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Course Policies

Table of contents

  1. Communication
  2. Lecture
  3. Recitation
  4. Office Hours
  5. Required Textbook
  6. Grading
  7. Late Day Policy
  8. Extensions
  9. Exams


Please register for the course Piazza page. We will use Piazza (not email!) for nearly all communication in the course. You should use Piazza to ask questions and contact TAs, although you may choose to email Harry directly for sensitive questions.


Lectures are Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30-5:00PM Eastern in LRSM Auditorium. Attendance from students in Philadelphia is expected. Lectures will be simultaneously broadcast on Zoom and recordings will be made available to all students shortly after the end of class.

There will be a brief, simple quiz released at the end of each class session. You will have 24 hours to complete the quiz. This will count as your attendance grade to make sure that you are keeping pace with the course.


Recitation will be held on Thursdays from 5:15-6:45PM in DRL A6. These sections will begin with a brief review session, followed by about an hour to work on a problem set. These problem sets can be completed collaboratively and are designed to be completed within an hour.

Recitation work is due 24 hours later at 6:45PM on Fridays. Attendance at recitation is not mandatory due to the fact that many students are learning from different locations and timezones around the world. Nevertheless, both remote and in-person attendance at recitation is strongly encouraged for all students who are able to join. This is a valuable time to not only improve your skills in the course but also to meet your fellow students and the TAs. We will use to facilitate collaboration among remote students during Recitations.

Office Hours

Office Hours will be held throughout the week, hopefully suitable for multiple timezones.

Times for OH TBD, announcements will be made on Piazza and the final schedule will eventually be visible on the “Schedule” tab.

Required Textbook

We will use an online interactive textbook for this course. The book is called a “zybook” from publisher Zyante. It is mandatory that you purchase access to this book for the Fall semester. The book has a number of interactive exercises that will be useful for getting you practice in programming; there is, after all, no better way to learn.

  1. Sign in or create an account at
  2. Enter zyBook code: UPENNCIT591SmithFall2021
  3. Subscribe

A subscription is $77. Subscriptions will last until Jan 01, 2022. There may be some options that allow you to keep access to the material for longer.


Component Weight
Homework 60%
Midterm Exam I 10%
Midterm Exam II 10%
Final Project 10%
Lecture Quizzes 2%
Recitation Work 8%

Late Day Policy

Each student has 4 late days for the entire semester. If you submit a homework late, you lose at least 1 late day. A delay of more than 1 day is OK, but it will further reduce your balance. Late days cannot be taken in fractions: 24 hours and 1 second late is 2 full late days expended.

You may not use more than 2 late days on any assignment. Submitting more than 2 days late or submitting without any late day balance remaining will result in a 50% deduction of your grade, even if this is not automatically reflected on Gradescope.

Some notes:

  • You can use late days automatically without asking.
  • Earlier homework assignments are generally easier than later ones.
  • Late days should not be used for health-related issues. See below for more details.


If you are experiencing a health issue, which may include mental health issues or issues relating to avoiding/preventing Covid-19, make a private post on Piazza and we will grant you an extension. Late days and extensions cannot be combined.

Please note that you must ask for an extension and get it approved before the assignment is due. Extension requests submitted or viewed after the assignment deadline will not be granted. Note that this means that asking for an extension shortly before the due date of an assignment is not advisable since the course staff are not responsible for arbitrarily fast turnaround on Piazza posts.


There will be two exams in the course. Both are midterm exams, which is to say that there is no completely cumulative final exam. In its place will be an extended final homework that serves as a final project.

The exams will be delivered online and due 24 hours after they are released. The dates of the Exams are tentatively October 13 and December 1.

All collaboration on or discussion about exam questions during the release window is strictly forbidden.