CS145 - Introduction to Databases
Spring 2000, Prof. Widom

FAQ: General Course Issues

Question: I did not pick up my graded assignment when the assignments were returned in class. How can I get it?

Answer: Graded assignments not picked up in class are placed in a file cabinet drawer on the 4th floor of the Gates building between the A and B wings.

Question: The written assignments seem long. The first one took me more than an hour! (Quote from an actual student.)

Answer: Since you're expected to work 12-16 hours/week for CS145, an hour (or 4) for the written assignments should be no problem. However the more important question is whether you're getting anything out of them, and that of course is a matter of opinion. I try to give fairly comprehensive written assignments that cover a good fraction of the material (not always all of it) without a lot of redundancy - you should learn something new from each problem. If you are a student for whom learn-by-doing is not your style, feel free to skip portions of the written assignments. They're not worth much in your grade, and doing well on the exams will more than compensate.

Question: How will the written assignments be graded?

Answer: The written assignments are graded on a plus/check/minus scale. Most students can expect to get a check on most assignments. A plus is reserved for truly exceptional assignments - perfect in every way - while a minus is reserved for assignments where it's clear the student is lost on much of the material. There's no concept of partial credit, or even credit for that matter. We will check the assignments and most of the time it will be very easy for us to tell whether or not a student fundamentally understands the material for a given question. If most of the answers illustrate a good understanding of the material, you get a check.

My suggestion is to view the assignments primarily as a way to learn the material (and prepare for the exams, which are worth much more in the final grade anyway).

Question: I'm taking another class at the same time as CS145 by watching tapes. Can I take an alternate CS145 final exam?

Answer: The short answer is no, as spelled out clearly in the Exams section of the Course Information handout distributed on the first day of class. The university strongly discourages students from enrolling in two classes given at the same time, and instructors are under no obligation to accommodate such students. The long answer is that if you provide an extraordinarily compelling case then an alternate exam may be given, however alternate exams are always oral exams given by the professor.