Course structure + policies


This page is important - please read it all!


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. Announcements will be made verbally in class and/or on GitHub.

Practical matters and expectations

  • Classes are in person. Complete the tasks listed here before each class starts.

  • Attendance: Not mandatory, but heavily incentivized. Optimize your own tradeoffs as you wish but take responsibility for it. See below.

  • 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. This will be a very hands-on course, with relatively little in the way of formal theory. Instead, we’ll be working through lecture notes together in class and you’ll be running code on your own machines.

  • Free and open-source: All resources and software required for this course.1

  • “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. In that spirit, many of the lectures will follow a tutorial on someone’s blog tutorial, or involve reproducing an existing study with open source tools.” -Grant McDermott

  • 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!


  • Seeing students in class is fun for me, and your attendance will help you (and your classmates!) learn the content of this course. Attendance in prior years was extremely correlated with assignment and project grades. Plus, I sometimes make live-only announcements during class.

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

  • I will take attendance intermittently and randomly throughout the semester without notice, and will award points to students in attendance.

  • Email me if you have to miss class.

  • I will submit a Section 3 report if I do not see you in class for two weeks or have a sequence of missed deadlines.

Grading policies and academic integrity

  • All assignments must be completed individually.

  • Changes to submissions after the deadline will be ignored. Answer keys are posted at the submission deadlines, and thus, late work is not accepted. If you follow the guidance in class, you’ll at least get partial credit for your work.

  • Missed assignments will receive a zero. There are no make ups or reweighting because each assignment is under 5% of the final grade.

  • Final grades will be curved if necessary, but last year the usual cutoffs (60, 63, 67, 70, …, 93) were used.

  • Pass/fail: Each assignment in the course must be completed for a student to receive a passing grade

  • Class Policy 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

  • 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.

Statement on Generative AI tools (e.g. ChatGPT)

Moved to a dedicated page, please read it.

If you’ve read this far down, great! Make sure you finish this page, it’s worth it!

University policies

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

Bias, Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation, and Sexual Misconduct (Including Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Sexual Exploitation)

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, (and 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.

Harassment and discrimination, including sexual harassment and misconduct, not only disrupts this commitment and violates our principles, but may also violate University policy and applicable laws.

Lehigh University and its faculty are committed to providing an environment that is free from bias, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, domestic violence, and sexual exploitation). If you have experienced, witnessed, or become aware of any of these behaviors, you are strongly encouraged to report the incident to the Lehigh University Police Department (LUPD) at 610-758-4200 or to the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator/Title IX Coordinator (EOCC) at 610-758-3535 or at

If you would prefer to submit your report electronically, two online reporting forms are available and may be submitted to report the incident:

  1. Gender Violence Incident Notification Form

  2. Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation, or Bias Incident Reporting Form

Please note that, while the University options to respond may be limited, the online reporting forms may be submitted anonymously. Every effort will be made to address concerns reported anonymously.

You can access support and resources even if you do not want to take any further action following the submission of a report.

Notice Regarding Mandatory Reporting Obligations of Faculty

All faculty, staff, and administrators of Lehigh University are required by the Policy on Harassment and Non-Discrimination to report to the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator/Title IX Coordinator and/or police any incident of bias, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, domestic violence, and sexual exploitation) that they become aware of, directly or indirectly, that involves students. Mandatory reporting helps to ensure that students are connected to the full range of resources and options afforded to them. If you would like to speak with someone confidentially (someone who does not have a reporting obligation to the University), you are invited to contact any or all of the following internal and external resources:

More information can be found at or by contacting the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator & Title IX Coordinator, Karen A. Salvemini, at or at 610-758-3535.

If you’ve read this far down, congrats! Send me a picture of a bunny by Jan 31 and I’ll give you some extra credit. If you’re a late add, you have until the day of the second class after you join.


I do strongly recommend investing in yourself by buying a second monitor if you have any space for it. With a second monitor, your productivity in all work and classes will be improved. 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 and that this class does not require you to pay for any materials, software, or subscriptions.