Computer Science (CS) Policies
Thoughts on Learning
Learning can be one of life's most rewarding activities. I have learned by exploring on my own and I have learned in classes. Both have advantages. Personal exploration leads to extensive learning in areas of interest, so some topics are explored in depth. However, other topics are unknown to the explorer and are not covered. Learning in classes is more orderly and complete, because someone who knows the area of study directs it. In summary, personal learning leads to depth in some areas, while class learning leads to breadth and completeness. These are generalizations, but there is truth in them. How can you benefit from both kinds of learning? Become engaged in your courses and explore topics as they arise. Go beyond your assignments. You may not be able to do this in every course every day, but probably can do something extra in at least one course every day. Many computer science assignments can be extended. For example, do a web page or program that meets the criteria, and then explore something extra (which can even result in additional credit).
The more advanced you become, the more you develop the ability to explore on your own and the more you are prepared for the challenges of collegiate studies. Thus, beginning courses have more direction and more class time for assignments than the advanced computer science courses.
Each course can be an adventure in which you gain new knowledge, abilities, and skills. All adventures require participation; courses are no exceptions. Persons not participating are just watching something happen, like a video. Like many things in life, you only get out of courses what you put into them. Participate. (Yes, that means Work.) Learn. Enjoy.
Assignments and class activities complement each other and both are important. Each assignment's purpose is to take you closer to having the knowledge and skills you will find necessary and useful for your life and career, whether your career is related to computer science or not. It can be important to understand the purposes of assignments, so talk with your teacher if purposes are unclear.
Assignments (HW) listed on the assignment sheet are due at the beginning of the next class after the date listed. Assignments designated "Class:" are to be done in class that day. Items designated "due" are due at the beginning of that class.
Most assignments are of the following types:
Readings are a major component of classes that have textbooks. Readings complement class sessions rather than duplicate them. You may feel that you can "get by" occasionally without finishing the reading, but the readings are fundamental to a complete understanding of the subject. Do them.
Several multimedia and/or web projects of different sizes and types are assigned throughout the CS211 and CS221 (and CS222) courses. They are a major component of each course. Many will be assigned to individual students while others will be assigned to groups. The content of some projects will be directly related to the course. Other projects will contain material relevant to other areas of study.
Programs of different sizes are the projects of the intermediate and advanced computer science courses. Most are assigned to individual students while some are assigned to groups.
Textbook and other exercises are given to help you as a student internalize information and come to a deeper understanding of it.
Enthusiastic and diligent students sometimes exceed assignment requirements. The teacher may encourage this with extra credit, so a student may earn, say 110, on an assignment. Remember, the purpose of extra credit is to encourage quality work, NOT to replace points lost to missing or incomplete assignments.
Always bring required books and materials and your laptop computer to class unless the teacher informs you otherwise.
A significant part of the learning in a course takes place when you do assignments. Therefore, typically 33% of the course grade is based on assignments. Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the day listed for them (unless otherwise indicated). Assignments are given values depending upon their complexity and length, and then are combined into a Country Day grade. It is important to turn in all assignments on time. The school requires all assignments to be turned in. If you do have missing assignments, however, they will reduce your goal grade and may result in an incomplete. Late assignments will have reduced points earned (of 10% per day) and may not be given a passing grade.
Tests and Quizzes together count for a large part of the grade, typically 67%. Some tests are more important than others and quizzes count less than a test. (Quizzes can be learning experiences, but they also take time from other learning activities. I would rather you study for the sake of learning than for the sake of a quiz grade.) Expect three or four tests per goal with their total emphasis being much of the course grade.
Goal grades are first calculated by weighted averages of the assignment grade, and quizzes and tests. Quizzes and tests together count typically 67% of the grade (but can vary depending on the relative quantity of each type of grade). The teacher may make grade adjustments up or down based on quality of class participation and other factors like participation in computer competitions.
Technology in the Classroom
One factor relating to your success in Computer Science (as well as other subjects) is appropriate use of computing technologies both in and out of classrooms. Use only the application(s) needed for an assignment. Never distract yourself or others during class with activities such as email or instant messaging or other (network) activities. Grades may be affected.
Academic Honesty and Integrity
Check your Student Handbook for our school's general policy on academic honesty and integrity. Here are the specifics as they relate to this class.
On daily assignments, it is acceptable to exchange hints or general ideas on projects and written work. However, the work turned in must be done by the individual student who has the name on the project or paper and is expecting credit for the work. Group projects must be done only by the students to whom the project is assigned.
It is not permitted to represent someone else's work as your own. Clearly identify (cite) the source of any part of the assignment that is not your own. This is equivalent to using footnotes or endnotes in a standard paper.
Illustrations, sounds, movies, buttons, scripts, and quotations from others are examples of elements that are to be identified. Be sure to observe copyright law.
A test or quiz must be the sole work of the person taking it. Do not have or use or look as though you are using any notes of any kind during it. Do not look at anyone else's test or quiz. Do not share information regarding a test or quiz with someone who has not yet taken it.
Be safe and be sure to maintain your academic integrity. Violation of these guidelines is a violation of the academic integrity policy. Be sure to ask the teacher if you have any questions about these or other policies.
CS Academic Assistance
Please ask me in advance if you want to make sure I am available for additional assistance outside of class. You may contact me in person or through email (bwebster). I am not always at school because I am a part-time teacher, but will make time for you if you ask.
Computer science students know and will continue to learn techniques and concepts in using technological tools of our age. Please share these in a constructive and positive way with other members of the Detroit Country Day community so others can benefit, too.
Computer Systems Acceptable Use Policy
Always follow the current Detroit Country Day School Computer Systems Acceptable Use Policy. As the policy says, "The use of DCDS computer systems is a privilege, not a right. DCDS computer systems have been established for a limited educational purpose. The term "educational purpose" includes classroom activities, career development, and limited high quality, self-discovery activities. Inappropriate use will result in cancellation of the privilege and may result in suspension or expulsion from school. DCDS may close an account at any time as deemed necessary."
In the computing laboratory:
- Be respectful of people.
- Be respectful of computers and other equipment.
- Do not bring into the lab nor use any food, drink, snacks, candy, or gum.
- Neither play games nor do non-educational (network) activities.
- Work reasonably quietly.
- Before you leave, remove your materials, straighten up your work area, and put chairs back where they belong.
Last modified 5/17/14 by B L Webster. © 2015 by B L Webster.