CSE 107

Lectures: T and Th, 9:30--10:50AM in WLH 2204.

Discussion: W, 4:00--4:50PM in WLH 2204.

Staff: All office hours are in the CSE Building, EBU3B.

Position Name Email Office Hours
Instructor Mihir Bellare mihir[at]eng[dot]ucsd[dot]edu Tu 1:30-2:30PM in Room 4244
TA Joseph Jaeger jsjaeger [at]eng[dot]ucsd[dot]edu Fr 10-11 in Room B215
Tutor Julia Len M 4-5 in Room B275
Tutor Lucy Li Th 2-3 in Room B260A

Course Information and Affirmation: It is very important for each student to carefully read the course information document. It has information about the course policies, rules, and grading. Students are responsible for knowing and abiding by the polices and rules stated here. Once you have read it, sign this affirmation and turn it in by the indicated due date. Late affirmations are not accepted.

Piazza: We have a piazza for this class. Use this for questions and discussions.


How to do well in CSE 107: Some students operate in a mode I call random access. You look at the homework (perhaps just before it is due), see that you don't know how to do it, then scan through the slides to see if you can spot some example that looks similar, and try to use that. If, that fails, you might ask for help, saying you do not know how to do the homework.

This random access mode of operation is not likely to work well. Here's the alternative, which I call sequential access. There is a homework due. Ignore it. Instead, read the slides for the chapter in question, sequentially, beginning to end, and make sure you understand everything there. If you don't, ask for help. Once you have understand everything, do the homework. It will feel a lot easier.

What's the difference? If you look at the homework and try to map back to the materiel, your mapping will be imperfect at best. The understanding needed may not be the obvious one. And an example cannot be understood in isolation. In the sequential mode, you aim to understand the materiel as a coherent whole. It pays off.

Random access mode will also leave you lost on quizzes. You may think that because quizzes are open book, you can look up solutions in the slides in the same random access way as for homework, scanning for an example that matches the problem. This will not work well. But if you have studied prior to the quiz, read the slides sequentially and understood them, then you will find the quiz quite accessible, and may not even need to look at the slides during the quiz.

Some students feel the way they understand is through examples, and ask for more examples. You need to understand the theory, meaning the definitions, not just the examples. Examples can only illustrate and no example or number of examples conveys a full understanding of the theory. Limit your requests for more examples.

Some students want a recipe for success. One hears: ``I am willing to work but I don't know what to do in this class to be successful.'' There is no recipe we will give, and none that works for all students. It is part of the learning process and challenge to figure out what works for you and how to be successful.

Do make use of instructor and TA office hours to ask questions. But here's one lesson. The students who do well are ones who ask questions about the slides and lecture materiel, not about the homework. If you have trouble with homework, trace it back to something you don't understand in the slides, and ask about the latter.

If you feel that you understand lecture materiel and the slides but can't do the homework, you have created a contradiction. If you can't do the homework, then, by definition, you do not understand lecture and slide materiel. Adopting the attitude that you do understand but cannot do the homework is unproductive. It makes it harder for you to help yourself, and makes it harder for us to help you. Instead, if you can't do a homework, draw the conclusion that you actually don't understand the materiel, even if you think you did. Then, try to pin-point what you do not understand, for example that you lose it at this particular point in the slides. This is better because now you know what you have to do and where you can get help.

Students who do well in CSE 107 are typically not assessement and grade oriented. They have a genuine interest in the materiel and in learning. They enjoy challenges. They do not give up easily in the face of setbacks. They like to understand things, even things not on the homework and quizzes.

Students who enter with the goal of only wanting to pass may find that they do not do so. Students who enter wanting an A and willing to work for it may find that they get it.