CMPSCI 250: Introduction to Computation
David Mix Barrington
Course Requirements and Grading
Your grade in CMPSCI 250 will be based on the following:
- Midterm Exams:
There will be three midterm exams, on Thursday evenings as specified on the
Each will count for 15% of the course grade. I will write exams intended
to be finished in an hour, and give you from 6:00-8:00 to finish them.
(Over the years my students have accused me of overestimating what they
ought to be able to finish in an hour.) I will post practice exams about
a week before the real ones, similar in length and content.
- Final Exam:This will be during the December final exam period
as scheduled by the University, and will be cumulative. You will have two
hours. This exam will count for 25% of your final grade, except that
I will count it for 50%, and reduce the weights of all other components
proportionally, if this is to your advantage. I'll post a practice final
about a week before the real one.
- Homework: There will be eight homework assignments during the term.
Together they will count for 20% of your final grade. The questions will
mostly be taken from the textbook. Late homework will in general not be
accepted -- we'll deal with valid excuses by giving "excused" grades on
particular assignments. The worst of the eight homeworks will not count.
- Discussion Writings:During each of the eleven discussion periods
there will be a problem for which you are to submit a written response.
These will be graded individually by me on a scale of "check-plus (A)", "check"
(B), "check-minus" (C), and "no response or absent" (F). Any sincere attempt
to solve the problem will get at least a check. Often actually solving the
problem is enough for a check-plus. (Often there will be a series of problems
and I'll decide after the fact how far you need to have gotten for the
check-plus.) The discussion writings will count together for 10% of your
final grade. (Attendence at discussions is thus "required", in that missing
a discussion without a major excuse (medical, family emergency, etc.) incurs
a grade penalty.)
Academic Honesty Policy
All work submitted must be your own in presentation. How much
outside help is allowed depends on the course component.
- The exams are
closed-book and no outside help is allowed. Any cheating on an exam
is grounds for an F in the course.
- In discussions, almost anything goes
as a source of information, including the instructor, TA, and your classmates,
but you must still write up the solution in your own words so direct copying
is not allowed.
- With homework the situation is in between and the rule
harder to specify. You may discuss homework with other students, in
fact I encourage this as a learning experience. But again, the writeup must
be your work. Copying is not allowed, and collaboration so close that it
looks like copying is not allowed. (In general, if I get two identical
homeworks I will accept neither of them and will give you a stern warning
that could lead to formal action the next time.) A good practice is to divide
your work into an "ideas phase" where you collaborate and a "writeup phase"
where you work alone -- enter the writeup phase with notes, but not written
- If you make use of a printed or on-line source for the homework, other
than specific course materials such as the textbook or web site, please
mention it in your writeup. Of course copying a solution to a problem from
the web is cheating, and this is easier for us to detect than you might think.
Last modified 7 September 2004