I. Academic Honesty
This course will adhere to the Academic Integrity Policy of the Colorado State University General Catalog Student Responsibilities. Please review the material at this link. In short, you are expected to not give, receive, or use any unauthorized assistance for any course work (past exams, homework solutions from past students, online or printed solutions to book problems, etc.).
The policies below provide additional specific guidelines for this course.
II. General and Homework
- You are responsible for everything you miss in class (handouts, notes, assignments, etc.). Extra handouts can be printed from the course website (see handouts).
- You are required to work on homework in a group of up to 4 people. Groups will be formed by the beginning of the second week of the semester based on survey forms you complete. I recommend the following approach to group work: try to work the problems individually first, then compare your approaches and results with your group members, then work together to settle on the correct approach and final answers. DO NOT DIVIDE THE PROBLEMS UP WITHIN YOUR GROUP — EVERY PERSON SHOULD TRY TO WORK EVERY PROBLEM.
- Submit only a single neat homework solution per group with the group number and each person’s full name listed.
- At the end of the semester you will evaluate individuals in your group, and your evaluations can be used to adjust grades (up or down) where appropriate.
- Any extra requirements discussed during the homework hints sessions in class must be addressed in your solutions (i.e., the extra requirements are in addition to the book question requirements).
- IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU SHOW ALL STEPS IN YOUR WORK. GRADING WILL BE BASED ON THE COMPLETENESS, CLARITY, AND CORRECTNESS OF YOUR WORK, NOT JUST THE ANSWERS YOU PROVIDE.
- Submitted homework assignments must be original work. Do not copy work from other groups, past students, solution manuals, other books, etc.
- Homework must be submitted before the beginning of class the day it is due. If you have trouble getting to class early, you should turn in your homework the night before or earlier in the morning (by sliding it under Dr. Dave’s office door). Late work will not be accepted without penalty, unless there are extreme unanticipatable and unavoidable circumstances. The late penalty is based on when the work is turned in (to Dr. Dave, or under his office door) as follows: during or after class = -10%; 1-2 hours late = -15%; 2-4 hours late = -25%; 4-8 hours late = -50%; next day before class time = -75%, more than 1 day late = -100% (no credit). Homework may not be submitted in parts … you must turn in what you have by the deadline (for no penalty) or submit everything late (with a penalty).
- Electronic homework submittals are not allowed. You must submit a printed (and/or handwritten) and stapled document with everything in the correct order.
- You are encouraged (but not required) to use software tools (e.g., MathCAD, MATLAB, Maple, etc.) for homework analyses. If you can’t determine a closed-form solution to a problem (e.g., solving a differential equation or a set of algebraic equations, with or without software tools), at least try to use a software tool to find and plot numerical solutions for various input values.
- Homework solutions will be posted on Canvas. Point allocations for each problem will be shown on the solutions. Please refer to these before questioning the grading of an assignment.
- Examinations during the semester will be administered during the regular class period (50 minutes), in the regular lecture room and will be multiple-choice format. The purposes for the multiple choice exams are to eliminate time as a factor; eliminate traditional “plug and chug” number crunching; test a broad understanding by having many simple, diverse questions rather than just a few big problems; and to provide fast, fair, and uniform grading without need for “partial credit.”
- The purpose for exams is to test understanding and application of basic concepts and principles in the course. The purpose is not to give traditional, detailed homework-like analysis problems or open-ended design problems. In my view, a limited time, high pressure, in-class exam is not the appropriate forum for attempting to evaluate problem-solving and solution-synthesis skills. In principle, oral exams or take-home exams would be better tools to measure knowledge and understanding; however, there are practical issues that eliminate these options as possibilities.
- One of the reasons multiple-choice exams are used is to break down very large problems into small parts so “partial credit” is automatic. If 3 or 4 large problems were used instead of 25-35 small sub-problem questions, points would still be taken off for the small sub-problems answered incorrectly on the large-problem exam. The multiple-choice exam format is lower stress, eliminates time as a factor with the exams given during the regular class time (instead of 2-3 hour evening exams), prevents the loss of a huge number of points if a student were to totally space out on a large problem, and provides a good measure of basic understanding of the material. Also, grading is fast, impartial, and error-free. Also, many important exams you might take in the future (e.g., FE, PE, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, etc.) are also multiple choice, so it is important you are comfortable with these types of exams.
