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2008-12-15:CS 121 Grade Announcement

Dear CS 121 Students,

1. Final grades for CS 121.

Final grades are now posted on Blackboard. The final letter grades will be rolled into Banner by your instructor on Monday December 15 or Tuesday December 16. You should see them official from Banner no later than Wednesday December 17.

An explanation of how you final grades were determined has been posted on Blackboard along with the class web site. Most of the class had highly satisfactory performance, with over 2/3rds of the class scoring a B or higher. The histogram of the final grade distribution is available in Blackboard's grade book. We look forward to building on this success in CS 122 next term.

If you have any questions or concerns about grading, please contact your section instructor. If they are not resolved in a satisfactory way, you may then widen the discussion about your course grade to include the course coordinator, Bruce Char. Because the post-finals period is when many of our staff are away on their holiday break, you may need to wait until the start of next term to get final resolution of some grading issues. But we will apply diligence and will get them resolved.

2. CS 122 next term.

CS 122's first lab meetings will be during the SECOND WEEK OF THE TERM, starting ***Monday January 12***. During the first week the web sites for the class should be up, both in Blackboard and on but there will be no class meetings. However, you can expect an email from us in the first week with more information about the course.

La/bs will be held every other week starting from the second week: the weeks of January 12, January 26, February 9, and February 23. Quizzes will alternate with labs, in the weeks of January 19, February 2, February 16, and March 2. The proficiency exam will be held in week 10 (the week of March 9). In CS 122 there will be four labs and four quizzes rather than five each as there were in CS 121.

Next term we will extend our expertise at technical problem solving to include techniques that require differential calculus and more sophisticated information processing. We will also finish the task of learning how to write short programs for handling various kinds of technically-oriented problems.

The staff of CS 121 gives you our best wishes for a restful and enjoyable break, and a healthy and prosperous 2009.

2008-12-15:Explanation of Grading

There were five labs, equally weighted. Each lab is worth 20% of the overall lab grade. Similarly, there are five quiz grades, equally weighted. Each quiz is worth 20% of the overall quiz grade. Both the overall lab score and the overall quiz score are out of 100. Note that, due to extra credits, it is possible to obtain a lab grade greater than 100%.

There were two parts to the proficiency exam. There were 14 points total in the exam, so the relative weight of each question is the point value for the question divided by 14. The point total out of 14 was used to compute a “Proficiency Total “ out of 100.

The Final Score (before bonus) is a weighted sum of the lab, quiz and exam scores according to the formula:

Lab * 0.40 + Quiz * 0.24 + Proficiency Total * 0.36

A bonus was applied to each student's quiz and proficiency exam scores to minimize the need for discussions over minor adjustments to grades. 4 points were added to each student's overall quiz grade. This is roughly equivalent to getting two more quiz questions correct over the five quizzes. 10 points were added to each student's overall exam grade. This is roughly equivalent to getting one more exam question correct. These bonus’s were applied to the Quiz and Proficiency Total scores prior to multiplying by their weights to obtain the Final Score.

The Final (letter) Grade was computed from the Final Score according to the following scheme:

100+ A+

92.5+ A

89.5+ A-

86.5+ B+

83.5+ B

79.5+ B-

76.5+ C+

73.5+ C

69.5+ C-

66.5+ D+

49.5+ D

less than 49.5 F

Note that in addition to the quiz and exam bonus, the grading scheme includes "rounding" for people who are slightly below the actual cut offs of 93, 90, 87, etc.

If you have any questions or concerns about grading, please contact your section instructor. If they are not resolved in a satisfactory way, you may then widen the discussion about your course grade to include the course coordinator, Bruce Char. Because the post-finals period is when many of our staff are away on their holiday break, you may need to wait until the start of next term to get final resolution of some grading issues. But we will apply diligence and will get them resolved.

If any corrections need to be made to a grade after review, the section instructor will file a change of grade form. The form must be approved by the department head and then is submitted to the Registar's Office to be processed by them. These corrections are straightforward but do not happen as quickly as Banner postings since there are extra layers of approval and manual processing of a piece of paper. It usually takes a week for such corrections to show up in the official grade record kept by the University once it reaches the Registar. We are sorry that the process is slower than it could easily be, but it is the procedure mandated by the administration or all courses at the University.

