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Final grades will be comprised of
- 10%: Exercises (approximately weekly). These are graded with a simplified check-plus/check/check-minus system. Some are in-class exercises or start as in-class exercises; we will make them available electronically if you miss lecture, but it may be a better educational experience if you attend. We will drop one exercise from your grade.
- 30%: Homework assignments (problem sets), which contain both written and programming portions. We plan to have five total homework assignments (HW0 to HW4), though HW0 is a quick review and counts for substantially less.
- 30%: Midterm, planned to be in-class.
- 30%: Final project, including project proposal (10%), progress report (5%), in-class presentation, and final report (15%). These are done in groups. (All other coursework is independent.)
Final grades will be computed using the following grading scale, but we may make adjustments if curving/rescaling is needed.
F = <63.49, D = 64-66, D+ = 67-69; C- = 70-73, C = 74-76, C+ = 77-79; B- = 80-83, B = 84-86, B+ = 87-89; A- = 90-93, A = >93.49
Communication: Please use a Piazza private post to contact instruction staff. For sensitive issues, you can contact just us, the professors (Prof. Thompson and/or Prof. O'Connor). Please put "CS490A" in your email subject line, otherwise we are more likely to miss your email.
Attendance: There is no attendance requirement. Don't come to lecture if you feel sick or have health risk issues. In-class exercises can be made up electronically. Lectures will be recorded. If you are healthy, we encourage attendance for reasons of educational experience, but it is not necessary in terms of grades.
Everyone must comply with the
official UMass COVID policies, including the Aug 20 Provost email
and the Face Covering FAQ. This includes:
You are not allowed to come to class if you test positive, have COVID-19 symptoms, or are in contact with someone who tests positive and meet the criteria for self-isolation (see FAQs). If you are in any doubt, do not come to class.
Masks are required (except for rare medical exceptions, which you need to have officially approved).
We are authorized to enforce these policies, including referral to SCCS.
Finally, the professors have family health situations requiring additional social distance when possible.
For example, let's have after-class discussion outside the building.
- For homework assignments:
- Everyone has five late days to use for homework assignments.
- Only up to three may be used for one assignment.
- After all late days have been exhausted, no more late submissions will be accepted.
- In unusual or extenuating circumstances, as well as religious holidays, you may be able to receive an extension without using late days.
Arrangements must be made in advance with course staff.
- Job interviews and other schoolwork are not excuses for late homework.
- Exercises will be accepted late for the lowest grade (check-minus).
- Project assignments will not be accepted late.
- In case of unforseen circumstances (e.g. illness, internet issues, personal emergency), please contact one of the instructors when you're able.
Collaboration and Academic Honesty
- For all non-group (non-project) assignments, all of the content you submit, both code and text, needs to be produced independently. Your work must be in your own words and based on your understanding of the solution. ("Independently" applies to homework; for group projects, work must be produced only by members of the group.)
- Do not share code or written materials. Do not look at others' code.
You may discuss problems and the project with others, and we encourage it, to help understand the material.
- On your homework, list the names of everyone you collaborated or had discussions with.
- If you find, use, or build off of published material, for example on the web or from a textbook, you must cite the source. Always explain the answer in your own words.
Some examples of the collaboration policy:
- Acceptable: Alice and Bob discuss alternatives for storing large, sparse vectors of feature counts, as required by a problem set.
- Unacceptable: Alice and Bob sit down together and write code for storing feature counts.
- Acceptable: Bob is confused about how to implement the Viterbi algorithm, and asks Alice for a conceptual description of her strategy.
- Unacceptable: Alice and Bob divide the assignment into parts, and each write the code for their part, and then share their solutions with each other to complete the assignment.
- Acceptable: Alice asks Bob if he encountered a failure condition at a "sanity check" in a coding assignment, and Bob explains at a conceptual level how he overcame that failure condition.
- Unacceptable: Alice or Bob obtain a solution to a previous year's assignment or to a related assignment in another class, and use it as the starting point for their own solution.
For written assignments, all your writing must be original or properly paraphrased, with citations as appropriate.
We follow the university’s
Academic Honesty Policy and Procedures.
If you are not aware, note that academic honesty is significantly more important than completely finishing assignments or being late.
We will report and sanction instances of dishonesty with no leniency.
If you have questions about a particular situation, please ask.
Since students are expected to be familiar with this policy and the commonly accepted standards of academic integrity, ignorance of such standards is not normally sufficient evidence of lack of intent.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to providing an equal educational opportunity for all students. If you have a documented physical, psychological, or learning disability on file with Disability Services (DS), you may be eligible for reasonable academic accommodations to help you succeed in this course. If you have a documented disability that requires an accommodation, please notify us within the first two weeks of the semester so that we may make appropriate arrangements.