Spring 2016

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 the ssh command.

In a terminal, type: ssh <athena_id>@athena.dialup.mit.edu (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 are.

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 hours every 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 holistically?

We are looking for effort above everything else: if you regularly engage in the discussion, you have nothing to worry about. As stated in our course 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 videos?

I'll do my best. I have at least one more lined up before spring break.

Some of the links don't work in one browser but work in another.

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 recitations.

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 struggling with.

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 DPPR.

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 CI instructor.

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.

Questions or comments regarding 6.033? If you are a student, please post on Piazza. If not, send e-mail to the 6.033 staff at .

6.033 home //