Policies and requirements


Lectures will be streamed via Canvas and also available as recordings there. Attendance in the classroom is not required, though you are encouraged to come to class and interact with the teaching team and with each other! Some class periods will be devoted, in whole or in part, to hands-on work with the code associated with the homeworks and bake-offs.


Your grade is determined based on:

  • Homeworks and bake-offs: 30%
  • Literature review: 15%
  • Experimental protocol: 15%
  • Video presentation of project: 10%
  • Final project paper: 30%

Homeworks and bake-offs

Our goals for the homeworks and bake-offs: (i) to raise important questions, (ii) to foster common ground for the in-class discussions, (iii) to exemplify best-practices for NLU experiments, and (iii) to help you master central NLU concepts.

The homeworks and bake-offs come in pairs and follow a common pattern:

  1. In the homework, you build some baseline models and develop your own model, and this accounts for 9 of the 10 points.
  2. In the associated bake-off, you enter your model into a competition centered around evaluation on a previously unseen test set. All entries get the additional homework point, and top entries receive a bit of extra credit. Precisely what it means to be a top entry might vary a bit by bake-off.


  • All homeworks must be submitted by 4:30 pm on the day they are due. Bake-offs launch in class that day (always a Monday) and close at 4:30 on that Wednesday.
  • All homeworks are administered via the course Canvas site.
  • Collaboration on weekly assignments and bake-offs is permitted, with a maximim group size of 3. Please remember to note who you collaborated with in your submission.

Policy on late work

Each student will have a total of 4 free late (calendar) days applicable to any assignment (including the lit review and project milestone) except the final project paper. These can be used at any time, no questions asked. Each 24 hours or part thereof that a homework is late uses up one full late day. Once these late days are exhausted, any homework turned in late will be penalized 20% per late day. Late days are not applicable to final projects. If a group's assignment is late n days, then each group member is charged n late days.

Late work can be entered into the bake-off, but it can't win if it arrives after the bake-off closes. You just get the remaining homework point if you enter.

Final project

For details, see the final projects page.

Policy on submitting related final projects to multiple classes

On the one hand, we want to encourage you to pursue unified interdisciplinary projects that weave together themes from multiple classes. On the other hand, we need to ensure that final projects for this course are original and involve a substantial new effort.

To try to meet both these demands, we are adopting the following policy on joint submission: if your final project for this course is related to your final project for another course, you are required to submit both projects to us by our final project due date. If we decide that the projects are too similar, your project will receive a failing grade. To avoid this extreme outcome, we strongly encourage you to stay in close communication with us if your project is related to another you are submitting for credit, so that there are no unhappy surprises at the end of the term. Since there is no single objective standard for what counts as "different enough", it is better to play it safe by talking with us.

Fundamentally, we are saying that combining projects is not a shortcut. In a sense, we are in the same position as professional conferences and journals, which also need to watch out for multiple submissions. You might have a look at the current ACL/NAACL policy, which strives to ensure that any two papers submitted to those conferences make substantially different contributions — our goal here as well.

Academic honesty

Please familiarize yourself with Stanford's honor code. We will adhere to it and follow through on its penalty guidelines.

Students with documented disabilities

From Stanford's Office of Accessible Education:

Students who may need an academic accommodation based on the impact of a disability must initiate the request with the Office of Accessible Education (OAE). Professional staff will evaluate the request with required documentation, recommend reasonable accommodations, and prepare an Accommodation Letter for faculty dated in the current quarter in which the request is being made. Students should contact the OAE as soon as possible since timely notice is needed to coordinate accommodations. The OAE is located at 563 Salvatierra Walk (phone: 723-1066, URL: http://oae.stanford.edu).

Letter grade policy

This is the system we will use at the end of the quarter to map numerical final grades to letter grades:

Grade rangeLetter grade
≥ 100 A+
≥ 94A
≥ 90A−
≥ 87B+
≥ 84B
≥ 80B−
≥ 77C+
≥ 74C
≥ 70C−
≥ 67D+
≥ 64D
≥ 60D−
< 60No pass