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Math 51
Autumn 2022

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Weekly Homework Policy

Homework is an essential part of learning. The assigned weekly homework is specially designed to reinforce the learning goals of each lecture as well as to explore further examples and consequences of the results and ideas discussed in class. Please do not be discouraged if you do not immediately know how to solve a problem: everyone has to work hard learning new mathematical ideas and applications. When encountering a difficult question, think about how it connects to topics, definitions, and/or results that have been discussed in class and on the worksheets.

If you have worked on a problem for a while and remain stuck, please ask for hints from your instructor or TA in office hours. You may also discuss problems with classmates, but must always write up solutions on your own (this helps to reinforce your own understanding of the solution). In particular, if you have taken notes when discussing homework problems with friends or course staff, you should put these notes away when writing your solution to be sure it is in your own words. The Honor Code applies to this and all other written aspects of the course.

Watching someone else entirely solve a problem will not help you to learn the material or be prepared for exams, much as watching someone else bake a cake does not teach you how to bake. Avoid the trap of relying on others to get through homework assignments, since it is precisely by grappling with the homework that you reinforce your understanding and identify the concepts or skills on which you should seek an improved understanding.

Students are expected to take care in writing their assignments. For instance,

  • assignments should be written neatly;
  • assignments should contain clear, complete solutions (but they do not need to repeat the question statements).
  • A short guide on writing mathematics well.

Partial progress toward solutions on problems will be awarded partial credit, but simply writing answers down without explanation or justification will receive zero credit.

Mathematics is a cumulative subject, with many concepts building on prior ones. Homework assignments reinforce concepts and prepare students for upcoming material. Solution sets are posted shortly after submission deadlines so that students can promptly see where they had misconceptions and alternative approaches. Release of such solutions also supports exam preparation. Extensions of additional time on homework assignments beyond the release of solution sets are not granted because this would fundamentally alter the course and its cumulative nature.

It is always recommended that students submit partially-completed assignments even if they are not able to finish the full assignment by the deadline.

Logistics for Weekly Homework: The weekly homework submission is handled electronically via the Gradescope platform (students registered for the course at the end of the first weekend should receive an email to sign up for Gradescope; otherwise please starting on the Sunday evening preceding the second week of classes). Gradescope accepts only electronic submissions, so you'll need to scan your homework before uploading it. Make sure to allot plenty of time to follow the submission instructions below before each deadline.

Assignments will be posted no later than a week before they are due, and it is strongly recommended that you begin assignments promptly. Any change to a posted assignment will be announced in class and via email.

The due date is always Wednesday morning at 9AM, and no late homework will be accepted under any circumstances. (This is as much a courtesy to the grader as an incentive to stay current with the course and not fall behind.) To accommodate situations such as a serious illness or anything else that may arise (even if it is an obstruction known in advance due to your schedule), your homework score will be multiplied by 1.25 (not to exceed 100%) at the end of the quarter; please do not rely on this scaling factor early in the term.

Students are encouraged to examine their graded homework assignments promptly. Usually only a portion of each week's assigned problems will be graded (and the selection of problems chosen to be graded will not be announced in advance); as a result, be sure to look over the posted solutions to check over your solutions to the ungraded problems when your graded assignment is returned. It is ultimately your responsibility to look over your graded assignment while consulting the posted solutions, not only to check your understanding but also to find any grading errors. If you find an error in how an assignment was graded or recorded, please appeal to your TA section leader (who has final authority on all homework appeals). After a week has passed since a graded assignment has been released in Gradescope, your score for that assignment will be entered into the Canvas gradebook, after which point it can no longer be changed.

Readability policy (untagged problems, oversize PDFs): Again out of respect for the graders' limited time to examine your submissions, untagged homework problems on Gradescope will not be graded by the graders; nor will problems on submissions consisting of an oversized single-page PDF. Once you submit a regrade request due to a problem tagged incorrectly or not found on a single-page submission, there will be a 50% penalty for that problem. This policy is in effect starting with Homework #2.

All homework assignments and solutions will be posted weekly on Canvas.

