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IS Department Statement of Expectations

Last update: Fall Semester, 2004


Study Skills and Time Management
Missed Examinations and In-Class Projects
Use of Email
Office Hours
Respectful Behavior
Academic Honesty and Integrity


Study Skills and Time Management

Planning and effective time management are essential skills for survival as IS students and as IS professionals. While the requirements of the IS core courses may not appear difficult at first glance, you will find them challenging and, at times, time consuming. It is essential that you make every effort to keep up with the readings and assignments.

Buy and read the assigned textbooks. If you want help from us, you will have to show us what books (and what pages) you have used for guidance in answering your question or solving your problem.

You should come to class prepared, since class time will not be used to read to you from the texbooks, but will primarily be used to answer questions and to clarify difficult or challenging material and concepts.

Manage your time effectively and bear in mind that you are ultimately responsible for your own performance in these courses. Plan to start each project or assignment early so that you finish on time and at high quality. This is your best strategy to have time for questions and to react to any problems. We do not want to hear excuses for failure to complete your work on time or at low quality. Your procrastination or failure to manage your time effectively is not the instructor's fault or the instructor's problem and will never be considered as an extenuating circumstance for poor performance.

Allow plenty of time to finish your projects and assignments - you know that things can and do go wrong. Debugging a programming assignment can take some time; allow for it. Last minute emergencies or crises due to poor time management or poor study habits on your part do not constitute emergencies for your instructors or the teaching assistants. Do not expect us to grant extensions, special exemptions, waivers, or other considerations that give you breaks not available to the others in the class.



Although we strive for consistency and accuracy in grading, we know that grading mistakes can occur.  These mistakes can help you or hurt you.  You should focus on the overall quality of your work, and not waste energy in minor grading arguments that ultimately have no significance or material consequences.  Since you will be evaluated on your achievements throughout the semester, your overall performance will be accurately assessed. 

No regrades will be considered if the resultant change in score is expected to be 5% or less, unless there is an obvious error in tabulation or overlooked material. We will gladly correct all errors in tabulation. Beyond that, however, it is not our responsibility or intent to guess your intentions or to imagine how your unstated assumptions, ambiguities or omissions are to be interpreted. We only grade what is given to us; not what is to be inferred or assumed. Regrades will not be considered on the basis that the faculty or graders did not divine or understand your unstated assumptions or intentions, or did not interpret your words or your work or fill in gaps or omissions as you imagined they would.

All regrading requests must be submitted to the lead graduate teaching assistant and accompanied by a written statement carefully highlighting and explaining the items you feel were misgraded within one week of when the assignment or examination is returned.  You must explain how the contested items meet both the spirit and the letter of the assignment or effectively answer an examination question, and propose a revised score. When we receive your request for regrading, we may review the entire project, assignment or examination.  Your ultimate score on the project may therefore increase, decrease, or remain unchanged when we review it. Be advised, however, that it is not our policy to grant regrade credit for your failure to make the original items unambiguous, complete, correct and clear. Lengthy or complex statements and explanations of how we should have interpreted your work are generally prima facie evidence that the work was appropriately graded in the first place.


Missed Work and Examinations

There will be no make up opportunities for unexcused absences from any examination. If your personal circumstance requires you to miss an exam, you must make arrangements with your instructor at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled date and time of the examination. Last minute emergencies will be accommodated, at the instructor's discretion, with authentic, substantial, written documentation of your situation. Expect that any makeup examinations or other accommodations will be different, and more difficult than the original examination. If you arrive late for any examination, you will not be given extra time to complete it.

There will be no penalty-free make up opportunities for projects that are too late without authentic, substantial documentation of your situation. There will no make up opportunities for graded in-class projects, exercises or quizzes.


Use of Email

Please be advised that sending email to your instructors does not create a responsibility or obligation to respond to it. Sending us email does not shift any responsibility from you to us; you are still responsible for the on-time, high quality completion of assignments and projects. Please reserve your email for matters that actually require our attention. In any case, do not expect a response to non-emergency email in under 48 hours.

Do not send complicated questions or requests to us via email. Replies will not be given for email questions or problems requiring lengthy (more than a couple of sentences) or complicated responses. These types of communications should be done in person. Email will not be used to send grade reports.

Do not send attachments, listings of code, partially completed work, and the like via email. We will not review it or help you debug it without your presence.


Office hours

The purpose of our office hours is to provide you with an opportunity for additional conversation, guidance or help. We look forward to meeting with you and getting to know you during our office hours.

