Your course grade will be computed as follows:
Homework assignment is due at the beginning of the class (10:30am) in class. 10% penalty is applied 24 hours late, and 20% penalty is applied 48 hours late. After 10:30am 2 days after the due date, the solution will be posted and assignment will no longer be accepted.
The lab grades are based on completion checked by the TAs. Don’t fall behind because each lab is worth more than 2% of your grades!
We will not curve this class --- so the student next to you doing well does not affect your grades (and we want all of you to do well).
Unless specifically stated otherwise, we encourage collaboration on assignments, provided (1) you spend at least 15 minutes on each and every problem alone, before discussing its general concepts with others, (2) you only discuss general concepts or related examples - not the specifics of a problem on the assignment, and (3) you write up each and every problem in your own writing, using your own words, and understand the solution fully. Copying someone else's work is cheating (see below), as is copying the homework from another source (e.g., prior year's notes, etc.). Please write down the name of classmates you collaborated with at the top of your assignment.
Cheating is a very serious offense. If you are caught cheating, you can expect a failing grade and initiation of a cheating case in the University system. Basically, cheating is an insult to the instructor, to the department and major program, and most importantly, to you and your fellow students. If you feel that you are having a problem with the material, or don't have time to finish an assignment, or have any number of other reasons to cheat, then talk with the instructor. Just don't cheat.
To avoid creating situations where copying can arise, never e-mail or post your solution files in public directories. You can post general questions about interpretation and tool use but limit your comments to these categories. If in doubt about what might constitute cheating, send the instructor e-mail describing the situation.
We will try to ensure that the workload is typical for a four-credit course, namely, nine to twelve hours per week outside of the lectures. If we do not succeed, please let us know in whichever way you feel the most comfortable (person-to-person, e-mail, feedback form) and explain which parts of the course are causing you to spend too much time non-productively.
We have structured the course so that spending an hour or two per day will maximize your efficiency. You will work this way in the real world—you cannot cram a three-month design assignment into the last night—so you may as well work this way now. Plus, you will understand the material better. If you leave the homework for the day before it is due, then you will not have time to study for the exams, and you will not have time to ask questions when (not if) the software misbehaves.
The homework assignments are generally due on Wednesdays at the beginning of class (except when there is an exam or a holiday). The homework assignment will be distributed approximately one week before the due date.
Your assignments must be neat and legible. We will not spend time trying to decipher messy work. We urge you to use the graphical and word processing tools that are readily available to you in all the labs in the department. Please make good use of the schematic diagram editor in the tools you'll be using to make neat circuit diagrams to include in your assignments.
Assignment problems will sometimes be graded on a random basis. To get full credit for an assignment, you must, of course, turn-in solutions for each assigned problem. Only a subset of the problems will actually be graded in detail. You will not know in advance which problems this will be - so make sure to do all of them.
Please review the assignment solutions carefully before questioning a grade with either the instructor or the teaching assistants.
We have three mini-exams rather than one big final one. I heard smaller quizzes were not taken seriously in the past and students still ended up cramming for the final exam (which is not a good way to retain information). We welcome feedback. There will be no make-up exams so schedule your term accordingly.
Software tools frequently consume more time then they should. We have designed the assignments to get you up to speed gradually (over the period of a few weeks), but undoubtedly there will be some start-up cost (as with any new tool). Essentially, you are learning a new language, a compiler, and getting familiar with a process. Every tool imposes a certain model. Your frustration can be high until you assimilate that model and learn to use it effectively. Be sure to use the tutorials, and do not spend countless hours making no progress. Ask for help. Remember that these tools are written by engineers for engineers and will not necessarily conform to expectations you may have of consumer-oriented tools such as Word.