NOTE: The following lecture format is only for the Spring 2020 quarter.


This quarter, we anticipate that you are going to be spending a lot of time over Zoom, or (if you are unable to attend synchronous lecture times) a lot of time waiting for material to be published. We would like our reduce the amount of synchronous lecture time for students, as well as use our time together for active student learning and participation. To achieve this, we have done the following:

  • Pushed about half of lecture to be pre-recorded, to be watched prior to lecture. About 30-40 minutes of pre-lecture content is available on Canvas to watch.
  • Reduced lecture time from the 80-minute Axess slot to 50 minutes. This is an interactive discussion-based lecture covering more advanced concepts.
  • Lecture will be delivered via Zoom meetings, MWF 10:30am-11:20am PT. The Zoom meeting link is available through our Canvas. If you are an enrolled student in CS109, you can also access the lecture here.
  • To encourage you to watch the videos, we have written short, straight-forward concept checks to be completed prior to lecture time.

Pre-lecture: Concept checks


  • A few days before lecture, the pre-recorded lecture videos will be posted on Canvas.
  • Watch these videos or review the posted Lecture Notes and slides.
  • Before attending the corresponding synchronous, live lecture, work through the corresponding concept check assignment on Gradescope.
  • You can submit your answers as many times as you want; we will only grade the final submission. Correct answers will reveal the answer explanation; all other answers will not, so you can keep trying until you see the answer explanation.
  • For each concept check, we will only be grading your final concept check submitted.
  • After the initial deadline, you can submit your concept check up to a week later for partial credit (up to half).


Your concept check grade makes up 10% of your overall course grade. You can submit each concept check as many times as you want, but you must submit by the beginning of the corresponding asynchronous lecture time. Any late submissions (up to one week after the scheduled lecture) will be graded for half credit.

No extensions will be granted for concept checks. We will drop your lowest concept check. Don't worry too much about missing a few; there are a lot of them throughout the quarter, and each one is worth less than 0.4% of your overall grade. These small exercises are just to make sure you are keeping pace in the course—it's much more important to learn and practice with the problem set material.

Synchronous lecture

Here are some common questions you may have about live, synchronous lecture:

What tools will I need?

If you want to watch the video live, you should be able to use Zoom in some form or another. It would be best to have a video feed if watching live so that you can see the slides and annotations in real time. If you must call in from your phone, you should also try to have the slides up on your computer to follow along.

You can also download the videos from Canvas after the lecture ends and watch them without an internet connection.

How do I ask questions in lecture?

You can pose questions via our discussion forum. These will be reviewed by the question moderator and either answered in the forum or repeated by the instructor and answered live.

Why did you turn off Zoom chat?

Two potential drawbacks of the live Zoom chat is that it does not support typical editor modes (copy paste, editing of messages), and that a chat log can be inaccessible or incomprehensible to students watching the recorded lecture asynchronously. By putting the questions in our discussion forum, everyone has access to the questions, and we get the bonus of being able to use Python, LaTeX, and thread upvoting/replies as well. This way even if we don't get to your question during lecture, we can answer it afterwards. And students who are watching asynchronously can also get their questions answered.

What if I live in a timezone that is inconvenient to watch the class live, or if I have personal commitments?

You can download the videos to watch at any time after the class meeting time (after we have posted them), or watch them through Canvas. If you are able to attend lecture, we really hope you can make it! :-)

How do I access notes after lecture?

We will have both blank slides (before lecture) and annotated slides (after lecture) for you to review.