CS 492/692 - Spring 2020 - Message 4

As was the case in earlier years, a large part of your final grade is based on an evaluation of your written assignments (mostly essays of varying length). The grading scheme for assignments will be posted to the newsgroup but for most assignments we think in terms of a letter grade (e.g. B+ or A-) and then covert to a numeric value for the final calculation. A Piazza post in the Prof. Cohen Folder will show the conversion for each letter grade (e.g. A- is an 83 percent). It will also indicate that I use some artificial intermediate letter grades to distinguish talent (i.e I add an A-borderline with a value of 80 and an Aborderline for a mark of 86, in addition to A- at 83, A at 89 and A+ at 95). I grade the first 4 assignments myself and try to give lots of feedback.

On two occasions you fill out a sheet which counts towards your course grade. For Assignment 2, you answer two short questions in the space provided on the sheet (so brief responses) and there is not background reading required. For Assignment 5B, you will be provided with an essay written by a classmate and an evaluation form with blank spaces for comments and your completed sheet counts towards your class participation grade. We will manage the submission of all assignments in LEARN. More detail about the orchestration of Assignment 5B will be provided, later.

The final assessment towards your final grade comes from Role Playing Exercises. As in previous years, each student will be part of an RPE team (with a chance to specify preferences) and each team will be asked to post a written position statement, with the two (opposing) teams required to come together after the RPE to draft a very brief joint communique, which is also posted. Whereas in previous years each team did an oral presentation and replied to questions being asked, with the online version we will eliminate the oral presentation and judge RPE teams on how well they respond to questions; there will also be an opportunity for a brief synopsis and a brief conclusion, from each team. Skills of thinking on your feet will be in play. Students receive feedback on their RPEs about a week after this takes place, but grades for RPEs are not determined until the very last class of the term (so that TAs can judge the collection of RPEs as a whole). Note that TAs connect with me to discuss possible grades for RPEs before they are decided in finality; I also give them some guidelines for grading.

Grades for Assignments 1 to 4 will be available a certain period of time after they have been completed, with a real effort to give feedback on A1 before A3 is to be submitted. Grades for Assignments 5 and 6 will only be decided after the term is over (a number of weeks after, to allow everyone time to grade). At that time Class Participation grades will be decided (as these incorporate evaluation of your skill in analyzing an essay submitted by a peer (A5B)).