Class Meetings and Communication Forums


Attending lectures is mandatory and will account for 10% of the final class grade. To take attendance, frequent one-question quizzes (at some point during a randomly selected set of lectures) will be given.

You are responsible for ALL the materials covered in the lectures including any topics not in the notes or references.

Class participation and questions are very welcome during the lectures. There is no such thing as a "stupid question". Failure to ask a simple question might result in the inability to follow the rest of the lecture (and even following lectures).

Up to 10 minutes at the beginning of every class may be devoted to answering questions related to topics discussed in previous lectures. This is a particularly good time to ask if you have questions.

Discussion Sections:

If you are taking this class then you have signed up for a weekly one-hour discussion session. Please check the course web page for the coordinates of your teaching fellow and of the place/time of the discussion sections.

The teaching fellow will be leading the discussion sessions. Materials covered in the discussion sessions will be elaborations on materials covered in the lectures. In some of the discussion sections (especially at the beginning of the course), the teaching fellow will be covering background/prerequisite materials that many students typically do not master. Also, the discussion sessions will be the venue used to answer any questions (or provide clarifications) regarding the homework assignments.

If (for some reason) you miss (or cannot make) the discussion section for which you are signed up, then please make sure to attend another one in the same week.

Office Hours:

You should come to the Instructor and/or Teaching Fellow's office hours with your questions well-thought out. Office hours are NOT meant to be tutoring sessions; they are meant to answer specific questions about the material covered in the lecture, discussion section, and lecture notes.

Questions like "could you repeat your explanation of ..." or "I do not understand section ... of the lecture notes" should be asked in the lecture and/or discussion sections.

On-line Forums and Facebook Group Usage:

The class communication forums (e.g., Piazza, Blackboard, and Facebook) are for you to use as channels for asking questions and seeking clarifications, whether from the instructor, teaching fellow, or classmates. However, like any broadcast medium, you should be careful not to abuse these channels. This means that "one-liners" and "cute" commentaries should be avoided.

You will be held responsible for any inappropriate postings on these forums.

Participatory Credit:

In an effort to make things a bit more dynamic during lectures and sections, the instructor and the teaching fellow may occasionally award "Bonus" credit points for student participation. Also, as a further motivation to read the notes thoroughly, bonus points will be awarded to students who discover technical "bugs" in the lecture notes, or who provide significant contributions. Such bonus points will count as extra credit points for the homework that is due next and will be capped at 10 points per homework. Any points above the maximum grade for the homework will not count (i.e. if your grade in a homework is 100/100 and you get 10 extra points, your grade for the homework will continue to be 100/100).