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advice_column [2018/05/16 10:16]
edit [Degree Requirement]
advice_column [2018/05/19 08:43] (current)
edit [On grades and cheating]
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 This is my personal and unofficial recommendations to an ECE undergrad. This is my personal and unofficial recommendations to an ECE undergrad.
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-In places, this page contains certain biases toward someone who is interested in computer hardware. ​ This bias exists not to exclude students in other fields of study but to encourage students to seek out mentors knowledgeable about their own areas. 
  
 I will continue to expand this page as time goes on. This page does not reflect the opinions of anyone else, and there is no guarantee of suitability. I believe every word I said, but that doesn’t mean you should too. This writing is informal, but please help me make this better by [[How to Contact Me|pointing out mistakes.]] I will continue to expand this page as time goes on. This page does not reflect the opinions of anyone else, and there is no guarantee of suitability. I believe every word I said, but that doesn’t mean you should too. This writing is informal, but please help me make this better by [[How to Contact Me|pointing out mistakes.]]
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 The degree requirements as a whole have the designed objective of preparing you for professional success after CMU by (1) initially helping you build a foundation of knowledge and breadth of exposure; (2) next helping you identify an area of interest; and (3) finally helping you start to specialize in an area of choice.  ​ The degree requirements as a whole have the designed objective of preparing you for professional success after CMU by (1) initially helping you build a foundation of knowledge and breadth of exposure; (2) next helping you identify an area of interest; and (3) finally helping you start to specialize in an area of choice.  ​
  
-You need to view the requirement structure correctly and plan your undergrad study as a complete strategy. ​ You may have to do a lot of speculation,​ but even when deciding your first year courses, you should have asked yourself what you want to do after CMU and what you plan to take in your senior year.  ​+You need to view the requirement structure correctly and plan your undergrad study as a complete strategy ​from the start.  You may have to do a lot of speculation,​ but even when deciding your first year courses, you should have asked yourself what you want to do after CMU and what you plan to take in your senior year.  ​
  
 As you complete each course, do think about how it has (or failed to) build toward what you want to do after CMU; has it caused you to change your mind about what you want to do after CMU. As you complete each course, do think about how it has (or failed to) build toward what you want to do after CMU; has it caused you to change your mind about what you want to do after CMU.
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 =====On grades and cheating===== =====On grades and cheating=====
  
-My second least favorite duty in teaching is to assign grades. ​ My least favorite is to deal with cheaters. ​ I talk about them together because my objection to them stem from the same root problem---the need to understand the real objective of being at CMU.+My second least favorite duty in teaching is to assign grades. ​ My least favorite is to deal with cheaters. ​ I talk about them together because my objection to them stem from the same root problem---the need to understand the real objective of taking a course.
  
 **Grades:** **Grades:**
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 You would do much better if you worked on learning the materials. ​ Your grades reflect how well you have learned and not the other way around. One day you will leave CMU and will have to make a real living with what you have learned; your GPA and diploma can offer little solace to you or your boss if you cannot perform on the job. You would do much better if you worked on learning the materials. ​ Your grades reflect how well you have learned and not the other way around. One day you will leave CMU and will have to make a real living with what you have learned; your GPA and diploma can offer little solace to you or your boss if you cannot perform on the job.
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 +The A/B cut-off is a perennial point of contention at the end of a term.  Keep in mind, if you are performing near the boundary between A/B, (1) whether you receive an A or B, subject to noise and chance, is a correct outcome (don't be there); ​ (2) whether you receive an A or B, it does not change how well you have really done and how well you will be able to do in the future (don't stay there). ​ The purpose behind taking a course doesn'​t end with the term and letter grade.
  
 **Cheating:​** **Cheating:​**
-For anyone even contemplating cheating, you should understand it is just not worth it.  First of all, cheating cannot fix the fact that you really don't know or aren't able to do what you will need in the subsequent courses and in your later life.  Second, although the chances of getting away with any one isolated instance of cheating is typically quite good, any one incident is also unlikely to have a noticeable positive impact on your semester letter grade. ​ For that, one has to be cheating systematically,​ and one will surely get caught for that. Third, think back to when you were little and how your mother could always tell when you lied.  She couldn'​t read your mind; you were just more obvious than you think.  ​Similarly, we (professors),​ having spent basically our whole life in school, know a lot about cheating and cheaters. You are not going to easily fake us out with something we have not seen before. ​ Lastly, by watching a student over the course of a semester, we (professors) have a very good sense for what is a student'​s expected performance and trend. ​ You will get the grade you worked for.+For anyone even contemplating cheating, you should understand it is just not worth it.  First of all, cheating cannot fix the fact that you really don't know or aren't able to do what you will need in the subsequent courses and in your later life.  Second, although the chances of getting away with any one isolated instance of cheating is typically quite good, any one incident is also unlikely to have a noticeable positive impact on your semester letter grade. ​ For that, one has to be cheating systematically,​ and one will surely get caught for that. Third, think back to when you were little and how your mother could always tell when you lied.  She couldn'​t read your mind; you were just more obvious than you think.  ​By watching a student over the course of a semester, we (professors) have a very good sense for what is a student'​s expected performance and trend. ​ You will get the grade you worked for.
  
-For someone who is already ​feeling the pressure to cheat, ​you should realize that this is the symptom ​of a much deeper problem. ​ Some how you have let your study fall behind and out of control. If you continue the same course, your problem will only snowball. ​ The only way to recover is to identify the problem and to change what you are doing to regain control. Cheating is a poor patch job that does nothing to fix the root of the problem. ​ I encourage everyone to take at look at [[https://​www.cmu.edu/​student-affairs/​ocsi/​academic-integrity/​prevention.html |this very helpful page]] on how to avoid being caught up in this bad situation in the first place. (Notice their suggested way to address academic integrity is to do better in the first place so there is no reason to consider cheating. I fully agree with this.)+For someone who is feeling the pressure to cheat, ​the wrong thing to do is to succumb (obviously). The right thing to do is to recognize it as the warning sign of a deeper problem. ​ Some how you have let your study fall behind and out of control. If you continue the same course, your problem will only snowball. ​ The only way to recover is to identify the problem and to change what you are doing to regain control. Cheating is a poor patch job that does nothing to fix the root of the problem. ​ I encourage everyone to take at look at [[https://​www.cmu.edu/​student-affairs/​ocsi/​academic-integrity/​prevention.html |this very helpful page]] on how to avoid being caught up in this bad situation in the first place. (Notice their suggested way to address academic integrity is to do better in the first place so there is no reason to consider cheating. I fully agree with this.)
  
 I use the following definition in my course syllabus: "To put it plainly, if what you are about to do is not a truthful reflection of your knowledge, ability and effort, you are about to cheat. More importantly,​ if what you are about to do is going to get you a better grade without helping you learn the course material, you are about to cheat."  ​ I use the following definition in my course syllabus: "To put it plainly, if what you are about to do is not a truthful reflection of your knowledge, ability and effort, you are about to cheat. More importantly,​ if what you are about to do is going to get you a better grade without helping you learn the course material, you are about to cheat."  ​