Labs

Written by Julie Zelenski

Lab materials

Lab schedule and signups

Labs meet weekly starting in the second week of the quarter. The first week you will choose your lab section time. Our typical weekly schedule offers labs Tues, Wed, and Thurs at 10:30am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm, and 7pm. (This may be adjusted per-quarter due to room scheduling and TA availability.) Once lab signups are open, visit Lab Schedule and Signups to view the lab schedule and choose/change your assigned lab. Lab signups are set to open Tue Sep 26 10:00 am. Labs signups are first-come, first-served; best to move quickly if you don't have much schedule flexibility.

Common questions about labs

What is a lab section?

Each student attends a weekly 2-hour lab section in a small group setting lead by one of our TAs. This is a time of active hands-on experimentation and practical skill-building. The lab consists of a set of guided tasks/explorations to reinforce the week's material.

When/where are the labs held?

The times and locations for all labs are listed on the lab signup page. Most labs meet in Gates B08, the lab classroom in the basement of the Gates building. The myth machines are housed in this room. A lab section that meets elsewhere is a "laptop" section and you will need to bring your own laptop to participate.

How is lab credit awarded?

Lab credit is awarded for participation. To earn credit, you need to arrive on-time and actively participate for the full lab period. At the end of lab, submit your checkoff sheet to TA to be recorded. When submitting a checkoff, you are asserting that you (and any partner named) fully participated in the lab.

How do SCPD students participate in lab?

If you are local to the Bay Area, you are welcome (and encouraged) to attend lab in person. If that isn't possible, you can work through the lab exercises on your own. The lab materials are posted online and the TAs will prepare a webcast of the lab highlights each week. You may work alone or are welcome to arrange to work on the labs in collaboration with another SCPD student. Use the forum to find a buddy if you'd like.

What is the lab collaboration policy?

This is participatory collaborative learning -- please offer your help to your peers and seek advice from your peers and the staff. You will work in pairs at a shared computer and are encouraged to discuss topics and share ideas with the group. The goal is for everyone to come away with a clear understanding of the lab concepts and be prepared to go on to complete the assignments (which are done individually).

Can I go to a different lab than my assigned one?

A student attending a lab other than their assigned one is a "visitor". Visitors are accommodated on a space-available basis. You may contact the lab leader in advance to confirm availability and reserve a visitor spot. If you don't ask and just show up, we may still be able to fit you in, but you will be turned away if there is not sufficient capacity, as priority is given to the assigned students and confirmed visitors.

Can I permanently change my assigned lab?

Use the signup page to re-assign yourself by removing yourself from your current lab and joining a different lab with available space. If your preferred lab is at capacity, it cannot accept additional students and you must retain your current assignment. Keep an eye out for space opening up to allow the switch later as students do shuffle around a bit in the first few weeks.

What happens if I arrive to lab late or leave early?

We expect you to arrive on-time and engage for the full lab period (or until satisfactorily completing all lab exercises). We won't quibble about few minutes here or there but beyond that, arriving late or skipping out early will result in not receiving lab credit. Everyone may miss one lab without penalty.

What happens if I miss my lab?

If you have to miss your your assigned lab section, you can make it up by attending another lab section as a visitor. You will earn lab credit for participating in either in your regular lab or as a visitor to another. If you do have to miss attending the lab entirely, we strongly encourage you to work the exercises for your own benefit, but there is no makeup credit for missed participation. Everyone may miss one lab without penalty.

Can you provide the lab solutions for the lab(s) that I missed or didn't complete on my own?

We agree that thoroughly understanding the lab exercises is very helpful, but the real value in these "answers" is in what you learned while working it out. Passively reviewing someone else's work is not nearly as beneficial, thus we do not publish lab solutions. Please participate in lab and follow-through on the exercises yourself! If finished and you would like to double-check your understanding, you can review with your TA during lab or catch up with us later in office hours or forum. You can also freely discuss lab content with your peers. We would also welcome review of lab exercises (including exchanging your own solution code) on the forum once lab has finished for everyone for the week!