Course Policies


You are attempting to learn—and we are attempting to teach—during a pandemic. It is unreasonable to hold yourself to any ordinary standards amidst this tragedy, and it would be especially unreasonable for this course to demand that from you.

Our priority is to facilitate your learning without adding to your stress and anxiety. We’ll start by being flexible with due dates and grading. During synchronous sessions, we’ll focus on learning that’s most effective when we’re together as a group. We’ll record videos to make the rest of the course content accessible asynchronously, so you can learn at your own pace. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if there’s any way that we can better support you personally or the class at large. We’re here to help.


All class sessions will be conducted via Zoom. To minimize conflicts, synchronous sessions will take place during the regularly scheduled lecture time (MWF 1:30-2:30pm). TA office hours will primarily be held during the regularly scheduled quiz sections (Th 1:30-3:30pm). All times are given in Seattle local time (Pacific Time); you can use this page or Google to convert times to your local time zone.

Course Format

We’ll have two main types of synchronous sessions, each with their own form of pre-class preparation. Our aim is to spend much of our synchronous session in breakout rooms, before regrouping to share our findings with the entire class.

  1. Before the session, you’ll be asked to watch recorded lecture videos that introduce some algorithmic aspect of robotics. Each series of videos will be at most 45 minutes, and we’ll aim to provide questions for you to check your own understanding of that material.

    During the session, we’ll strengthen that foundation by clarifying points of confusion and discussing new applications of those ideas.

  2. Before the session, you’ll be assigned an essay, research paper, book chapter, or other relevant material to consider the human and social impact of autonomy. Each reading will be accompanied by a few reflection questions that should be answered in a public post on Ed. (If you’re uncomfortable sharing some of your responses with the full class, you may make a private post; please do this sparingly.)

    During the session, we’ll continue our reflections in small breakout rooms. Each room will coalesce their thoughts, and share the highlights back in the main room.

Completing the pre-class preparation will help us all make the most of our time together. We’ve shifted the quantity and distribution of work to make time for working through this preparation material, and we’ll check in regularly to avoid overburdening you.

There are four programming projects with the MuSHR platform. These are designed for a group of 2-3 students, but may also be completed individually.


  • Programming projects (4)
  • Readings and written responses (9-10)
  • Synchronous session participation (29)

Programming projects will be graded using an SN scale.

S (Satisfactory). Work meets all requirements and displays mastery of core learning goals.
N (Not yet). Work does not meet some requirements and/or displays developing or incomplete mastery of some learning goals and material.

An N will be accompanied by TA feedback and guidance. You will be able to revise and resubmit to receive an updated grade and feedback.

In general, you cannot complete the pre-class preparation after class for credit. Our synchronous session discussions are closely tied to that preparation work. If you are stuck or falling behind, please do not hesitate to talk to the instructor.

Your completed work will be converted to a final grade based on the following minimums.

at least 3.8:

  • S on 4 programming projects
  • 8 reading responses
  • 24 synchronous sessions

at least 3.4:

  • S on 3 programming projects
  • 7 reading responses
  • 21 synchronous sessions

at least 3.0:

  • S on 3 programming projects
  • 6 reading responses
  • 18 synchronous sessions

at least 2.0:

  • S on 2 programming projects
  • 5 reading responses
  • 15 synchronous sessions


CSE 332 (required), MATH 308 (recommended), CSE 312 (recommended).

The programming projects require that you work with a Linux and Python environment. Based on feedback from previous offerings, we strongly recommend that you are comfortable with at least one of the two. We welcome students with less experience, but please be prepared to spend some more time at the beginning of the course getting acquainted.


Students of all backgrounds and experiences are welcome in this class. You are entitled to be treated respectfully by your classmates and the course staff.

If at any time you are made to feel uncomfortable, disrespected, or excluded, please contact the instructor or a TA to report the incident. If you feel uncomfortable bringing up an issue with the course staff directly, you may also consider sending anonymous course feedback or meeting with the CSE academic advisors or the UW Office of the Ombud.


Programming projects are designed for a group of 2-3 students, but may also be completed individually. Each group should write their own writeup and code.

We encourage you to discuss all course activities with your friends and classmates as you work through them. Feel free to talk through struggles with your peers as long as you follow the academic misconduct warnings that have been relayed in every course you’ve taken thus far. It’s okay to look at online resources as long as sources are cited and code isn’t copied.

Here’s a reference in case you need a refresher.

Disability Resources for Students

It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please activate your accommodations via myDRS so we can discuss how they will be implemented in this course. If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations, contact DRS directly to set up an Access Plan.

Religious Accommodations

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy. Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form.