section N: In-person, TR 12:30pm - 1:45pm, CIF 0035

Students registered in either section will have to complete the SAME assessments via PrairieLearn: homework, quizzes, group activities, machine problems. All lecture content will be delivered via pre-recorded videos. There will be no difference regarding course material or evaluation between these two sections.

The scheduling and location of the weekly group activities and bi-weekly quizzes will be different between the two sections:

• Section N: students will complete the group assessment in the classroom, during lecture time on Tuesdays. Classroom attendance is required. All students in this section will take the bi-weekly quizzes on Thursdays 12:30pm-1:30pm. The class will be split between two groups, with half the students taking the quiz from the classroom, and the other half taking the quiz online with Zoom proctoring. The groups will alternate between both formats. This section will meet online via Zoom during the first two weeks.

• Section M: student groups will complete the group assessment on Tuesdays at their selected time and location. There will be some pre-defined slots, including the lecture slot from 2-3:15pm, in which we will have course staff running Zoom meetings for assistance. All students in this section will take the bi-weekly quizzes on Thursdays 2:00pm-3:00pm online with Zoom proctoring.

Your grade is composed by the following assessments, all delivered via PrairieLearn.

Assessment Contribution Section M Section N
Final exam 15% Follows non-combined schedule, online with Zoom Proctoring Follows non-combined schedule, online with Zoom Proctoring
Bi-weekly quizzes 35% Thursdays, 2:00-3:00pm, online with Zoom Proctoring Thursdays, 12:30-1:30pm, online with Zoom Proctoring OR in-person at CIF 35
Homework 25% Submitted weekly via PrairieLearn Submitted weekly via PrairieLearn
MP 10% Submitted 5 times during the semester via PrairieLearn Submitted 5 times during the semester via PrairieLearn
Group Activity 11% Tuesdays, meet online or in-person 2-3:15pm or at another designated time Tuesdays, 12:30-1:45pm, in-person, classroom attendance required
Lecture Activity 4% Pre-recorded videos available via PrairieLearn on Tuesdays and Thursdays with corresponding short questions Pre-recorded videos available via PrairieLearn on Tuesdays and Thursdays with corresponding short questions

All your grade components will be added up with the percentage weights indicated and result in a single number. This number will determine your letter grade, according to the following scales:

A [93, 100)
A- [90, 93)
B+ [87, 90)
B [83, 87)
B- [80, 83)
C+ [77, 80)
C [73, 77)
C- [70, 73)
D+ [67, 70)
D [63, 67)
D- [60, 63)
F < 60

The top 5% students will receive an A+ (assuming that they all have 97 points or above, otherwise, all students with total points above 97 will receive an A+).

General Rules

Any questions, concerns, or misgivings regarding a specific grade must be raised within one week of the due date or the date the grade is released. After one week has passed, the assigned grade is considered accepted and no further complaints will be considered.

Programming Languages

We will be using Python with the libraries numpy, scipy and matplotlib for in-class work and assignments. No other languages are permitted. Python has a very gentle learning curve, so you should feel at home even if you’ve never done any work in Python.

Which Python should you use?

For the homework assignments and quizzes, the coding can be done directly on PrairieLearn. Class demos will use Python 3 in a Jupyter notebook.

If you wish to install Python and the Numpy+Scipy+Matplotlib stack, you are free to do so in any way that works. We recommend using Anaconda, which is a (free) Python distribution that includes Numpy+Scipy+Matplotlib. In addition, you should use Python 3.

The course staff has created a short Python tutorial that is available as a PrairieLearn assessment, for students that have not worked with Python before, or need some brushing up.

Lecture Activities

You will complete two weekly lecture assignments, corresponding to the Tuesdays and Thursdays lectures, which will appear in PrairieLearn with the label L#. You can find all the topics listed on the schedule page.

Each assignment will consist of short to medium size videos, and short questions corresponding to the video content. These are short activities that should be completed on the day they are open (Tuesdays and Thursdays), but they can be completed for 100% credit by the following Tuesday at 9am. This schedule will ensure students complete watching the relevant material for the group activity on Tuesdays. These assignments combined count towards 4% of your final grade. There will be a total of 24 lecture activities, and the lowest 4 scores will be dropped.

If you don’t complete the lecture activities before the Tuesday deadline, you have two other late deadlines for reduced credit: 90% credit if you complete them before the quiz date corresponding to the same topic, or 50% credit if you complete them before the last day of classes. You can find all the due dates directly in PrairieLearn.

Group activities

Students will be placed in groups of 2-4, and they will work together to complete an assignment delivered via PrairieLearn with the label GA#. Groups will be only formed starting from week 3, and students will have the opportunity to create their own groups during the first two weeks. These assignments combined count towards 11% of your final grade.

