22C:196 Section 1, Policies and Grading, Fall 2001

Douglas W. Jones
University of Iowa Department of Computer Science

This is a seminar course. That means that the responsibility for content will be divided fairly equally between all participants. Although some of the initial classes will be, in effect, lectures, our goal is to move toward a discussion format and to allow students to explore the available materials and present the results of their own studies.

There is no textbook. Essentially all of the relevant material is available on the web -- court decisions, government studies, newspaper reports, testimony before government bodies, and personal statements by interested parties. All assigned readings that are web accessible will be indexed on the following web site:


Final grades will be based on class participation and projects. As with most seminar courses, it is extremely hard to set objective grading standards! The following outline describes how I intend to assign grades:

A -
Make significant contributions in presentations, discussions and written reports. Argue effectively for the positions you take. Take a leadership role.
B -
Make significant contributions in presentations, discussions or written reports. Take positions on the issues.
C -
Contribute in presentations, discussions and written reports.
D -
Participate, perhaps grudgingly, with written work that is at best perfunctory.
F -
Failure to participate, failure to turn in written work.
This course focuses on issues that have a strong impact on government policy. Many of the opinions expressed by participants will necessarily have a political component! Every effort will be made to assign grades without regard to the political position taken. I hope to be able to assign a grade of A to a student with whom I strongly disagree, assuming that the student's arguments are well formed and express a clear understanding of the subject matter.

Students presenting written work that makes interesting contributions to the issues will be invited to include their work in the course web site. Space on the server will be available for this (but not for elaborate multimedia presentations).

It is necessary to repeat certain annoying policies here: Students caught cheating for the first time may be given a penalty up to an automatic F in the course. Such an F cannot be removed from the transcript. Penalties up to expulsion may apply to second offences.

Temporary grades of I (Incomplete) will be granted only on the basis of negociation prior to the end of the semester. Please, if extended illness or other matters beyond your control interfere with your ability to satisfactorily complete the course, see the instructor as soon as possible!

If you have any disagreement or communications problem with a teaching assistant, take it to the professor in charge. If you have any problem with your professor, contact the department chair; due process continues to the dean (of either the Graduate or Liberal Arts college, depending on your student status) and then up through the university administration to the Board of Regents.

If, for any reason, you need special accomodations for an assignment, please contact me, either after class, during office hours or by E-mail.