Come early with questions and problems. Do not expect quality interactions with the faculty or the teaching assistants at the last minute before an assignment or project is due.

If you have problems related to a project or assignment, you must come prepared when you seek advice or help from the faculty or the teaching assistants. Bring hard copies of all documents - code, reports, assignments - you need to discuss. Bring all relevant textbooks and other reference materials; you must demonstrate the steps you have taken on your own to resolve the problem or question. You will be asked to show us specifically which pages in the textbooks or materials you have referenced to resolve your problem or question. For programming assignments, you must bring fully commented code and explain and document all test cases you have executed and their results, with specific outcomes or errors and error messages identified. You must be prepared to walk through your code, explaining in detail, the logic, organization, and purpose and function of each instruction.

Under no conditions will we complete or pregrade any assignment or project for you. We will not write or debug code or verify the correctness of any project, assignment, or answer. We will help you debug your own code and suggest how you may verify the correctness or completeness of your assignment.

We will never download any materials to our office or home computers. Any demonstration, if required, must be fully accessible through any web browser.

If other people are waiting for us, we reserve the right to limit your time to 15 or 20 minutes during any office hours visit.


Basic Respectful Behavior

You are expected to be fully respectful of your instructors, teaching assistants, the IS office staff and each other. Remember that you will be with us for several semesters - we will get to know each other well. Negative impressions are difficult to forget - always interact with anyone involved in the IS program in a respectful, positive way. We will do likewise.

We intend to start each class on time, and finish on time. Be on time and do not leave class early unless you have informed your instructor in advance. Do not attend any class with the expectation of leaving after the quiz or other in-class, for credit activity. The class is large; people arriving late and leaving early is distracting, disruptive, and rude.

The acoustics in the classroom are very good, which, unfortunately means that the entire class as well as the instructors can hear you talking or whispering during class. Please keep your conversations to a minimum while class is in session. Turn off cell phones before class begins.

We have a zero tolerance policy for inappropriate language and racist or sexist language in any context in these courses. Any project assignment, documentation, code, database or files turned in for credit containing such language, comments, or references will incur an automatic 30% penalty without exception.


Academic Honesty and Integrity

CMU students are expected to follow the ethical guidelines and cheating and plagiarism policies defined in the Student Handbook or in The Word. This material is available in hardcopy and on the CMU web site. Please read it carefully! You will be held accountable for violations of these guidelines and policies that come to my attention.

While we encourage you to be helpful to your classmates, you must understand that the work you turn in for evaluation or credit must be your own. You are welcome to talk with other students about general course content, requirements, and technology issues. You are not welcome to offer, or to ask for, substantial, material assistance to, or from, other students in completing specific aspects of graded assignments for individual credit. If there is any doubt in your mind about a particular situation, ask yourself this question: "How would I feel if I observed another student or students engaging in this particular behavior?"

[Note from Prof. H (Spring 2015): viewing someone's code, sharing code with another, or giving specific instructions, verbally or in writing, for work in any of the phases is definitely out of bounds. Do not post your code to a public repository where it is available to all or a private repository where it is viewable by other students. If there is any doubt if it is allowed please see Prof. H or Alex Egan (one of the Head TAs) to get clarity on the matter. Better safe than sorry.]

Any student who turns in work for credit that is identical, or similar beyond coincidence, to that of another student may face appropriate disciplinary action at either the department, college, or university level. Your reputation among your peers and among the CMU faculty is one of your most valuable assets. Do not risk damage to your reputation or academic career by engaging in behavior that could be interpreted as dishonest or unethical.

Carnegie Mellon University Code from Student Handbook (statement on academic integrity)

"Students at Carnegie Mellon, because they are members of an academic community dedicated to the achievement of excellence, are expected to meet the highest standards of personal, ethical, and moral conduct possible.

These standards require personal integrity, a commitment to honesty without compromise, as well as truth without equivocation, and a willingness to place the good of the community above the good of the self. Obligations once undertaken must be met, commitments kept.

Rarely can the life of a student in an academic community be so private that it will not affect the community as a whole or that the standards above do not apply.

The discovery, advancement and communication of knowledge are not possible without a commitment to these standards. Creativity cannot exist without acknowledgment of the creativity of others. New knowledge cannot be developed without credit for prior knowledge.

Without the ability to trust that these principles will be observed, an academic community cannot exist. The commitment of its faculty, staff and students to these standards contributes to the high respect in which the Carnegie Mellon degree is held. Students must not destroy that respect by their failure to meet these standards. Students who cannot meet them should voluntarily withdraw from the university."