CS:4980:0004 Policies, Spring 2020
the CS:4980:0004 Electronic Voting Collection
Time and place: 10:30-11:20 AM, 205 MLH, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Textbook: on-line. See
The readings are a mix of newspaper reports, patents, laws and government reports. The arrangement is roughly chronological, starting in the 19th century when high technology was first applied to elections, and continuing to the present controversies.
Grading: Class participation is central: Students are responsible for reading the material in advance of each class. Students will be selected more or less at random to present and analyze the assigned readings.
COVID-19 addendum: After spring break, in class discussions were replaced with ICON threaded discussions; effectively, lectures became blog posts about the readings, and what would have been questions, answers and comments in class became responses to those blog posts.
Term paper: In lieu of a final exam, students will be expected to write a term paper. Term paper proposals will be due no later than April 1.
Term paper presentation: Each student will be given 10 minutes during the final 2 weeks of class to present their term paper. The written paper need not be in final form at this time, but the student should be able to talk about it and take questions from the class.
COVID-19 addendum: On April 21, a week before the first project presentations had been scheduled, the class was offered the choice between doing class presentations by Zoom or posting rough drafts of the final project on ICON for comments and questions from the class. The class was almost unanimous in their preference for ICON, so each draft was posted at the head of a new discussion thread, with comments and discussion posted as responses. This worked very well — not all drafts attracted equal attention, but many sparked lively discussions.
Some of the draft papers were surprisingly good, so on May 7, a week before the deadline for turning in final papers, students were offered the option of having their term paper hosted archivally on the public web page for the class. Students were promised that their decision to make their paper public would not have any effect on their final grade, and that the posting would come with a disclaimer saying that posting was not endorsement and did not reflect any evaluation of their work. About half the class opted to have their papers posted.
Collegiate norms suggest that in typical offerings at this level, about 60% of those who actually take the course (that is, who participate and do the assignments) will earn at least a B.
COVID-19 addendum: In the end, no student earned less than a B-. The weaker students dropped, several of them after spring break and the shift to on-line format.
The Web will be used to distribute material.
All materials supporting this class are indexed on-line at:
The Fine Print that must be repeated here as a matter of policy:
Attendance — Attendance is required.
Time commitment — Well-prepared students should commit 12 hours per week to this class for attendance, readings and assignments.
Administrative home of the course — This course is offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences which sets rules governing academic matters as add/drop deadlines, the second-grade-only option, issues of academic fraud or probation, and how credit is applied to graduation requirements. Other colleges may have different policies; you may want to check http://provost.uiowa.edu/files/provost.uiowa.edu/files/crossenroll.pdf. Students with questions about these or other CLAS policies should speak with an academic advisor or with the staff in 120 Schaeffer Hall. Also see the CLAS Academic Handbook: clas.uiowa.edu/students/handbook
Academic fraud — The CLAS Code of Academic Honesty applies in this course. Evidence of cheating will be reported. Disciplinary probation applies to first offenses; repeat violations may lead to suspension or expulsion. Use of code without attribution is misconduct. You are free to mine public sources of code, but you must attribute that code to its source. Never delete attributions and never attempt to obscure the attribution. That will be considered a serious offense.
Incompletes — Temporary grades of I will be granted only on the basis of discussion with the professor, preferably as soon you recognize that there is a problem.
Due process — If you have any disagreement or communications problem with a teaching assistant, take it to the professor. If you have a problem with your professor, contact the chair of the computer science department, 14 MLH; due process continues from there to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 120 Schaeffer Hall. In the event that the appropriate channel is not obvious for any purpose, the University Ombudsman is available to help, on the third floor of the Jefferson Building.
Sexual misconduct — sexual harassment should be reported directly to the UI Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator (335-6200).
Special accomodation — If, for any reason, including but not limited to long or short-term disability, you need any kind of accomodation, including but not limited to special seating or special arrangements for exams, please contact me during my office hours, or at other times, in person, by phone or by E-mail. The office of Student Disability Services in 3015 Burge Hall may be able to help.
Severe weather — The inner hallways of most campus buildings are a reasonably secure refuge from tornado, derecho and other windstorms; the basement halls are even better.