Students in the N section will complete this activity on Tuesdays in the classroom during lecture time, and attendance is required. Students in the online section M will complete this activity remotely. There will be synchronous and asynchronous options. You can find more information about the group activities in the collaborate page

These assignments combined count towards 11% of your final grade. The lowest 2 scores will be dropped.

Interactive Demos

On the Thursdays without scheduled quizzes (check the schedule page), we will be meeting for an interactive synchronous lecture, either at 12:30pm (section N) or 2pm (section M). Attendance is NOT required. We will not be covering new content during these demo classes (new content is only introduced during the asynchronous online pre-recorded lectures). Instead, we will be using IPython (Jupyter) notebooks to implement the numerical methods covered in the videos. The notebooks are available in PrairieLearn (labeled with WS#), so that students can learn from them at their own time. We will also record the 2pm lecture, since the online format facilitates recording, and make the video available to all students (both sections) to watch at a later time.

Homework

The homework sets will be assigned via PrairieLearn with the label HW#. The due dates are indicated both in PrairieLearn and also in the lecture schedule (the schedule may be subjected to changes during the semester). Each homework is due at 8pm on the due date. If you don’t complete the homework by the recommended deadline, you can still complete it by the last day of classes for 96% credit.

In the PrairieLearn assessment page, if you click on the “?” just to the right of the line about available credit, you’ll see all the dates associated with this assessment, and how I am setting the credit:

* You can receive 100% until Main End Date
* You can receive 96% until Late End Date


The “Late End Date” corresponds to the last day of classes, December 08 2021.

There will be a total of 20 individual HWs, combined they will count towards 25% of your final grade. The 2 lowest scores will be dropped.

Machine Problems

There will be a total of 5 MPs assigned via PrairieLearn with the label MP#. These are longer programming assignments. The due dates are indicated in the lecture schedule (the schedule may be subjected to changes during the semester). Each MP is due at 8pm on the due date. If you don’t complete the MP by the recommended deadline, you can still complete it by the last day of classes for 96% credit.

If you click on the “?” just to the right of the line about available credit, you’ll see all the dates associated with this assessment, and how I am setting the credit:

* You can receive 100% until Main End Date
* You can receive 96% until Late End Date


The “Late End Date” corresponds to the last day of classes, December 08 2021.

There will be a total of 5 individual HWs, combined they will count towards 10% of your final grade. There is no drop of MP scores.

Quizzes & Final Exam

Quizzes

Throughout the semester, you will take 6 quizzes (50-minute) that will have a mixture of short questions and short coding questions (similar to the questions that appear in your HW, L, GA and practice assessments).

Quizzes will count towards 35% of your final grade and the lowest score will be dropped.

You will have a Practice Quiz open 9 days prior to each quiz. Your actual quiz will be generated using the same question pool used to generate the practice quizzes, with the exception of the coding questions. The practice quiz will become unavailable starting at 11am during quiz day.

Quizzes will take place during lecture time on Thursdays 12:30pm-1:30pm and 2:00-3:00pm. The schedule page shows all quiz dates. Note that quizzes will automatically close after 60 minutes..

We will not have any conflict quiz accommodations, since we are not approving time conflict overrides. Students are expected to be available during lecture time if they are registered in the course.

Honor Code

These quizzes will follow the CS honors code and UIUC Academic Integrity policies. You will be expected to comply with the Student Code, and the rules of CBTF-online. The list below summarizes some of the guidelines provided on these other resources:

• you will not be allowed to use a tablet for note-taking.
• you will not be allowed to use physical books, notepads, or any type of printed or hand-written document.
• you can have few BLANK papers within your reach.
• you can use use online resources. However, note that you will not have access to your other PrairieLearn assessments (HWs and MPs). I strongly suggest that you do not rely on finding relevant material during the time of your quiz. You will likely run out of time. You should prepare for the quiz as you were taking it at a physical location, without access of any other online resources.
• You can use other websites as a resource to complete your quiz, including course notes and course website.
• You can use any software as a resource to complete your quiz, including Python, Jupyter Notebooks, Matlab, Mathematica.
• YOU CANNOT USE ANY WEBSITE OR SOFTWARE THAT SERVES AS A MESSAGE/CHAT APP (e.g. Discord, Slack) OR THAT SUPPORT CHEATING DURING EXAMS (e.g. Chegg).
• YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO COMMUNICATE WITH ANYONE (student, friend, professional cheating business) DURING THE QUIZ PERIOD TO GET HELP WITH THE QUIZ. This is your INDIVIDUAL assessment.

You must not communicate with anyone about quiz content during the quiz period, staring from 12:30pm Central Time on the exam day (Thursdays, as listed on the schedule) and finishing at 4pm on the same day. All office hours will be also canceled during this period. No questions should be posted on CampusWire, or any other digital space, discussing quiz content.

Students that have DRES accommodations will need to complete the following form by the end of week 2. You will be asked to upload your Letter of Accommodation.

