Course FAQ (Fall 2019)

The following are answers to frequently-asked questions from previous semesters of the course. You’re responsible for knowing any content on this page on the first day of the course; we also may add to this page as the semester goes along, but you aren’t responsible for knowing anything added after day 1.

I haven’t completed my foundational requirement. Can I still take this course?

You can. When we filmed the video advocating finishing your foundational requirement first, this course didn’t count toward it; that was changed about a year later.

That said, we still don’t recommend taking this course early in your OMSCS career. You’ll get a lot of ideas for what you want to work on while enrolled in your own classes, so waiting until later can help you brainstorm. But that’s just a recommendation: there is no requirement to wait.

Will I be penalized for failing to adhere to JDF on my submissions?

Yes and no. The primary purpose of JDF is standardize a document format in a way that lets us give useful expectations about assignment submission lengths that include both text and figures. So, there will be major deductions if you deviate from JDF in a way that breaks that purpose, such as deviations from the prescribed margin size, text size, typeface, and line spacing.

That said, the secondary purpose of JDF is to make your submissions look clean and professional, and to prepare you for the potential world of academic writing where you’re expected to adhere to document formats. So, if there are any cosmetic deviations from JDF that jump out immediately, they may be subject to small deductions. That would include things like: the formatting of section headers, paragraph spacing, and caption formatting.

We won’t be going through your document with a ruler ensuring that your spacing is exactly 1.26 instead of 1.25 or anything like that, though. If deviations can’t be identified during the normal course of viewing the document, you’ll be fine.

If I previously enrolled in this class and withdrew/failed, can I reuse my work?

If you already started this class and completed some of the assignments, it’s okay to resubmit them: we don’t consider that self-plagiarism. That said, we offer no guarantee that the assignment descriptions haven’t changed, so make sure that your submission meets the current criteria.