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 (30%):
There will be two midterm exams each counting 15% of your grade, on Tuesday
25 February and Monday 31 March,
each 7-9 p.m. in rooms yet to be chosen
by the University.
I will write an exam intended
to be finished in an hour, and give you two hours to finish it.
(Over the years
students have accused me of overestimating what they
ought to be able to finish in an hour.)
The exams from Fall 2013 and from other
semesters may be used as
- Final Exam (25%):This will be during the May
final exam period
as scheduled by the University, and will be cumulative, though with greater
emphasis on the last third of the course. 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.
The Fall 2013 250 final (with solution
here) may be used as a practice
- Homework (25%): There will be six
homework assignments during the term.
Together they will count for 25% of your final grade, with only the best five
counting for 5% each. (The lowest grade will be dropped.)
Homework must be turned in as PDF files on the Moodle site for the course.
This will allow the TA's to grade it and give you feedback without the
necessity of moving large quantities of paper around. PDF files may be
generated in a variety of ways -- I would probably do it using Latex, but Word
and other word processing software has options to produce PDF's. (On a Mac,
any print command has a "save PDF" option.) You can also scan a handwritten
document to produce a PDF which you can then turn in. (But what you submit
must be readable -- you are responsible for reviewing your PDF yourself
to see that it is. Cel phone pictures of bad handwriting will in general not
Late homework will in general not be
accepted -- I'll deal with valid excuses by giving "excused" grades on
- Discussions (10%): Attendance at the Monday discussion sections
is required and this portion of the course grade will be based on your
attendance and participation. Participation will be measured
by group responses to
in-class writing assignments, usually based on "Excursion" sections of the
text. You will be divided randomly into groups of two or three and each group
will hand in a response to the assignment. These will be graded "check" (B)
or "check-plus" (A), and the best nine of your eleven
will count for 10% of your
- Moodle Quizzes (5%): These short multiple-choice or numeric-answer
exercises will occur once or twice a week, normally due at 9:00 am on the day
following a lecture. They will cover the material of that lecture and
perhaps the lecture before. (In Spring 2013
CMPSCI 250 had "pre-reading quizzes"
on the book section to be covered in the next lecture -- I have switched
to this format based on numerous comments in the course evaluations.) Some
small number of these will be dropped -- the remainder will count for 5% of the
total grade. A typical quiz will be five questions, with the grade being
F for not doing it, C for none right, and A for all right.
- Clicker Questions (5%): During most lectures there will be questions
to be answered on a clicker device to be purchased or rented by you. (This is
the only sense in which lecture attendance affects your grade.) The first
clicker questions that count will be on Wednesday 29 January, the fourth
lecture, so that you should have time to arrange to get a clicker. All answers
wrong will get a C, all answers right will get an A, and some small number of
low results will be dropped.
Academic Honesty Policy
All work submitted must be your own in presentation. How much
outside help is allowed depends on the course component.
Last modified 14 January 2014