Quiz review

When you finish your quiz, you will see the correct answers and your score on the quiz. You will not have access to the quiz once your assigned quiz period is finished. If you want to talk about the quiz with the instructor or TA, you must wait until the quiz period is over, and then you can ask questions on CampusWire, or office hours. You are not allowed to post screen shots of quiz questions on CampusWire.

Final Exam

The final exam will follow the University non-combined schedule. The final exam will follow the same rules of the quizzes.

• Section M: 7:00-10:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 11
• Section N: 7:00-10:00 p.m., Friday, May 6

How should I use the course resources?

I often get this question from students: “How can I study for this course?” I will give here my recommendation, based on observations, my own experience as student, and feedback received over the years. Of course, every student is different, and the recommendations below may not apply to you.

1) Watch the pre-recorded videos and complete the short questions (PrairieLearn lecture activities). Some students prefer to read instead of watching videos. If that is your case, you can take a look at the lecture slides and/or notes from the Resources page.

2) Start the homework AFTER you go over the course content and have a good understanding of the material. Use the homework to test your knowledge. Go back and review the concepts when you get a questions marked as incorrect. I know it can be tempting to just keep trying until you get the question marked as correct (the so desirable PrairieLearn green badge!), but you will be missing the opportunity to actually learn from your mistakes.

3) Watch the pre-recorded videos before the corresponding group activities. You will have more productive and interesting conversations with your team mates if you know the content.

4) When preparing for the quizzes, take a look at the review questions from the Resources page. They may help you figuring out what you know and what you still need to learn. Go back to the videos, slides and/or notes from concepts that you have not mastered yet.

5) You will have access to the Practice Quiz the week before the Quiz. Don’t start creating your Practice Quizzes until you completed the steps above. This is a great opportunity to really see how well you have learned the material before you take your actual quiz.

Collaboration

Quizzes and Final Exam:

You must not discuss any aspect of the quizzes and final exam until all students complete the assessment. That means you must not have any conversation about the quiz content until 4pm on the Thursdays with scheduled quizzes.

Homework and MP:

You can discuss your approach with your peers. All parts of each homework set or machine problem must be your own work. You must have typed/written every part of your homework yourself. It is okay to copy code/pieces of work provided by the instructor and available on the course website (however, to keep good practice, you must acknowledge the source).

Lecture and Group Activities:

Here is your opportunity to learn, teach and interact with your peers! Exchange ideas, get creative, and make sure you carry your share of the work load.

Students that violate any of the course policies will face penalties as provided by campus rules regarding academic honesty.

Academic integrity infractions, harassment, and discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated. See the University’s Student Code, Article 1, Part 4. Please see the Students’ Quick Reference Guide to Academic Integrity for more details.

Please see the departmental Honor Code for details on integrity and procedures.

Absences and Missed Assessments

We have created a very flexible assessment schedule, with late deadlines worth nearly full credit, so that students can still complete their work after a missed deadline. As such, we will not give extensions to HWs, MPs and lectures.

Students can submit a request for excused absence if they are not able to attend the synchronous Tuesday and Thursday class activities (GAs and quizzes) under the following circumstances:

A.  Illness

B.  Personal crisis (e.g. car accident, required court appearance, death of a close relative).

C.  Required attendance at an official UIUC activity (e.g. varsity athletics, band concert).


In all cases, you must fill out the excused absence request form and upload the appropriate documentation.

In cases (A) or (B) an official excuse letter from the (Dean on Duty) must be uploaded with the form within 2 weeks of the due date of the missed assessment, no later than reading day. In cases of extended or unusual illness, late submission of excuse documentation will be considered.

In case (C) an official letter from the designated university official must be uploaded at least one week prior to the due date of the missed assessment.

All approved excused assessments will be dropped from the final grade calculation.

Accommodations

If you have accommodations identified by the Division of Rehabilitation-Education Services (DRES), please submit your DRES letter using the following form:

Submit your Letter of Accommodation https://forms.illinois.edu/sec/1528734110

If you have accommodations for quizzes (e.g extended time), you must submit your letter by the end of week 2.

Statement of Mental Health

Diminished mental health, including significant stress, mood changes, excessive worry, substance/alcohol abuse, or problems with eating and/or sleeping can interfere with optimal academic performance, social development, and emotional wellbeing. The University of Illinois offers a variety of confidential services including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, psychiatric services, and specialized screenings at no additional cost. If you or someone you know experiences any of the above mental health concerns, it is strongly encouraged to contact or visit any of the University’s resources provided below. Getting help is a smart and courageous thing to do – for yourself and for those who care about you.

Counseling Center: 217-333-3704, 610 East John Street Champaign, IL 61820

McKinley Health Center:217-333-2700, 1109 South Lincoln Avenue, Urbana, Illinois 61801