Responses to Anonymous Feedback
This page will be filled in as we receive anonymous feedback.
I'd rather do the hands-ons on my own laptop instead of in an
Athena cluster. Can you tell me how to install the packages for
my particular set-up?
We can't support individual student set-ups because they vary
so widely. But, there is a solution! To complete the hands-ons,
you don't have to be physically present in an Athena cluster: you
can access it remotely via
In a terminal, type: ssh
(replace <athena_id> with whatever your Athena ID
is). It will ask for your Athena password, and once you've
entered that, you're now using an Athena machine.
I keep getting file-not-found errors.
We believe these have been fixed, but if not, please give us
information on the exact file that can't be found (this issue is
very hard to debug otherwise).
Incidentally, this may be a better question to ask
non-anonymously, in case the error has to do with site permissions.
We can't give you permission to the site if we don't know who you
The hands-ons are taking me 4-8 hours.
Come to office hours or post on Piazza! The hands-ons are
designed to only take 1-2 hours. If you're stuck on a question,
please come to office hours or post on Piazza so that we can help
you! We hold office
weekday, and respond quickly to Piazza questions (especially
near assignment deadlines).
My instructor told me one thing about an assignment, but the
website says something different.
This shouldn't happen, and we apologize if it has. The website
is always the authoritative source. If you get conflicting
information from a different source, please post on Piazza so we
can correct things as soon as possible.
I don't understand how I'm being evaluated on participation.
Is it enough to answer a few questions each recitation? Does
every answer have to be profound? What if some of my answers are
incorrect? Are recitations counted individually or
We are looking for effort above everything else: if you
regularly engage in the discussion, you have nothing to worry
about. As stated in
policies a good rule of thumb is to try to ask or answer one
question per recitation. Missing a single recitation will not
appreciably affect your overall grade.
If you have questions about your individual grade, you can always
email your recitation instructor to make sure you're on target.
Why didn't we get a rubric for critique 1?
Critique 1 was short-answer questions, and graded entirely by
the technical staff. So the rubric was fairly standard: if you
got all of the answers correct you got an A; most of them correct,
you got a B; etc.
You will get a rubric for critiques 2 and 3, though, so that
you understand how we grade for writing.
Katrina talks too fast in lecture.
I'm sorry! I'm working to improve in this area.
I liked the video in Lecture 8. Can we have more funny
I'll do my best. I have at least one more lined up before
Some of the links don't work in one browser but work in
Some of the links require certificates! Make sure you have
certificates installed in all of the browsers you're using.
I'm worried about the uniformity of grading across
Please trust us to assign your grades accurately. We
understand that each recitation is taught by a different person, but
we have a standardized rubric that we use for grading. We also
discuss—in person, with the entire staff—every borderline
grade case. Moreover, at the time we received this feedback,
only preliminary recitation grades had been assigned. Those
grades don't count towards your final grade at all.
Why are recitations mandatory?
Recitations are no more mandatory than any other part of this
course. Participation in recitation is worth 20% of your grade.
If you choose not to attend, you will lose 20% of your grade, not
fail the course.
Recitation participation is worth a substantial amount of the grade
because we expect you to demonstrate to us that you can synthesize
information from technical papers and engage in a broad discussion
about a system's design. After all, this is a
communication-intensive course, and communication is more than just
writing. And since there are many different aspects of a paper that
you could discuss or debate, contributing to a discussion allows you
to talk about the aspect that you feel is the most important.
This class should be 18 units.
If you are spending more than 12 hours a week on this class
most weeks, please ask for help. We hold nine office hours
a week, are active on Piazza, and are also available for
one-on-one help. If you are spending a significant amount of time
on, say, the class readings, we can teach you how to get through
the papers more quickly. If you are spending a significant amount
of time on the hands-ons, we can answer questions for you when
you're stuck. But we can't help you if we don't know what you're
Why not send the DP comments to all team members?
Many instructors do. But we also expect your DP teams to
communicate regularly. If only one person receives the feedback,
they should just forward it to others. If you are having
difficult with team communication, let your CI instructor know so
that they can help you.
We haven't gotten comments on our writing for the
At the time we received this comment, all students had comments
on the DPPR from both instructors. For some teams, the CI
instructor's comments might look like they were uploaded by
Dr. LaCurts, but clicking through it's clear that they're from the
If you still can't access your DPPR comments, email your
instructor. Unfortunately there's not much we can do to check on
this, given the anonymity of the source.