Grading, Delivery and Attendance Policies
There is no final exam in this year's (autumn 2017) version of the course.
Rather, a student's final grade will be based exclusively on the
grades awarded to each of the projects. The exact point breakdowns for each
project will be determined during the course of the semester, though it is normally pretty evenly balanced between the 2-4 projects.
This year (2017), a single instructor will run the entire course and grade or oversee
the grading of all projects. Some years, however, each project may be graded by a
different teacher. Although these instructors
work together to provide a quality course, they do NOT grade in exactly the same way.
Do not assume that one teacher's grading policy is identical to another's. When in
doubt, ask each instructor about their policy.
Individual and Group Work
You can work on the projects alone or in groups of TWO, but no
larger. That is, the total group size cannot be larger than 2.
For group deliveries, the following protocol must be followed:
- There is one demo session for the group, and each group produces a single (shared) report, but
- when uploading to BLACKBOARD, each group member must upload the same
zip file (typically containing code plus a report).
- Uploads to BLACKBOARD must be completed prior to the beginning of a
demo session. If the day's first demos are at 9 am, then ALL students in ALL groups
will have to do their uploads before 9 am.
Many years of experience with this and related courses indicate that there is no obvious advantage nor disadvantage to working alone versus in a pair. Good programmers often like to work alone, and, in the past, the results have been just as good as those produced by groups. The instructors do not base project size on any assumptions that people will or will not work together.
You are free to discuss problems with your classmates, but
keep the discussions at a high level. All students/groups must
produce the working code and the report for the projects by
themselves and should be able to answer basic questions about any
portion of their own (or the group's) code. Any obvious inabilities of group members
to explain their code can result in significant point loss on a project.
Downloading and Sharing Code
Direct copying of any part of a project can result in an
immediate failing mark (F) for the entire course. This pertains
to the copier as well as the source!
In some cases, it is acceptable to download working code for PERIPHERAL aspects of a
project. For the AI projects of this course, the graphical user interface (GUI) is
often considered peripheral. Such code can also be shared among students in the
class. HOWEVER, it is strongly recommended that you consult the course instructor
in any case where the acceptability of copying and sharing could be in doubt.
Typically, all AI aspects of a project are NOT considered peripheral and should
NOT be copied nor shared. In addition, many non-AI aspects of these projects are
complex and meant to be challenging programming tasks; they too must be coded by each
student or 2-person group.
In most cases, late deliveries are NOT accepted in this course. Although partial
credit is often given on assignments, it is NOT given for late deliveries. There are
exceptions to this (very strict) rule, and these typically involve serious or long-lasting
personal illness (with a doctor's note) or family tragedy (e.g. a funeral).
Happy events such as birthdays, weddings and vacations are normally known
well in advance, so you will need to plan your work (and delivery) schedule around them.
Having a lot of work in other classes is not a legitimate excuse for a late delivery.
Early deliveries can occasionally be negotiated with the instructor or the
course assistants, but these are also granted sparingly. Demo sessions are a lot of
work for everyone involved in this course; adding extra sessions for one or a few
students is generally very inconvenient.
Students are not required to attend lectures, although their content is primarily
designed to assist students with their projects. Most, but not necessarily all,
lecture materials will be available online, but reading lecture slides on your own
is normally less instructive than listening to their presentation.
However, Demo session attendance is mandatory .