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. Attendance may be taken and/or 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. Please do not submit absence reports. I do not need to know that you were absent from class or the reasons for the absence. If you have a medical or other valid reason for missing a series classes, please contact me well before the end of the semester so we can discuss whether it will make sense for you to get an incomplete grade for the course.
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, 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.
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 early to avoid unforseen disasters. Assignments must be submitted via sakai, The only formats accepted will be plain text, pdf. If you are entering your responses to a written assignment within sakai, you may also use HTML text. 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.
Please write your name and netID clearly on every assignment submission. While I can derive these from sakai's structure, I tend to extract all submissions into a set of PDF files that I can then edit in-flight on my iPad. Your goal is to make my life easier so I will not have to try to expand any significant effort in identifying your authorship. Also, make sure that your submission looks neat: pay attention to your use of whitespace and typography.
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 item...
cheating
Cheating will not be tolerated. All homework assignments, programming projects, and exams are to be done individually. 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 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 the TAs or me. You can send me mail (I'll usually respond within a day), phone me, or schedule an appointment during my office hours. Don't just show up since I will not likely be there. I'm out of state on most weekdays, so I will unlikely be able to meet with you at any time other than Monday evening but will be available via email or phone every day.
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 (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.