CS 373U: Homework Instructions and FAQ

How to Submit Homework

Since CS 373 usually has about 200 students every semester, we desperately need your help to make sure homeworks are graded and returned quickly. The graders have to examine more than ten thousand pages of homework submissions each semester! Any homework that does not follow these (admittedly picky) instructions will automatically receive a grade of zero. This is not a joke.

  • Turn in your homework on time. Homework must be received by midnight on the due date, Champaign time. No late homeworks will be accepted without the instructor's written permission, which must be obtained at least 24 hours before the due date. To offset this somewhat draconian measure, we will drop the lowest grade of all the homeworks; this should take care of any unforeseen circumstances.



Form: How to write

Please be nice to the graders! Make it easy for them to see what you're doing. If your answers are hard to read, the graders will be less sympathetic to your mistakes. All this goes for exam problems, too.

Content: What to write

Convince the grader that you understand exactly what you're doing.

Grading and regrading

Final course grades

This system ensures that extra credit can only increase your grade, that other people's extra credit does not affect your grade, and that the curve isn't skewed by the handful of geniuses and doofuses in every class. We expect roughly 25% of the students get an A- or better.

Academic integrity

This final section is unfortunately necessary, thanks to the actions of a very small minority of students.

Each student (or homework group) must write up their own solutions. We strongly encourage students to work together on the homeworks and to consult any outside resource at your disposal: other students, TAs, professors, textbooks, journals, conference proceedings, web pages, test files, etc. However, you must write your solutions in your own words, and you must excerise academic integrity. If you receive significant help from any source, you must identify that source in your solution. This will not lower your homework grade.

Directly copying someone else's work, or allowing others to directly copy your work, is plagiarism. Copying from any source without giving proper credit -- in particular, copying offficial solutions from earlier offerings of CS 373 -- is plagiarism. (Besides, some of those official aolutions were wrong!) For further information, see the University Policy on Academic Integrity, especially the section on plagiarism.

Because we expect students to be honest, we treat plagiarism and other cheating cases very seriously. The usual penalty for a first offense is a grade of zero on the homework or exam. The penalty for a second offense, or a particularly egregious first offense, is an F in the course. All cheating cases are reported to the department. Multiple offsenses can result in suspension or dismissal from CS program or from the university. More than one student has been expelled from the university (in part) because of cheating offenses in CS 373.

Regardless of whether it constitutes cheating, or whether you get caught, getting too much help on your homework will hurt your final grade. If you don't learn how to solve algorithmic problems on your own, you will fail the (closed-book, closed-notes) exams, which make up 70% of your final course average.

Jeff Erickson (jeffe@cs.uiuc.edu) 20 Jan 2004