Learning expectations

CS110 is a course that helps you learn the basics of doing computer science research and apply them to a research project. The course helps you lay the groundwork for your work with the expectation that you complete your assigned project over the Winter and Spring quarters through ERSP or take up an independent project on your own. The knowledge and skills that you will learn in the course and through ERSP include:

  • Identifying and formulating research problems
  • Reading research papers
  • Working effectively in a team
  • Literature searching
  • Self-guided learning
  • Designing research studies
  • Data analysis
  • Time management, goal setting, and activity logging
  • Communicating about research, both orally and in written form
  • Effective teamwork communication and skills


Diba Mirza - diba@ucsb.edu

Office: HFH 1155

Office Hours: 3:30-4:30p Fridays (in person)

TA: Chinmay Sonar

Course Time and Location

MW 2:-3:15p South Hall 1430, (although some lectures will be in HFH 1132, please check the class schedule)

Expectations and Grading

This is a 4-unit course. We expect you to spend approximately 16 hours/week on this course, including time spent doing research on your project and time in class. With this course even more than others, what you get out of it will be a function of what you put into it. As a student in this course, you must commit to the following:

  1. Attend all classes and group meetings regularly and punctually. You may miss ONE lecture.
  2. Behave professionally toward your group members and the faculty and students who comprise the research group you are placed with.
  3. Complete the assigned work for the course in a timely fashion, and "pull your weight" with all assigned group projects.
  4. Keep an open line of communication between yourself, the members of your group, the course instructor, and the TA. In particular, you must let (Chinmay and Prof. Mirza) know if any issues arise, as soon as they arise.
  5. Balance your time so as to maintain success in your other courses.

In addition to the above, if you are admitted into ERSP, you are expected to actively and fully participate for the full 3-quarter duration of the program. Each quarter you are expected to register for the course associated with the ERSP program as instructed and to complete all work associated with that course. Continuing in ERSP in Winter and Spring is subject to satisfactory performance in CS110. On the other hand, students who are only taking CS110 may be invited to participate in ERSP in Winter and Spring if spots open up and they have a strong performance in CS110.

Your letter grade will be calculated based on the following criteria:

  • Class participation and punctuality

You must attend each class on time, and participate actively in the class activities. You will receive a score of 2 (present, on time, actively participating), 1 (present, on time, but not actively participating OR present and actively participating but late), or 0 (absent or late and not actively participating) for each class period. Your lowest one class participation score will be dropped. This means you can miss one class with no penalty as long as you are on time and participating in all the others. After that, it will start affecting your grade. If you have an emergency or an extended illness, please contact me as soon as possible.

  • Research group meeting attendance

Each week (starting in week 2, probably) you will be expected to attend a group meeting with your research group. One person in each group will be designated as the attendance taker. You will receive credit for attendance if you are on time and stay the full time. You must keep the attendance sheet up to date. You may miss up to one research meeting without penalty.

  • Log Maintenance

Throughout the program you will be expected to keep a regular log of your research activities. You must keep this log updated. We will check your log once per week (usually on Fridays), and you will receive a score of 2 (log up to date and complete), 1 (log partially up to date, or incomplete), or 0 (log not updated) for the week.

  • Homework assignment completion

There will be a homework assignment that must be completed before class for most class periods. This homework will be graded on a three-point scale: 2 (homework thoughtfully completed and on time), 1 (homework lacking, or completed after the deadline), 0 (homework not done). Your lowest one homework score will be dropped.

  • Contribution to your research group

At the end of the quarter, I will ask each person to judge the contribution of each of the other members of their group. From this information and my own observations over the quarter, I will make a determination about each person's individual contribution to the team. In a healthy team, everyone will get full marks here.

  • Project proposal

The project proposal is one of the major deliverables for the quarter. The final submission will be graded at the end of the quarter. (Grades on early drafts will be factored into your homework score).

  • Final presentation

The final presentation is the other major deliverable. It will be given during the final exam period.

Weighting, curves, and final grade assignment

Your grades will be weighted as follows:

  • 15% Class Participation and Punctuality
  • 5% Research group meeting attendance
  • 10% Logs
  • 15%Homework assignments
  • 5% Research group contribution
  • 30% Project Proposal
  • 20% Final Presentation

I will use point values assigned to each element to produce a weighted score at the end of the quarter. I will aim to stick to a standard 90-100 = some kind of A, 80-90 = some kind of B, etc scale, but I will curve the +s and -s within each grade range, and I may introduce a curve if I feel that numeric grades are leading to letter grades that are too low (I will not curve down).