Survey comments and responses

1) The ability to study at home has been greatly affected (lack of space, family reasons, sickness, etc).

I understand and sympathize with that. My ability to be productive at home has also been greatly affected. Unfortunately, my resources are limited to help you with that. The reasons for lowering the grade cutoffs was to remove some of the pressure in the course. I am aware that many students will not be able to attain the same performance they would have if they were on campus, and I will keep that in mind when I look at the final grades this semester.

2) Some students are anxious and depressed, worried about internships and job opportunities, and emotionally not doing well.

I am not an expert in this area, so if you feel you need additional help, please reach out to the Counseling Center or the Dean of Students. However, if you just want to chat, or have a supporting system, stop by at the Coffee Hour or my “regular” office hours. I am usually hanging out on zoom alone, and would love to chat with you. If you need privacy, we can set up breakout rooms, and take turns with other students. I can also try to schedule meetings at other times. If possible, I would like to help.

And btw, I also feel overwhelmed, anxious, and apprehensive at times. I hear you, and we should all be there for each other!

3) Quizzes will happen at a time that is not ideal to me.

I understand that, and I wish I had more resources (time to create a large dataset of PL questions) to give the quiz during an extended period of time. Because I have limited resources, I decided to reduce the number of quizzes, and instead offer only two (instead of the pre-scheduled four). The final exam happens at two different times where students can mostly take it at a “reasonable” hour. I hope these arrangements make it somewhat doable to complete the assessments for this course.

4) Some of you requested re-opening the “practice quiz”.

You can find it now available on PrairieLearn (still not for credit). Note that this quiz was only used so we could test how the take-home quizzes would work. The material included there is not the same as the next quiz 4 (on April 14). However, you can use the material to study for the final exam.

5) Students are worried about their internet connection during the quiz time.

I am changing the quiz 4 setting to allow for 60 minutes, instead of 50 minutes (and I am not adding any new question to the quiz). Students with accommodation will have the time adjusted as well. I hope this can offset some of your anxiety. I sincerely hope you understand I am using a trust system with the students in my class. I am making all the adjustments I find reasonable and doable so that we can finish the semester smoothly, healthy and sane. My focus is on the learning experience, but assessments are an important part of the curriculum. Please keep this in mind when you are taking your quiz. Do not talk to other people during the exam period. Let’s make sure we are all compliant with the student code, and the guidelines for academic integrity.

6) Concerns about use of proctorio in this class

I will not be using any type of proctoring system for the quizzes or final exam. I am going to rely on the honors system, and believe that students will follow with the guidelines for academic integrity.

7) Students would like to know my decision regarding their scores on the canceled quiz 4 (the one that happened before Spring Break, and I canceled it after the first day – only affecting a dozen students in the class)

I will add this score to the future quiz 4 and 5 scores, to get the average of the “take-home” quizzes. This will be done only for the students where the overall “take-home” average is improved.

8) Some students would like the option to get an A+

I may still consider that, but I won’t come up with a decision and the grade cutoff until the end of the semester.

9) It can be difficult to watch recordings due to poor/unreliable internet

I will try to break future recordings into smaller videos. My reasoning to have larger files was to reduce the number of links on the course website, but I guess that is less important than having the ability to load the videos.

10) Students were asking to bring short questions back for practice.

I am still including short-questions (multiple-choice and checkbox) inside the “regular” HW. They are just all into one assessment now.

11) Homework length and release date

I want to clarify that some of the HW may appear to be long because the short-questions were now moved to the “regular” HW format. However, I am setting the assessments such that you don’t need to complete the entire set of questions to get them marked as complete. I have removed one of the MPs, to alleviate some of the workload (the one covering the optimization topic).

On another note, I have not changed the deadlines for the HWs. They basically remain the same, with one assignment due per week, and sometimes an additional MP. You may see HWs opening earlier than usual (so you may have more than one HW listed in PL), because I want to give as much flexibility as possible to students. However, keep in mind that the early deadline is not affected.

12) Weight of the final exam

At this time, I am keeping the original weight of the final exam as 30%.

13) My final remarks:

Thanks to all of you that took the time to complete the survey. I was able to feel connected to many of you, and appreciate all the suggestions and encouragement.