Copyright Maja Mataric, USC

Assignments & Grading

Performance in the class will be based on participation in lab sessions, an in-class exam covering the lecture material, and the final project and its associated report. Regular attendance and participation in both the lecture and the lab is required; if you must to miss a class or lab, speak to the instructor ahead of time.

 Final course grades will (approximately) consist of:

20%   exam 1

20%   exam 2

20%   homeworks 

20%   lab exercises and participation

20%   final project (design, contribution, and performance) and report


None of the assignments, exams, labs, or competition is optional. Failure to attend or turn in without discussion with the instructor beforehand will result in an F in the class.


There will be two kinds of weekly assignments in this course.

1) After each lab session, the lab assistant will email the students a set of questions based on that lab. These are to be answered individually (these are not team assignments!) and sent to the lab assistant by email, in plain text, to be received by midnight on the day of the next lab, i.e., a week later.

2) There will be 8 course homeworks or online quizzes, which will be available from the course Web page on the day that they are assigned, and if in hardcopy, it will be due at the beginning of lecture, typed, on the due date (the assignment due dates are given in the class schedule), if it is online quiz, the due deadline would be the midnight of the next Saturday after it is assigned online.

At the end of the semester, each student will turn in an independent final report describing the design and controller of the contest robot (use diagrams and provide the robot code). Helpful information for preparing your final report can be found here.

When to turn in your assignments/reports

For any assignment, Due on a given date means that the assignment must be turned in at the beginning of lecture/lab on the specified date. Turning the assignment in at the end of class/lab will be discounted as late and automatically lose 20% of the grade (this is to encourage you to avoid skipping class/lab in order to finish your assignments). Partial reports/homeworks are much better than none. If you have a really good reason to be late (e.g., illness or death) you must talk to the instructor before the homework due date. Otherwise, a homework will be discounted by 33% for each day it is late. After 3 days from the due date (exactly, counting from the start of class), late homeworks will receive a 0 and will not be accepted. This is necessary so that homework solutions can be posted and everyone in the class can use them to study. There will be no extensions on the final project and final reports.

Format of your assignments

All assignments/reports in hard copy must be typed (no handwriting will be accepted), single sided, labeled with your full name in the right hand corner of each page you turn in, with separate problems on separate pages (to make distributed grading easier). Have all pages stapled together and turn it all in at the beginning of lab on the due date. 

Questions/disputes of grades

Any questions, concerns, or disputes of grades should be directed to:
  • Lab reports: to the lab assistant.
  • Lecture homeworks: to the teaching assistant.
  • Exams: to the instructor.

    Cheating and Academic Integrity

    The USC Student Conduct Code prohibits plagiarism. All USC students, and therefore all students in this course, are responsible for reading and following the Student Conduct Code, which appears in the current SCampus. Also look here for useful information from the Office for Student Conduct, including a guide to avoiding plagiarism, which defines plagiarism and includes examples and explanations of effective and ineffective paraphrasing.

     Although you will be working in groups, all reports must be written independently. Copying/sharing reports (either short lab reports or the final project report) will be considered cheating. Examples of what is not allowed by the conduct code: copying all or part of someone else's work (by hand or by looking at others' files, either secretly or if shown), and submitting it as your own; giving another student in the class a copy of your assignment/report; consulting with another student during an exam. If you have questions about what is allowed, please discuss it with the instructor.

     Students who violate University standards of academic integrity are subject to disciplinary sanctions, including failure in the course and suspension from the University. Since dishonesty in any form harms the individual, other students, and the University, policies on academic integrity will be strictly enforced. We expect you to familiarize yourself with the Academic Integrity guidelines found in the current SCampus. Violations of the Student Conduct Code will be filed with the Office of Student Conduct, and appropriate sanctions will be given.

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