Assignment Due Date
Homework #1 October 5
Homework #2 October 12
Homework #3 October 19
Homework #4 October 26
Homework #5 November 2
Homework #6 November 9
Homework #7 November 16
Homework #8 November 30
Homework #9 December 7

Gradescope overview

Gradescope is an online platform for grading exams and homework. For each problem, you will be able to see clearly which rubric items your solution satisfied and any additional comments the grader has for you.

Two important notes:

  • Homework assignments will still be graded by members of the Math 51 instructional team. You are not being graded by an electronic system.
  • In-person exams would be given on paper and the instructional team would upload them to Gradescope. However, students are still responsible for scanning and uploading their homework each week.

How do I get an account?

Students registered for the course at the end of the first weekend should receive an email to sign up for Gradescope. Otherwise, please starting the morning of October 3rd.

How do I actually upload my homework?

For each homework assignment, you must

  • Produce a legible PDF of your complete solutions to each problem, divided into pages of roughly standard (i.e., paper sheet) dimensions. Make sure your problems are clearly labeled!
  • Upload the PDF to Gradescope by the deadline (9AM on Wednesday mornings).
  • Select the page(s) that contain the solution to each of the assigned problems. Note: Failure to do this finalizing step will mean that some or all of your problems will not be graded! Once you submit a regrade request due to a problem tagged incorrectly or not found on an oversized single-page submission, there will be a 50% penalty for that problem. This policy is in effect starting with Homework #2.

An example of the PDF submission process is depicted in this video.

Note: It is also possible to choose to take a picture of each question and upload the raw image of each question individually, though this is much less recommended.

How do I produce a PDF of my homework?

This does not mean you have to do your homework on a computer. It just means you have to scan your handwritten work and create a PDF. The first thing to be aware of is that the scan will come out much better if you write in a darker pencil or pen.

To actually scan your paper homework using a mobile device, Gradescope now recommends using its free mobile app, which performs the photo-scanning, conversion to a single PDF, and submission, for any Gradescope assignment. At Gradescope's page explaining the Gradescope Mobile App, you will find a video demonstrating the process.

Alternatively, there are a number of mobile/tablet apps for various platforms previously recommended by Gradescope that will allow you to turn photos into multi-page PDFs. Note: GeniusScan is also available for iPhone and some may find it preferrable to Scannable. As a final alternative, there are traditional scanners in many (theoretically all) computer clusters in campus residences and many (theoretically all) campus libraries. Contact the Residential Computing help desk for details.

MOST IMPORTANT POINT: Make sure to preview your scan before you upload it to Gradescope! You want to make sure that every bit of work is visible and readable so that the graders can provide accurate feedback on your solutions.

What if I notice an error in my solution or forgot a page of my homework when I submitted it?

If the deadline has not passed, you can resubmit your homework. Simply go to Gradescope and click on the relevant assignment to view your submission. In the bottom right hand corner of your browser, you should see a "resubmit" button. This will allow you to update your submission to correct the error you noticed. Only your final submission will be graded.

Important note: Choosing to resubmit your assignment will completely erase your current submission, meaning you will have to reupload your entire solution again. Gradescope does not currently allow you to just update a single question.

How can I verify that my homework has been received?

You should expect to receive an email from Gradescope confirming your submission. The other way to confirm your submission is to go back into your dashboard and view that this assignment has a submission. (You'll be able to click on the assignment to view your pages.) If instead there is no submission, your status will be "No Submission."

How do I see how I did on the homework assignment?

Once the submission deadline has past, your homework will be graded. This usually takes a little under a week. Therefore, the following Tuesday, you will receive an email saying that your graded work is available for viewing. Your score as well as grader feedback on your homework will be available in Gradescope. For information about how to find and interpret the feedback, we've made an information sheet on looking over your graded assignment.

What if I think one of my problems was graded incorrectly?

If there is a problem where you believe you deserve more credit based on the visible work in your original submission and the grader's rubric, email your discussion section TA ASAP. You do not need to include any screenshots in this email; just explain the issue. All requests for homework regrades must be submitted within 7 days of the grade release date, or December 15, whichever comes first.

Please note that if a problem was missing from your submission (whether you accidentally skipped it, did the incorrect problem, or forgot to upload the relevant scan), you will not receive any credit for that problem.

Autumn 2022 -- Department of Mathematics, Stanford University
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