Paul's rules of the game

I was somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of excuses, late assignments, and even collaborative work I encountered when I first began teaching. To avoid any misunderstandings and confusion, I wrote down some rules and policies I'll follow this semester. I hope that they make sense and you can abide by them.

Attendance is mandatory and expected. There is no required textbook for this course and much of the course material is not in any one text. You are responsible for the topics covered in class. While I attempt to put most material on the web for your convenience, you are responsible for all material presented in class as well as announcements, assignments, and quizes. In case you might miss a lecture, make a friend now! While I will endeavor to keep my web page up to date, the lecture is your primary source of updates and information. Attendance may be taken and/or there may be a few quizzes given throughout the semester. Missing a class will have no detrimental effect on your grade; missing several may.
There will be four exams in this course: three in-semester exams and a cumulative final. All exams will be weighted equally and the lowest normalized grade will be dropped (see the grades page for a description of normalization). I will post grades before the final exam that factor in your grades from three exams. This will be your final grade if you choose not to take the final (the final is effectively 0 and is dropped). If you take the final exam, then it will serve only to displace an existing exam grade that is lower than your score on the final. I will not reward you for the act of taking the final exam. I will not give make-up exams or make-up assignments. If you miss an exam then your grade for that exam is a 0. You will then have to take the final exam and the 0 grade will be dropped as the lowest of the four grades.
Assignments in this course will include both written problem-solving and question answering problems as well as programming projects. Both of them count in your final grade (although programming projects will count more). All assignments are due on their due date (that's the definition of a due date) before the time specified. Late programming assignments will not be accepted (even if you are 30 seconds late because you could not log on). Try to hand in your work early to avoid unforseen disasters.
All homework is intended to be done without consulting others. Since discussion of work with fellow students can be a valuable learning experience (besides, the material is so fascinating that you won't be able to help it), you certainly may discuss the topics related to the problems with others. This brings us to the next bullet item...
Cheating will not be tolerated. All homework assignments (including programming projects) and exams are to be done individually. If you have problems in understanding the material or doing an assignment, please schedule an appointment to see me. If you chance cheating and get caught, you will be reported to the dean and fail the course. It's not worth it. Be sure you read the Rutgers policy on academic integrity. It is your responsibility to ensure that your passwords are well-guarded, directories protected, and printouts do not fall into other hands.
office hours
I'm here to help you learn. If you have any questions or problems with the course material, assignments, or other matters in which I may be able to help you, feel free to contact me. You can send me mail (I'll usually respond within a day) or schedule an appointment during my office hours. Don't just show up since I may not be there.
pagers and cell phones
Ringing, beeping, or buzzing cell phones, PDAs, games, watches, and pagers are disruptive. Please turn these devices off upon the start of class. Violators will be charged a $20 penalty for the first offense, a $40 penalty for the second offense and confiscation of the device. Further offenses will be fined at $20·2(n-1).