🧙 What's new in for 2023? 2️⃣3️⃣
This pages lists the major changes to CS 300 we made for 2023. We also discuss these in the first lecture.
In 2021, we tried out a new model for the virtual course: rather than hold conventional, synchronous lectures on Zoom, we made the course as interactive as possible by splitting the class into smaller "active listener rotations" (ALRs). Here's some of what students said they liked about the 2021 structure:
- "I would otherwise rarely have actively contributed to class discussions, but I was able to voice my ideas quite comfortably in ALRs."
- "It was awesome to be able to meet [...] in smaller groups and the setup really encouraged me to participate and stay engaged."
This year, we will use sections to provide a similar environment. So, for 2023:
- Every student will attend five mandatory sections over the course of the semester. The sections will be lead by the professor or a team of TAs and are designed to provide a space for you to review and reinforce lecture material, and for you to ask questions about the material.
- A section will consist of 20-25 students who will stay within the same section grouping all semester.
- The sections take place during section weeks that are highlighted on the course calendar. Section weeks run from Saturday through Wednesday.
- At the start of the semester, you will sign up for possible section time slots (as part of Lab 0), and we will assign you to a section.
- When your section takes place, your attendance is required. We expect you to attend, be prepared, ask questions and contribute to the discussion. The section instructor will take attendance during the section.
- Each section is centered around one or two concepts or demonstration programs. We want you to participate actively in the section, and section instructors may call on you to share your questions and ideas.
Sections are not gear-ups or TA hours. They serve to review material, have it explained again in different words, and to address your conceptual questions.
We have removed and combined some assignments in order to keep the workload for CS 300 managable. In particular, the course now has seven rather than nine labs, and we combined project 5 and project 6 into one project with a single stencil.
TA Hours Format
This year, we will offer in-person TA hours for students on campus, and Zoom TA hours for remote students. You can find the details on the hours calendar.
TA hours have a very specific purpose. That purpose is not for TAs to fix your bugs for you, or to tell you the solution to a problem you face, or how to do an assignment. TA hours exist for TAs to help you figure out issues yourself. With this goal in mind, and given CS 300's collaboration policy, this year we will continue with our collaborative TA hours format. This format might be different to what you're used to from other courses.
TA hours in CS 300 are collaborative, rather than 1-on-1. This means the following:
- Hours are open and collaborative. Simply come to the room where hours are being held and sit down with the TA/other students. There will be an Hours queue to establish an order for the TA to visit students.
- The TA holding hours will group students according to what part of the assignment they are on. You are encouraged to work with your peers to answer each other's questions (remember, you're free to look at each other's code!). If you have a question for the TA, then you may sign up on the Hours queue and the TA will visit groups in order.
- In order to help as many students as possible, TAs will help you work out the next step of the assignment and then leave you to work through the implementation with your group while they visit other students.