cs240e: Data Structures and Data Management (Enriched), Winter 2023

Skip to: Electronic communication, Email, Piazza, Textbooks, Math background

Electronic communication in CS240E

cs240e uses the web, piazza and email extensively for communication. The kind of information conveyed with each varies:

Since going on-line, the course has also made use of LEARN for

It is important that you be able to use all four of these resources easily. The rest of this page provides information on how to get set up to use email and Piazza as well as guidelines for using them.


Every UW student has an email address of the form userid@uwaterloo.ca. For example, bwbecker@uwaterloo.ca.

It is very important that you receive and read the email sent to this address regularly.

You may have already received information about UW email and may have taken steps to set it up. If so, please consider your past decisions in light of the advice provided here. You probably already have an email address that you use regularly to communicate with friends and perhaps parents. The goal is to make it easy to use all of your email accounts. There are three main options to consider:

  1. Ignore the problem and try to remember to check each account individually. In practise, this likely won't happen and we strongly advise you to not use this 'solution.'
  2. Forward the email from one account to the other one. In practise, this probably means forwarding your UW email to one of your existing accounts. This works well except for two issues:
    • We have noted that students often change email addresses. If/when you change, it's easy to forget that email is being forwarded and to then lose that mail.
    • More seriously, sometimes UW sends out similar email to a lot of students. To Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail, this looks like spam and, depending on settings, may not be delivered.
  3. Use an email client (program) such as Thunderbird or Apple Mail to read the mail from all of your accounts. They can be set up to consolidate all of your mail into a single mailbox or to keep each account separate. The disadvantage is that if you're not at your own computer, you need to use another approach such as a web interface to check your mail. GMail supports this option very well. Hotmail only supports POP3, an older protocol. It works, but not as slick as GMail. Yahoo requires a paid subscription for this feature.


Piazza is a good way to discuss and ask questions about the course materials, including assignments, in a public forum. It enables you to learn from the questions of others, and to avoid asking questions that have already been asked and answered. It also provides a forum for course personnel to make announcements and clarifications about assignments and other course-related topics. Students are expected to read Piazza on a regular basis.

Enrolling in Piazza

You will be sent an invitation to your UW email address. It will include a link to a web page where you may complete the enrolment process.

Piazza Guidelines

Here are some guidelines that you should keep in mind when posting items to Piazza:

  1. Please remember that everything you post is public - everyone enrolled in cs240e will be reading it. As a result, in any posts you make, do not give away any details on how to do any of the assignments. This could be construed as cheating, and you will be responsible as the poster.

    If you have questions about an assignment that require you give specific details of your solution, you may still post to Piazza, but check This is a private post - only visible to class instructors (and tutors!). If the instructor and/or tutor feels that posting it to everyone is appropriate, he or she will do so.

  2. Keep posts related to the course, concise, and topical. As students are all expected to read Piazza on a regular basis, try not to waste the time of readers.
  3. Please be diligent about attempting to find the answer before you post a question. Piazza includes excellent search facilities -- use them! Scan all of the questions that have already been asked. Better yet, read them along with the answers. You'll learn lots!

    This avoids duplicate questions, which are frustrating to everyone. It's more work to answer two questions than to answer one, there may be conflicting advice, students need to sift through more entries to find what they need, etc. Please do all you can to avoid duplicates.

  4. Make it easy for other students to find your question -- just in case they have the same question and want to see the answer!
    • Use a meaningful subject heading. "Help" and even "Help for A3P3" is not very meaningful. "Clarify parameter order for A3P3" is much better.
    • Tag your post with all the applicable tags. Start a tag by typing the hash character (#). A drop-down list of tags that are currently in use will appear. Use one of them, if applicable. If not, create a new one. However, any tag you create should be applicable to many posts not just yours.
  5. Please don't post things to the group that provide no useful information to readers. Posts like "I have the same question as this one just posted", or "I agree with this comment" serve no useful purpose, and waste people's time.
  6. Keep complaints about the course out of Piazza or mark them with the This is a private post - only visible to class instructors checkbox. If you have a concern about anything to do with the course, the best way to deal with it, and to get results, is to take it to the tutor or the professor. Piazza is not a complaint forum.

Reading Piazza

After you've finished the sign-up process, simply go to Piazza. You'll probably want to bookmark this in your browser.


The following e-textbook is available on LEARN:

The following books are on reserve in the DC library: