Learning expectations

CS 110 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


Ziad Matni - ziad.matni@ucsb.edu

Office: HFH 1123

Office Hours: Tuesdays 1:30-3:00 PM (in person) or by appointment


Teaching Assistant / Course Mentor:

Thomas Schibler - tschibler@ucsb.edu

Office Hours: Mondays, 2 - 4 PM, Location: Henley 2014


Undergraduate Learning Assistant:

Ryan He - ryanhe@ucsb.edu

Office Hours: Thursdays, 1 - 3 PM, Location: Henley 2014

Course Time and Location

MW 12:30 - 1:45 PM, ILP 2207

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. We will take attendance. 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 TA Thomas and Prof. Matni 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.

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 Prof. Matni 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, but within 24-hours of deadline), 0 (homework not done by deadline + 24 hours). 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 (i.e., Week 11 of the quarter).

Course Grades

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. Letter grades are then assigned, per the usual/normal scales (i.e., A is 93 or above, A- is 90 to 92.99, B+ is 87 to 89.99, B is 83 to 86.99, etc...). I usually do not curve grades, but will leave that decision until after all work for the quarter is turned in. I do not curve down.

Other Important Policies

Academic Integrity
It is expected that students attending the University of California understand and subscribe to the ideal of academic integrity, and are willing to bear individual responsibility for their work. Any work (written or otherwise) submitted to fulfill an academic requirement must represent a student's original work. Any act of academic dishonesty, such as cheating or plagiarism, will subject a person to University disciplinary action. Using or attempting to use materials, information, study aids, or commercial "research" services not authorized by the instructor of the course constitutes cheating. Representing the words, ideas, or concepts of another person without appropriate attribution is plagiarism – this includes utilizing answers obtained from artificial intelligence (AI) programs and applications. Whenever another person's written work is utilized, whether it be a single phrase or longer, quotation marks must be used and sources cited. Paraphrasing another's work, i.e., borrowing the ideas or concepts and putting them into one's "own" words, must also be acknowledged.

I will report the violation to the Associate Dean of Students for possible referral to the Conduct Committee. That committee has the authority to impose a range of sanctions, including suspension. Further information is available at: https://studentconduct.sa.ucsb.edu/academic-integrity

The minimum penalty you will get for cheating/plagiarizing is failing the course (with an F grade). If you are ever uncertain if a certain situation constitutes plagiarism, check with the instructor or the TA.


The Classroom as a Safe Space

It goes without saying that I will not tolerate any discrimination or sexual or other harassment in the class.

Under Title IX, university students are protected from harassment and discrimination based on gender and sex. If a student feels uncomfortable or in need of support at any time related to their gender, sex, and/or sexual orientation, please contact your TA and/or course instructor immediately. If a student would like to disclose information related to pronouns, name changes, or identities, we encourage you to do so.

All students have the right to learn and participate in a classroom environment free of intimidation, harassment, and discrimination based on characteristics such as gender, race, age, sexual orientation, disability, religious or political beliefs and affiliations. I will address any related issues that surface immediately; please help me to cultivate a positive classroom environment by communicating any concerns that you have.

Campus Resources

If you would like a list of campus resources, including for the Disabled Students Program, Safety Escorts, Food for All, Counseling (CAPS), and others, please let the instructor or the TA know.