FALL 2020 COS FAQs
Please continue to monitor information distributed by the department and university in the coming weeks. It is subject to change, as we are dealing with an extremely fluid situation.
(This page was last updated Thu Jul 16 12:32:32 EDT 2020.)
Here are some decisions regarding classes, scheduling and grading that are specific to the Computer Science department and are in addition to the rules and guidelines issued by the Dean of the College here: https://fall2020.princeton.edu/info/undergraduate-students/faqs
If you have questions or suggestions, please send them to JP Singh or Brian Kernighan (directors of undergrad studies) or to Colleen Kenny (undergrad manager).
For all students, including those who are in residence on campus:
- All COS classes will be online only.
- All precepts, office hours, and other interactions will be online only.
- Pair programming or team programming must be done online, not in person, even if some or all of the participants are physically on campus.
Grading (for undergraduate students)
- Almost all COS classes will be PDF-optional; a handful may be PDF-only. (BSE Prerequisites see below)
- All independent work, including senior theses, will be graded regularly, i.e., with letter grades,
- Grad courses will have the same rules as undergrad courses.
- We strongly recommend that students take COS courses for a grade where possible, to maximize their engagement with and learning from the courses. We do not know how employers or graduate programs will assess your work during unprecedented semesters like last spring and this fall.
Can you P/D/F B.S.E. prerequisites? Courses taken to fulfill B.S.E. general math, physics, chemistry, and computing requirements will normally be taken on a graded basis. We recognize that individual circumstances may create a challenging remote learning environment, which may make it advisable to take one or more of these courses on a P/D/F basis. You can request such consideration by contacting the SEAS associate dean for undergraduate affairs. (firstname.lastname@example.org) Eventually, there is a form you will need to fill out. What are the risks of taking a BSE math-science-computing course P/D/F? If you take a basic math-science-computing course P/D/F, then the risk is that you won't make it a priority and not master the material fully, so that will have consequences in courses that rely on such knowledge. So the workload doesn't really go down.
What is the time period in which you can choose to elect P/D/F? You can elect to take a course P/D/F between October 14 and November 4. After November 4, no changes are allowed.
More to come on this topic, but some classes may have a precept marked "NSM." That "precept" will be scheduled after students have signed up, trying to take into account time zones, etc. It may, of course, be split into multiple actual precepts.
- COS 484, Natural Language Processing, will be offered in Spring 2021.
- There will be a somewhat different set of IW seminars, and you will have to give your new preferences, sometime in August.
Comments and Suggestions
There were a number of excellent comments and suggestions during the first town hall, shown below. Please keep these coming!
- I really liked 126's sway precept option in the spring. Having the ability to go at my own pace through the content was really helpful (kind of the same idea as the recorded lectures) and the interactivity of it was also beneficial.
- Based on my experience last semester, videos (with animations and the professor's voice in the background) were significantly better than recorded zoom lectures. It was done for COS 302 and COS 324.
- Sometimes it's difficult to ask questions over Zoom, especially in a larger class. Also, if lectures are recorded, questions obviously can't be asked in real-time. It'd definitely be helpful to ensure that each class has some sort of discussion forum set up so students can ask questions on lectures and other topics.
- One of my classes had a Google form to fill out for attendance and it had a spot for any questions that popped up during lecture that you had and they would be answered as a Piazza post before the next lecture.
- https://joinglimpse.io/ is a great virtual networking platform that could be used for events.
- I thought the graphics TA office hours queue worked well! The graphics office hours queue was implemented by Will Sweeney and Riley Bova.
- Having a discussion platform (like ed) available for each class was really helpful last semester to ask questions easily with recorded lectures.
- As far as what to think about: if COS 333 is held, posting ideas for web apps that might help the student population in this new online format would be helpful (i.e., partner finder)