On this page:
1 Academic Integrity and Student Code of Conduct
2 Collaboration Policy
Collaboration Violations
Regret Policy
3 Distribution of Course Materials
4 Grading
5 Homework Submission Policy
6 Homework Grading
7 Late Policy
8 Lecture Policy
9 Quizzes
10 Accommodations
11 Health, Wellbeing, and Success

Course Policies

Last updated: Fri, 20 Oct 2023 16:04:59 -0400

This page describes the policies of the course. Please read it carefully.

1 Academic Integrity and Student Code of Conduct

Students are expected to adhere to the Student Code of Conduct, including policies about academic integrity, delineated in the University of Massachusetts Boston Graduate Studies Bulletin, Undergraduate Catalog, and relevant program student handbook(s), linked at https://www.umb.edu/academics/academic_integrity.

See also the UMB Academic Honesty Policy, as described in Appendix B of the Student Code of Conduct document.

Education at UMass Boston is sustained by academic integrity. Academic integrity requires that all members of the campus community are honest, trustworthy, responsible, respectful, and fair in academic work at the university. As part of being educated here, students learn, exercise, increase, and uphold academic integrity. Academic integrity is essential within all classrooms, in the many spaces where academic work is carried out by all members of the UMass Boston community, and in our local and global communities where the value of this education fulfills its role as a public good.

This means that all submitted work must be completely yours, i.e., written from scratch, in your own words or code.

See the Collaboration Policy and Distribution of Course Materials Policy for additional information.


Academic honesty violations will result in:
  • (1st offense) loss of credit on the problem and a warning,

  • (2nd offense) zero for the assignment and reported to the department and school,

  • (3rd offense) failing grade for the course.

Note that the department and the Dean of Students (DoS) Office may also impose additional penalties on top of the above.

See Collaboration Policy for more details.

2 Collaboration Policy

All submitted work be must your own, i.e., written from scratch, in your own words or code.

Thus, using sites that do your homework for you, e.g., Chegg, Course Hero, Study, Bartleby, etc., are not allowed (The department monitors these sites for infractions.)

Also, using ChatGPT is not allowed.

Discussing homework with other students, however, is allowed and encouraged.

Consulting other reference sources (except the above) to learn course materials is also allowed.

All discussion or external sources, however, must be disclosed. See README.


Every submitted homework must include a README file with:
  • the names of other students you worked with,

  • any books or websites you consulted (other than the course textbooks)

  • how long you spent on the assignment (in hours), and

  • the url to the GitHub repo where the code resides (if GitHub submission was used).

Collaboration Violations

Submitting work that is not your own is an academic honesty violation.

Note that taking someone else’s answer and doing any of the following is still considered "not your own words":

In our experience, none of these are ever an issue for students who submit their own work. But if you are unsure, ask a member of the course staff.

Regret Policy

(Adapted from Harvard CS50’s policy)

The course staff understands that many academic honesty violations occur in a moment of panic right before a deadline.

Thus we will allow the following "regret" policy:

If you commit an academic honesty violation that you later regret, you may notify the course staff at any time before the homework in question has been graded and returned.

In exchange for your honesty, you will receive zero points for the problem in question and the matter will be considered closed. No additional penalties will be imposed and no further action will be taken (except in the cases where this policy is abused).

3 Distribution of Course Materials

Course materials may not be distributed without permission from the instructor.

This means you may not post homework questions to mailing lists or websites like Stack Overflow, Chegg, Course Hero, etc.

Infractions will be considered academic honesty violations.

4 Grading

Grades will be computed at the end of the semester according to the following criteria:

Grade Components

Grades will be computed from the following:
  • Homework assignments: 80%

    This component of the grade will be computed by totaling all earned points on assignments and dividing by the maximum possible homework points.

    Note: The lowest homework grade will be dropped before final grade calculation.

  • Quizzes: 5%

    This component of the grade will be computed by totaling all earned points on quizzes and dividing by the maximum possible quiz points.

  • Class Participation: 15%

    This part of the grade will be based on participation in lecture discussions and chats, office hour attendance, discussion board posts and responses, and the instructor’s assessment of a student’s overall engagement in the course.

Letter Grades

The final grade will be calculated approximately as follows:
  • A range: 90-100

  • B range: 80-90

  • C range: 70-80

  • D range: 60-70

  • F: < 60

The course staff reserves the right to adjust these as needed at the end of the semester, including further splitting the grades into plus/minus brackets.

5 Homework Submission Policy

Homework is submitted to Gradescope, under the appropriate assignment label.

For code, you must use the github submission method in gradescope.

Homework solutions may be resubmitted as many times as needed, up to the deadline.

In addition to your solution files, each homework submission must include a README file with the following information:

See the Collaboration Policy for more details.

Note: Only homework submitted to Gradescope will count in this course. Do not email hw submissions to the course staff. It will be ignored and will not count.

6 Homework Grading

Since course is about communicating effectively via programs, submitted programs will be evaluated according to multiple criteria:

7 Late Policy

Homework is due (typically) Sundays at 23:59 EST.

In general, late homework is not accepted, for many reasons:

Of course, unforeseen things will happen. Therefore, we’ve adopted the following rules:

Over the course of the semester, you can use up to three late days. These can be allocated however you want (all to one assignment, one to each assignment, etc.).

We strongly prefer you not use more than one per assignment, because it disrupts grading; nevertheless, if you do need to take more than a day on an assignment, you can.

Don’t ask for permission; don’t tell us your reason: any time you miss the submission deadline, we will assume you are using a late day. Each part of a day that you are late counts as a full day. However, if you take more than one day, you must inform us (post a private message on the forum) so we know to expect something from you.

No exceptions allowed unless you have a Dean’s Note indicating family/health emergency.

Note: The course has enough homeworks that missing one is probably not going to affect your course grade too much (and the lowest grade is dropped anyways). It is far worse to fall behind. Therefore, if you miss a deadline, you may be best off catching up with the content (through class or talking to course staff) and moving on.

8 Lecture Policy

Lectures meet in-person. See also Lecture.

Attendance is not taken, though overall partipation, of which lecture is a part, is a factor in final grades. See also Grading.

There will usually be a short quiz at the end of lectures. See Quizzes for more info.

Lecture may be recorded, but let the course staff know if you are not comfortable with this.

9 Quizzes

Each lecture will usually be accompanied by a very short quiz (one or two questions), administered on Gradescope.

Though they are graded and worth a small fraction of the final grade (see Grading), their primary intent is to help students pay attention in lecture and to make sure everyone is caught up on at least the most basic course topics.

All quizzes are open book but you will only have a limited amount of time to complete it.

10 Accommodations

UMass Boston is committed to creating learning environments that are inclusive and accessible. If you have a personal circumstance that will impact your learning and performance in this class, please let me know as soon as possible, so we can discuss the best ways to meet your needs and the requirements of the course. If you have a documented disability, or would like guidance about navigating support services, contact the Ross Center for Disability Services by email (ross.center@umb.edu), phone (617-287-7430), or in person (Campus Center, UL Room 211). To receive accommodations, students must be registered with the Ross Center and must request accommodations each semester that they are in attendance at UMass Boston. For more information visit: Ross Center for Disability Services - UMass Boston. Please note that the Ross Center will provide a letter for your instructor with information about your accommodation only and not about your specific disability.

11 Health, Wellbeing, and Success

UMass Boston is a vibrant, multi-cultural, and inclusive institution committed to ensuring that all members of our diverse campus community are able to thrive and succeed. The university provides a wide variety of resources to support students’ overall success. As we continue to deal with the evolving impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, these resources are more important than ever.