Paul's rules of the game

I was somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of excuses, late assignments, and even "collaborative" work I encountered when I first began teaching. To avoid any misunderstandings and confusion, I wrote down some rules and policies I'll follow this semester. I hope that they make sense and you can abide by them.

attendance
Attendance is mandatory and expected for both lectures and recitations. There is no required textbook for this course and much of the course material is not in any one text. You are responsible for all the topics covered in class. While I attempt to put most material on the web for your convenience, you are responsible for all material presented in class as well as announcements, assignments, and quizzes. Make a friend now whom you can contact in case you miss a lecture. While I will endeavor to keep my web site up to date, the lecture is your primary source of updates and information. Attendance may be taken and/or there will be a few quizzes given throughout the semester. Missing a class will have no detrimental effect on your grade; missing several may. Please see the Rutgers policy on Attendance and Cancellation of Classes.
exams
There will be four exams in this course: three in-semester exams and a cumulative final. All exams will be weighted equally and the lowest normalized grade will be dropped (see the grades page for a description of normalization). I will post grades before the final exam that factor in your grades from three exams. This will be your final grade if you choose not to take the final (the final is effectively a grade of 0 and is dropped). If you take the final exam, then it will serve only to displace an existing exam grade that is lower than your score on the final. I will not reward you for the act of taking the final exam. I will not give make-up exams or make-up assignments except under extraordinary circumstances such as documented cases of serious injury or illness. If you miss an exam then your grade for that exam is a 0. You will then have to take the final exam and the 0 grade will be dropped as the lowest of the four grades.
assignments
Assignments in this course will include both written problems as well as programming projects. Both of them count in your final grade, although programming projects will count more. All assignments are due on their due date (that's the definition of a due date) before the time specified. Late programming assignments will not be accepted (even if you are 30 seconds late because you could not log on). Try to hand in your work early to avoid unforseen disasters. Written assignments can be submitted in plain text, pdf, or HTML text within the assignment submission section of sakai. I will not accept any assignments that are submitted Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, Adobe InDesign, or any format that requires me to open an application.
collaboration
Except for group projects, all homework is intended to be done without consulting others. Since discussion of work with fellow students can be a valuable learning experience (besides, the material is so fascinating that you won't be able to help it), you certainly may discuss the topics related to the problems with others. This brings us to the next bullet item...
cheating
Cheating will not be tolerated. All homework assignments, programming projects, and exams are to be done individually unless otherwise specified. Third-party code cannot be used unless you explicitly cite the use of a library. If you have problems in understanding the material or doing an assignment, please schedule an appointment to see me or a TA. If you chance cheating and get caught, you will be reported to the office of student conduct and to the dean. The violation will go on your record and your punishment will, at the least, be a reduced grade but may include failing the course or suspension from the university. It's not worth it. Be sure you read the Rutgers policy on academic integrity. It is your responsibility to ensure that your passwords are well-guarded, all files and directories are protected, and printouts do not fall into other hands.
office hours
I'm here to help you learn. If you have any questions or problems with the course material, assignments, or other matters in which I may be able to help you, feel free to contact me. You can send me mail (I'll usually respond within a day) or schedule an appointment during my office hours. Don't show up since I am unlikely to be there. Since class is on Livingston campus this semester, we will try to find some place to meet there to avoid the trek to Busch campus.
phones and noise makers
Ringing, beeping, or buzzing phones, laptops, games, and watches are disruptive. Please turn these devices off upon the start of class. Violators may be charged a $20 penalty for the first offense, a $40 penalty for the second offense and confiscation of the device. Further offenses will be fined at $20·2(n-1).
document retention
I will have exams results available by the lecture following the exam (i.e., one week) and will return the papers to you then. If you were not in class and unable to pick up your exam, you will have to ask me to bring it in via email at least a day before the next lecture. You cannot ask a friend to pick it up. I will generally not carry old exams to each lecture waiting for you to show up. Final exams will not be returned. I will keep final exams for a period of one year after the end of the semester. I will not keep unclaimed mid-semester exams beyond the end of the semester. I will keep all your grades on record indefinitely so I can have them available in case you need letters of reference, job recommendations, or placement interviews.
grade adjustment
We will go over the exam when I return exams (the lecture following the exam). If you feel there has been a grading mistake, you can discuss it with me that week or the following week unless we both agree to other arrangements. After that, the grade is final and will not be changed.