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. 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. In case you might miss a lecture, make a friend now! While I will endeavor to keep my web site up to date, the lecture is your primary source of updates and information. There will be 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. If you need to miss a significant number of classes for legitimate reasons, please contact me as soon as possible and we can discuss the option of receiving an incomplete grade with makeup work after the end of the semester.
exams
While it is easier for me to give one or two exams, I do not want you to be in a position where a final counts for 60% of your grade and you're hoping you'll do well even though you have two other exams that week as well as a cold. 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, 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 a 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.
quizzes
Quizzes may be given throughout the semester. The purpose is threefold: to encourage attendance, to encourage timely arrival, and to encourage you to stay nominally awake. Questions on quizzes are multiple choice and reflect material that is presented during the lecture. Answers should generally be clear from the lecture material but please ask me during the lecture if you are unsure of the correct answer.

Missed quizzes

Do not worry if you miss one or two quizzes; that will have no detrimental effect on your course grade. Missing more that that will likely have a progressively stronger penalty on your grade. If you are planning to attend classes only during exam days, your grade will suffer regardless of how well you do on the exams.

Lateness & quizzes

Past experience shows that some students habitually arrive late. This is distracting to the lecture and you may miss receiving a quiz. I will make every effort to arrive on time and expect you to do the same ... and I realize that will not always be possible. As stated above, missing one or two quizzes will not have a detrimental effect on your grade. If you cannot commit to getting to class regularly and on time, I strongly urge you to drop the class. There is no need to contact me to explain why you were late.

Submission of quizzes

Please hand in your own quiz at the end of the class. I will not accept submissions from friends. Completing a quiz for another student will be treated as plagiarism and reported as a violation of academic integrity to the office of student conduct.
assignments
Assignments in this course will include both written problem 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. Try to hand in your work before the due date to avoid unforseen disasters. Assignments must be submitted via sakai, The only formats accepted will be 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. I'd like you to make an honest effort to do the assignment. Doing a relatively poor job on an assignment counts way more than not doing an assignment at all.
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. Third-party code, aside from standard libraries, cannot be used unless you explicitly cite the use of specific packages. 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. Really. 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 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 just show up since I am lot likely to be there. Because I have a day job that is 2,387 miles (3,842 km) away, I am rarely on campus except for the lecture. 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 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 not keep any old exams beyond two weeks past 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 (most often 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. I do not want you coming to me the week before the final to try to negotiate for extra points on past work.