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Course Policies

Course Requirements and Grading

Grading scale:
97-100%A+87-89.99 B+77-79.99 C+67-69.99 D+0-59.99 F
93-96.99A83-86.99 B73-76.99 C63-66.99 D
90-92.99A- 80-82.99B- 70-72.99C- 60-62.99D-

Requirements and grade calculation:
RequirementWeightTotal pointsNote
Midterm Exam20%
Final Exam30%
Assignments45%HW: 40-60 points each
Exercise: 20 points each
Attendance & Participation5%80 points (attendance)
+ 20 points (participation)
1 missed class allowed;
-7 points for each absence thereafter

Late work penalties:
Assignments are due 30 minutes before each class via CourseWeb. Late assignments will be penalized as follows: 20% if submitted 1 class late, 40% if submitted 2 classes late; no submission will be accepted beyond that point.

Attendance is mandatory. Roll calls will be taken on a regular basis, which will be reflected on your attendance score. For information on excusable absences, see this section below.

The participation grade will be based on students' engagement level in classroom and also their activity in the CourseWeb forum.

If done properly, working together on assignments lead to a better learning outcome for all parties involved. If done improperly, however, it negatively affects learning AND results in cheating. For your learning benefit, I am allowing group work provided that the following conditions are met:

  1. Equal contribution: one student's contribution must not exceed 150% of other's.
  2. Individual work before a study group: do not show up to a study session without having worked on the assignment on your own beforehand.
  3. Individual work after a study group: do not write up your homework assignments while working in group, which leads to copying other's answers. Always finish up your answers by yourself afterwards, using your own words.

Recitation Grade

If you are new to programming and enrolled in the S/NC 1-credit recitation through LING 1901 Independent Study, your grade will be based on attendance. Out of the 12 recitation sessions, attend at least 9 in order to receive the S ("Satisfactory") grade.

Important notes

  • As you can see from the course schedule, this class moves in a rapid pace. It is critical that you attend class regularly and keep up with the course content. If you do not have good time and project management skills, this is not the class for you.
  • There is a form of assignment due at every class, and the lab section in particular will build on what was learned previously. If you miss a class, make sure to review and catch up before the next class. If you show up without catching up, you will be lost.
  • When doing assignments, make sure to closely follow the provided instructions. The ability to follow instructions is a critical programming skill! Also, when programming, get in the habit of taking your time to get the details right. It will save you much frustration and confusion downstream: in writing a structured program, a seemingly minor detail that was glossed over in a haste has a way of resurfacing and tripping you.
  • Get help early: approach the instructor or the TA when you first have trouble understanding a concept or homework problem. Please note that certain problems are not easily communicated via email, especially when the lack of understanding of the very nature of the problem is the first stumbling block. It will be easier to come and see instructors in person.
  • Turn off your cell phone in class. Non-class-related activities, including Facebook, twitter, email, web surfing, are strictly forbidden. Violations will incur a penalty on your participation score.

Remediation and Justification

The exams will be given on the specified dates. Absolutely no early, late, makeup exams will be given. Exceptions may be made, at the instructor's discretion, in the case of true emergencies, for which explicit documentation must be provided. Penalties for late work or absences may be waived for documented emergencies. For planned, justified, absences or late work, advance notice must be provided. Valid reasons for missing class include the following:
  • A religious observance: advance written notice is required
  • A medical emergency (including mental health emergencies): submit a signed letter from a doctor
  • A family emergency (death, birth, natural disaster, etc): submit a signed letter from an authority

Academic Integrity

Cheating/plagiarism will not be tolerated. Students suspected of violating the University of Pittsburgh Policy on Academic Integrity, noted below, will be required to participate in the outlined procedural process as initiated by the instructor. A minimum sanction of a zero score for the quiz, exam or paper will be imposed. (For the full Academic Integrity policy, go to https://www.provost.pitt.edu/info/ai1.html.) In this class, working together on assignments is allowed strictly under a set of conditions noted above; failing to meet them will amount to a violation of academic integrity and will be handled accordingly.


If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and the Office of Disability Resources and Services, 140 William Pitt Union, 412-648-7890, as early as possible in the term. Disability Resources and Services will verify your disability and determine reasonable accommodations for this course.

E-mail Communication Policy

Each student is issued a University e-mail address (username@pitt.edu) upon admittance. This e-mail address may be used by the University for official communication with students. Students are expected to read e-mail sent to this account on a regular basis. Failure to read and react to University communications in a timely manner does not absolve the student from knowing and complying with the content of the communications. The University provides an e-mail forwarding service that allows students to read their e-mail via other service providers (e.g., Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo). Students that choose to forward their e-mail from their pitt.edu address to another address do so at their own risk. If e-mail is lost as a result of forwarding, it does not absolve the student from responding to official communications sent to their University e-mail address. To forward e-mail sent to your University account, go to https://accounts.pitt.edu, log into your account, click on Edit Forwarding Addresses, and follow the instructions on the page. Be sure to log out of your account when you have finished. (For the full E-mail Communication Policy, go to https://www.bc.pitt.edu/policies/policy/09/09-10-01.html.)