This course will be run as a graduate reading seminar. The goal of
the course is for you to be able to learn and synthesize as many of
the readings as possible and apply them to what you are interested in.
Hence your grade will be based on:
I reserve the right to change this scheme at any time.
This course will be run with a fair but flexible grading system; I
will scale the class grades up if I deem them to be too low, but I
will not scale them to make grades lower.
You are expected to read all of the papers that will be read
for class. Reading and thinking about the papers before class will
enable us to have fruitful discussion. Hence beforehand you are
required to read the paper
and comment on it using the WebCT discussion list for the paper. In order to allow the presenter to have
enough time to look over what everyone has said, you must post your
comments on a paper by 8pm the day before the paper is to be
A good paper reflection will cover the following points:
- The motivations for the work
- The paper's strengths and weaknesses
- Questions about the paper
- How were the results validated? How would you validate them?
The postings will be graded on a 0, 1, 2, 3 grading scale:
To ensure that we all agree about what consists of a 0, 1, 2, or 3
review, I've provided a set of sample
reviews for a
paper that we won't be covering. I also will grade the first
day's reading assignments so that you can have an idea of what to expect, but
I will not count that grade.
- A 3 is given if you post something that shows that you have a very
good grasp of the paper and if you are asking some really good
questions that show that you're coming to grips with the meaning of
the paper. Answering the above questions is not sufficient for
A 2 is given if you post something that shows that you have a basic
understanding of most of the paper (not understanding all of the
details is okay, as long as you demonstrate that you've tried) and
have made a good attempt to analyze the paper (note: good answers to
the above questions is a sufficient but not necessary condition for
receiving a 2).
A 1 is given if you post something that shows that you have made an
honest effort but fail to either provide any analysis or fail to show
that you understand the basic concepts in the paper.
A 0 is given if you post nothing or clearly have spent very little
time on it.
A 3 is worth 100%. A 2 is worth 90%. A 1 is worth 75%. Everyone gets three
free zeros on papers,
plus you do not have to post for the paper you present (though you do
have to post for the paper you lead the discussion for). Beyond the
three free zeros, I may consider allowing you to turn in some
reviews late under extenuating circumstances, but you
must contact me ahead of time, and I reserve the right to
refuse your request. Note that I will grade this as dropping your
lowest three grades, regardless of if they are zeros or not.
Presentations & Discussions
While I will run some classes (particularly at the beginning of the
term), for the most part class time will be spent on student
presentations and discussions. Presentations will be paired, so that
each paper is being presented by two people. The first person is
responsible for discussing the technical points of the paper. The
second person is responsible for leading a discussion of the paper
with respect to the related work (either that read during the class or
other papers) or in the context of the class - how does this relate to
your data, and the points that people have raised in their class
postings? Both people are responsible for seeing me at least two days
in advance of the presentation to ensure that they understand the
material for the paper that they are presenting.
Each person is responsible for presenting two papers; one as the
technical discusser and one as the context discusser. Like the
postings, they will be graded on a 0, 1, 2, 3 scale. Different grades
can be given for two people presenting the same paper. You will
not be graded on your public speaking skills. (A word on improving your public speaking for those
who are particularly anxious).
A 3 is worth 100%. A 2 is worth 90%. A 1 is worth 75%. A 0 will
result in a drop of your final grade by 25%. If you know ahead of
time that you will miss your appointed time, if you can arrange a swap
with someone, there is no penalty as long as you inform me ahead of
time. If an emergency comes up you must contact me as soon as
possible to let me know that you will not be able to make it, and
I may allow you to make the grade up in some other fashion.
Hint: a paper deadline that you've known about for months is
not an emergency.
- A 3 is given if you have done a great job of your presentation.
For the person doing technical content, this involves catching the key
highlights of the paper, and telling us enough details about the work
to get us excited about it without dragging us through all the gory
details. For the person in charge of context, this involves
either thoroughly exploring the discussion points that have
been posted about the paper, or relating the work to the broader
context of the course, whether that's through discussing your own
data, previous readings through the class, or talking about other
related work that I provide.
- A 2 is given if you have done a good, but not great, job of your
presentation. For the person doing technical content, this involves
catching most of the key highlights of the paper, but perhaps missing
a few. It could also mean that you've mis-judged the presentation and
spent too much time on the gory details. For the persion in charge of
context, this may mean that you've collected some questions, but have
selected questions which cannot prompt discussion (e.g.,
questions for which only I can possibly know the answer, or to which
the answer is a simple "yes" or "no").
- A 1 is given if you make a presentation that is only moderately
prepared. If I make suggestions to you, and you do not follow them,
you are in danger of receiving a 1.
- A 0 is given if you do not show up or if you are very unprepared.
This class is a project class, and one of the major components will be
the project. You can find more information about the project here.
Throughout the course, particularly at the beginning, I will give
small assignments to make sure that you understand some concepts that
will be fundamental to the class.
This class will be much more exciting for all involved if you share
your perspective on the materials discussed. I will not be issuing
grades for participation on a daily basis; I will base this part of
your grade on your participation across the entire course. If you are
concerned about your participation levels, please come talk to me.
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The Department of Computer Science
University of British Columbia
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