2008-12-05: The system administrators are reserving time for system maintenance at 9am-10am December 12/6 and 12/7. The system may be unavailable during those period.

2008-12-01: Practice exams will be available each evening after the tests for the day are over (around 6:30pm to 7pm) and will be available until the next day morning

2008-10-31: The Zip file needed for Lab 4 "Import Data" is available in the Lab Materials section or can be downloaded here

2008-10-28: Question 2 on Quiz 3 was not grading correctly on Monday. The problem has now been fixed. For those who started quiz 3 before the fix (which took place around 1pm on 10/28), you will have to grade and quit your current quiz and start a new one for problem 2 to work correctly. Sorry for the confusion.

2008-10-10: Per the class schedule, quiz 2 will be given during the week of 10-13 to 10-17. Just fyi: We never release quizzes before all the labs for the previous week are over, and the last lab is not finished until Friday at 5pm. So the earliest any quiz would be available is Friday evening, but typically we release them on Mondays.

2008-10-03: Normally there are no office hours during lab weeks, but this coming Monday 10/6, there will be office hours to help those who need it with quiz 1 version 2. See the office hours calendar for times.


2008-10-01: One of the quiz questions involves finding out the number of days in a month or months in a day. Here are some commands that will help you get on the same page as Maple:
convert(1, units, day, month); (this command will output 0.03386319301)
convert(1, units, month, day); (this command will output 29.53058796)

2008-10-01: Maple 12 for Macs is now up on the website.

2008-09-30: As you know, quiz 1 is up on the Maple TA server.  Some of you have successfully completed the it and gotten high marks. However, I have noticed that the throughput of Maple TA has not been fully satisfactory in the past few days, in that its limit of 90 simultaneous log ons is often reached.  Many of you are being turned away after multiple attempts to get on.  While we do need to protect the system against over saturation, we do feel that it could be configured to do a bit more.  It should not be that difficult to get onto the server at this point of the week.

We will frequently monitor and if necessary react during the next few days as the quiz deadline nears. Starting tomorrow I expect that you will notice significant improvements, and this should give you plenty of time to complete the quiz on time.  To allow us the flexibility to put in these improvements, we will reserve 9-10am each morning for system maintenance.  The system may be unavailable then, which means that the Maple TA website will not respond at all.  However, it should be back no later by ten.  We may also take the system down briefly at 3pm if  we think the situation warrants it.

If the Maple TA server gets switched off  for scheduled maintenance, your quiz responses recorded to date will still be there when the system comes back up and you log in again.  (This should be true even if the system crashes due to an electrical or other failure.)  The only thing that may not saved may be your responses to the last question you were working on, if you did not have an opportunityt to click on a button like "next" or "how did I do" for that question.

2008-09-26: The first quiz will be available Monday morning (9/29) by 9 a.m. on Maple TA. If you have problems or questions about the quiz, the first step is to post the question to the blackboard discussion forum (without disclosing any answers.) You will have until Friday at 5pm to complete the quiz. DO NOT procrastinate! The system is limited to 90 users at a time, and we have nearly 900 students. So if 200 of you wait until Friday at 3pm, then some people are not going to be able to take the quiz, and they would receive zeros. Also, note that when taking the quiz if you do not click a link for 30 minutes, you will be logged out of the system automatically possibly losing the current problem you were working on. Finally, if you try to log in to Maple TA to take the quiz, and it gives you an error, try back every 30 minutes or so until you get in, or try back at a less popular time (like early in the morning.) Only after these attempts fail, should you contact your section instructor.

2008-09-26: More FAQ have been added. Please read them.

2008-09-25: Updates have been made to the syllabus. Office hours for next week are posted (see the schedule page.) The FAQ page has been updated...please read it.

2008-09-20: Classes start Monday, September 22. Check the schedule to see when your lab meets.