General Course Groundrules                      Dr. Peter Dordal

These groundrules apply to all my computer courses, modified as appropriate by any information on specific course pages (eg exam percentages). Last updated December 2005.

Certain announcements and individual messages may be sent to you via email. You are expected to receive them. Please be sure I have your preferred email address.

Office Hours: See the course pages for the current times. Note that sometimes I may be found in the computer labs during office hours. My office is LT-512c; telephone 312-915-7980. You may send email to

Grades:  Most 300-level courses have one in-class midterm and a final; 100- and 200-level courses may have two in-class exams. Coursework may include written assignments, and will usually include some programming assignments. The programming languages vary with the course.

Your grade will be computed by adding up your points, weighted by category. The exams generally count about 65-75% of your grade (see the web page for your specific course for a more exact percentage), with the programs and homework constituting the remainder. Note that it is sometimes easier to receive a high score from me on homework/programs than on exams, so this out-of-class work can have a more positive effect on your grade than the approximately 30% might indicate. The final is usually worth about 25% more than the in-class exams.

I reserve the right to amend these percentages in your favor if I believe circumstances warrant; please discuss any special situations with me promptly.

Sometimes I may require you to resubmit a program that didn't meet certain standards; in borderline cases such resubmission may be optional. It is always better to turn in a partially completed assignment (or see me) than to get a zero. Also, turning in an incomplete assignment lets me know you are having trouble, and it may earn you extra time. Late programs may lose up to 3-5% per day, not to exceed 20% per week. Sometimes less; often much less if you have discussed the situation with me. If I have heard or received nothing from you by three weeks after the due date, I may not accept that assignment at all! Again, if you get really stuck, see me or turn in what you have.

Finally, programs will be graded as much on intangibles such as good design, clarity, and appropriate style as on output correctness. Here are a few general things to watch for:

Makeup Exams: If you miss the midterm, please notify me beforehand. Otherwise, you may receive a reduced score. I do not guarantee that a makeup midterm will be available; I reserve the right to base your grade solely on the final and the programs. If you do take the midterm and do poorly, I will let you retake the makeup (if there is one!), subject to a maximum grade of whatever is the border between C+ and B-.

Academic Dishonesty:  Those found to be cheating on exams will receive an F in the course, and the matter will be discussed with the appropriate Dean. I do not expect problems here. Those cheating on homework will lose points varying from the amount for that assignment to all homework points for the course. In general, turning in an assignment substantially identical to someone else's means that you (and the other person) will receive no credit for that assignment. While general discussion with others about programming assignments is allowed and even encouraged, the final programming and writing should always be your own work.