- All examinations will be closed book, notes, and neighbor. I will provide a formula sheet and reference information with the examinations.
- No calculators are allowed (or necessary). The only things allowed during the exams are pencils and erasers.
- You are required to bring you CSU ID to all examinations. You must enter and fill in dots for your last name and CSU ID # (not SSN) on your Scantron sheets. If you don’t, there will be a penalty.
- Make-up exams will be given only for unanticipatable and unavoidable circumstances. If you fail to show up for an exam (e.g., because you are sick), and there was no communication (an e-mail or phone call) before the exam day and time, you will not be allowed to make up the exam.
- The final examination will be comprehensive but will stress material not covered by previous examinations.
- Information for SDC students only: You must e-mail or drop off your SDC accommodation letter to Dr. Dave at least 1 week before the first exam, and you must schedule each exams at least 1 week ahead of time on the SDC website; otherwise, you will not be allowed to take your exams at SDC. Also, if you must take your exam at a different time than the rest of the class (e.g., because you have a class immediately after MECH524), you must schedule your exam before but as close as possible to the regularly-scheduled time.
- Your “Exam Zip Strips” showing your answers and the correct answers can be viewed in Canvas.
- In general, grading on homeworks will be based on the following approximate percentage allocation:
- 60% for major concepts (e.g., applying the appropriate principles)
- 30% for analytical approach (e.g., writing valid equations)
- 10% for detailed solution (e.g., determining the correct answers from the equations)
- Any disagreement with homework or exam grading must be settled with Dr. Dave within one week after the graded material is returned.
- Grading will be adjusted at the end of the semester with a sliding scale (e.g., an 87.4 might be an A). Cutoff scores between the letter grades will be based on overall class performance and based on the distribution of scores. Cutoffs usually occur where there are gaps between clusters of similar scores. Initial cutoffs will be based on the traditional decade-based grading scale (90 for A, 80 for B, etc.). The cutoffs will never be above the decade-based values (i.e., you will never require a score higher than 89.5 to receive an A). Estimated grades will be posted throughout the semester so you always know where you stand.
- At the end of the semester, you will evaluate how well each of your group members contributed to the homework group. An individual’s final grade may be adjusted by as much as one letter grade based on these evaluations. This adjustment is used only in extreme situations for grades close to a sliding-scale cut-off. A positive adjustment might be given to an individual who worked much harder and contributed much more than the rest of the group, and a negative adjustment might be given to an individual who didn’t work hard and didn’t contribute much to the group. The correlation between a person’s exam performance and their homework scores is also considered. Any grade adjustment is reported only at the end of the semester, and only if it had an effect on a final grade.
- +/- grading (for C+ and above) will be used for borderline final scores. It will be applied only at the end of the semester. The exact cutoff points for the +/- grades depend on how scores are distributed around the sliding-scale cutoffs, but the +/- cutoffs are usually within 0-3 points of the sliding-scale cutoffs. Where possible, the goal is for students with similar scores to get the same grade.
- No individual extra credit work, or any other special treatment, will be offered to improve grades.
V. If You Want or Need Personal Help
- CSU is a community that cares for you. If you are struggling with drugs or alcohol, and/or experiencing depression, anxiety, overwhelming stress or thoughts of hurting yourself or others please know there is help available. Counseling Services has trained professionals who can help. Contact 970-491-6053 or go to http://health.colostate.edu/ If you are concerned about a friend or peer tell someone by calling 970-491-1350 to discuss your concerns with a professional who can discreetly connect the distressed individual with the proper resources (http://supportandsafety.colostate.edu/tellsomeone). Rams take care of Rams. Reach out and ask for help if you or someone you know is having a difficult time.