Course structure + policies


This page is important - please read it all!


Structure and policies aren’t fixed. This is only the second year of the class, so my approach to the class can change and shift as I learn what works and doesn’t. And also… it’s a pandemic. So we might need to adapt for reasons outside our control.

Github, or: How I learned to ignore Coursesite (for FIN377)

The whole class is run off this website and GitHub. GitHub is how we’ll submit assignments, provide feedback, receive grades, etc. You’ll learn how this works as the semester proceeds. Coursesite will only be used to post links I don’t want public. Announcements will be made verbally in class and/or on Github.

Class Meetings

To achieve our objectives, we will have class meetings at the scheduled times via Zoom. Zoom links are posted on the coursesite (for security), and if you need to attend the other one for any reason, please email me.

This course will be, in essence, “pseudo flipped.” Meetings will be a mix of lecture, live demo, discussion, pair programming, code races, and tiny student presentations of pre-class problems. I’ll tell you more as we move along, but I’m striving to make class sessions productive and interesting throughout.

In addition, you will have as resources this website, your peers via a github discussion board, the whole of the internet, and, naturally, office hours. Which is to say: You have my utmost support, and you will succeed if you put in the time!

How to improve your zoom life, our class, and your grades

  1. Please use headphones! This will both eliminate feedback and allow simultaneous two-way talk, a la in person classes.

  2. Invest in yourself: I strongly urge you to buy a second monitor if you have any space for it.

    • With a second monitor, your productivity in all work and classes will be improved.

    • In our class specifically, you can put zoom on your first screen to see code I’m writing and replicate it on the second screen.

    • You can find good new monitors for under $75 on your go-to delivery service, and for far less if you get a used one.

    • Note that everything else in class is free and open-source that this class does not require you to pay for any materials, software, or subscriptions.

    • Taking a step back, one of the goals of this course is to make you aware of the incredible array of instruction material that is freely available online. I also want to encourage you to be entrepreneurial.” -Grant McDermott

  3. Update your Zoom software to the most recent version - we will use the latest features.

Policy on recording classes

Update for next year! For 2021, I did end up recording lectures.

I’m not sure if I will record any sessions, but if I do, they will be available on our coursesite. I do know that even if I do, some sessions (and/or parts of some sessions), will not be recorded or posted for privacy concerns. So don’t make assumptions about what will be available! Also, any recordings I post will be deleted within 2 weeks, so don’t fall behind!


Seeing students in class is fun for me, and your attendance will help you learn the content in this course. Plus, I sometimes make live-only announcements during class. Remember: This class is still quite new, so things are liable to change.

With that in mind, a large part of the grade depends on attendance, directly or indirectly.

I will take snapshots of the zoom gallery intermittantly throughout the semester without notice, and will award points to those with their cameras on.

Grading policies and academic integrity

  • Unless explicitly noted, all assignments must be completed individually.

  • Changes to submissions after the deadline will be ignored.

  • Missed assignments will receive a zero.

Student Senate Statement on Academic Integrity

We, the Lehigh University Student Senate, as the standing representative body of all undergraduates, reaffirm the duty and obligation of students to meet and uphold the highest principles and values of personal, moral and ethical conduct. As partners in our educational community, both students and faculty share the responsibility for promoting and helping to ensure an environment of academic integrity. As such, each student is expected to complete all academic course work in accordance to the standards set forth by the faculty and in compliance with the University’s Code of Conduct.

More on Academic Integrity

The work you do in this course must be your own. This means that you must be aware when you are building on someone else’s ideas—including the ideas of your classmates, your professor, and the authors you read—and explicitly acknowledge when you are doing so. Feel free to build on, react to, criticize, and analyze the ideas of others but, when you do, make it known whose ideas you are working with. If you ever have questions about drawing the line between others’ work and your own, ask me and I will give you clear guidance or you may visit Lehigh Library’s ‘Proper Use of Information’ page at

Important syllabus policies

The Principles of Our Equitable Community

The Principles of Our Equitable Community: Lehigh University endorses The Principles of Our Equitable Community. We expect each member of this class to acknowledge and practice these Principles. Respect for each other and for differing viewpoints is a vital component of the learning environment inside and outside the classroom.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Lehigh University is committed to maintaining an equitable and inclusive community and welcomes students with disabilities into all of the University’s educational programs. In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, a student with a disability must contact Disability Support Services (DSS), provide documentation, and participate in an interactive review process. If the documentation supports a request for reasonable accommodations, DSS will provide students with a Letter of Accommodations. Students who are approved for accommodations at Lehigh should share this letter and discuss their accommodations and learning needs with instructors as early in the semester as possible. For more information or to request services, please contact Disability Support Services in person in Williams Hall, Suite 301, via phone at 610-758-4152, via email at, or online at

Lehigh University Policy on Harassment and Non-Discrimination

Lehigh University upholds The Principles of Our Equitable Community and is committed to providing an educational, working, co-curricular, social, and living environment for all students, staff, faculty, trustees, contract workers, and visitors that is free from harassment and discrimination on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital or familial status, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Such harassment or discrimination is unacceptable behavior and will not be tolerated. The University strongly encourages (and, depending upon the circumstances, may require) students, faculty, staff or visitors who experience or witness harassment or discrimination, or have information about harassment or discrimination in University programs or activities, to immediately report such conduct.