Lectures are scheduled for three fifty-minute slots per week (MWF 8:30-9:20 (sec2) ; MWF 9:30-10:20 (sec1) ). The class will be run more like a discussion seminar than a standard lecture. Students are expected to do the preparatory readings (as listed in the timetable) in advance; discussion will commence using those readings as a base. The instructor may communicate for five minutes here and there in order to set the stage, make a technical point, summarize, or concentrate attention. Student participation is important not only to facilitate the learning process but because marks are assessed for class participation.
Each team will take the role of a particular group with concerns in that area; the teams will typically have conflicting or opposed views. The initial scenario will be outlined by the instructor. Groups have the latitude to make adjustments to the initial scenario, including the exact wording of each side's position. Both sides must agree with the final wording and the revisions must be approved by the TA. This means that both sides should have a clear agreement as to the topic of the RPE. If the group elects to revise the wording of the scenario, it must post revised scenarios to the newsgroup no later than one week prior to the RPE.
For RPEs held on a Monday, each team will prepare a position paper (about 1500 to 2000 words) for 4pm the previous Thursday (with the due dates for non-Monday RPEs shown here). This will generally involve background research; it is also possible to conduct interviews with actual members of the groups being represented. Students will post position papers to the newsgroup (in the Folder for your RPE). It is acceptable to post a link to a site where the position paper resides. PDF is preferred (compared to Word documents). Format the document to leave room for comments from the TA.
Other students are expected to read the refined scenario and position papers in preparation for the in-class exercise. They are expected to be in class during the RPE to be part of the discussion and to consider posing questions for the teams. When the class time for the RPE begins, each team will be asked to briefly present their position in a six-minute timeslot; the TA will randomly choose either team A or team B to begin. These presentations should not simply repeat points in the position papers, but should lead naturally into the discussion to follow. Then a question-answering phase will begin, where students who are not presenting that day will be invited to ask a question in the manner of a public forum, to be answered either by team A or team B or both. The TAs will decide who is invited to ask a question. This task requires the RPE teams to think on their feet. The quality of the questions asked in class time will be used to judge the class participation of the audience members (rest of the class). Towards the end of the class time, each team will then be asked to provide their concluding remarks, 2 minutes each per team. This should be an effort to clearly articulate to the audience the position being taken and its overall worth. Note that this role playing exercise is explicitly not a debate (and vitriol should not be directed towards the other team). Instead, each side portays a position and adheres to that position.
Please note that it is also important to allow all team members an opportunity to demonstrate their skill in communication, either in helping to provide the team's initial remarks, in responding to questions from the audience or in delivering the final conclusion.
Taking into account the points made in class, the teams are required to go off and produce, by Friday afternoon at 4pm (or alternate dates for non-Monday RPEs indicated here), a joint communique outlining what they can agree on and a common course of action (similar to a Union Negotiation). This communique will be posted to the newsgroup (in the Folder for your RPE). We are looking for some effort to have the two sides articulate clearly where they have found a middle ground. There is no set limit for this document, but it is expected to be moderate in size, on the order of a page, perhaps.
After reading the joint communique, students who want to provide feedback on the newsgroup should do so no later than the Monday following the RPE in question (or alternate dates for non-Monday RPEs, indicated here). A mark will be assigned to the presenters, based on the position papers, the discussion in class, and the final communique on the points of:
The 20 marks for the RPE will break down as: 8 for oral presentation, 10 for position paper and 2 for joint communique.
It is expected that all members on one side will receive the same mark, but exceptional circumstances may be brought to the attention of the TA, so that team members who do not contribute can potentially lose marks. The teams presenting on opposite sides on the same date do not necessarily receive the same mark.
||Position Paper||Joint Communique||Class Posting Feedback|
|Wed May 25||Fri May 20||Mon May 30||Wed Jun 1||Wed Jul 6||Mon Jul 4||Mon Jul 11||Wed Jul 13|
|Wed Jul 13||Mon Jul 11||Mon Jul 18||Wed Jul 20|
Any questions about assignments should be directed to
firstname.lastname@example.org for expediency with a REQUIRED cc to email@example.com, regardless of your section. Requests for RPEs are
sent to Gaurav with a very CLEAR subject indicating your SECTION (830AM or 930AM)
with firstname.lastname@example.org as the email address.
Questions about RPEs
should be directed to the same TAs listed above for your section
(Ben for the 830am class and Gaurav for the 930am class ).
Discussion on RPEs should be posted to the
Students are always allowed to post to the RPE folder with comments,
following the uploading of the Joint Communique, up to certain deadlines
which are posted in the Structure document.
After the deadline, posts in that Folder will be ignored.
Note as well that each section will also be split into two GROUPS (as of Week 3). That split will be done by the instructor/TAs; this will be done to try to keep RPE teammates together on the same day. (The split into groups will be done as long as class enrolment is sufficiently high). The GROUPS arrangement only requires your participation on ONE of the days of the week for discussion of the Topic of the Week (e.g. Wed and not Fri or Fri not Wed for the week).
The number one rule for CS492 in Spring 2022 is to stay away from
class if you are feeling at all unwell; please inform both
rcohen and gaurav.sahu @ uwaterloo.ca in this case.
For RPEs where you are the audience, we allow you to post
to the newsgroup if you are ill; for RPEs where you are a
presenter, we allow the RPE to proceed if at least one
team member is present. We have dates towards the end of
term that we can use to reschedule RPEs where all teammates
have been ill. For class discussions, some of these are online
and you can hopefully still be "in class" if at home and
if you are too ill to do so, then we will also allow you
to post to the newsgroup afterwards with your comments (one post please, for the non-RPE dates).
Always err on the side of caution and inform us if unwell please.
If uWaterloo asks for courses to be delivered in person, CS492 will follow this rule for the majority of its classes. Note that this is entirely distinct from the edict for CS492 in Spring 2022: that anyone who is feeling unwell, even in the slightest, or who has been exposed to someone with Covid and could potentially be coming to class unwell, is asked to stay away from class. This rule is what is asked for CS492, distinct from any weaker requirements to avoid classes, given by uWaterloo.
A number of the classes in CS492 in Spring 2022 will be designated as online classes. This includes: a guest speaker on assisting disadvantaged users, a class to discuss the effects of tech during the pandemic, and two classes which will be organized to use online breakout rooms (on gender, on video games). A post to the Instructor folder on Piazza will explain access to the Zoom and etiquette.
This will also include 5 classes in the middle of the term where only half the class comes on a given day to discuss the topic of the week (privacy, work part 1, work part 2, computer-mediated communication and ethics workshop). This will enable students to experience CS492 discussion both as in-person and on-line attendees, to then reflect on this experience for their Assignment 6. We have a rare opportunity to be a kind of "living lab" to explore the longstanding CS492 topic of whether postsecondary education needs to be in person or can function quite well instead online. All classes in the timetable which will be delivered online have the designation (onl) at the end of the line.
Note as well: if uWaterloo advises courses to be entirely online, CS492 will have its classes delivered on Zoom, with options as well to post on Piazza and no one will be required to be in person.
Finally, if other classes at uWaterloo are continuing in-person, those students trying to get to a class nearby immediately after CS492 will be still be welcome to sit in MC4040 during their timeslot, to launch the Zoom for any online classes. We just ask you to be respectful of others in the classroom at the same time.