Grading Policy

This page defines the course's grading policy. In essence, everything to do with grading, including ethical issues. See the course's about page for a description of the course itself.

The material on this page is organized as follows:

  1. Access to Grades
  2. Bonuses
  3. Participation
  4. Penalties
  5. Final Grades
  6. Letter Grades
  7. Cheating and Plagiarism
  8. Teamwork, Cooperation, and Discussions

Access to Grades

You can access your grades through Webcourses@UCF.


There are several bonuses for the course.

There is a 20% bonus for presenting on the first day of presentations and a 10% bonus for presenting on the second day of presentations; these are available for all group homeworks after HW1.

Participation Grade

The participation part of your grade is intended to increase your professional skills.

Ten percent of your final grade can be earned by participation, either by asking questions or by writing critical reviews of presentations by other groups.


Starting with the homework 2 presentations, you can earn points by asking a good question, either in person or in the Zoom chat, during a presentation, or in a Webcourses discussion post before the next class meeting. These points will count towards the "participation" part of your grade.

See the Asking Good Questions document for advice and grading details.

The limit of 2 points (maximum) per class meeting defines an implicit maximum number of points for this part of your grade.

Critical Reviews

A critical review is a brief summary of a presentation by another group that helps crystalize thinking about the evidence and analysis given in a presentation. Critical reviews are to be done individually.

You may submit a critical review no more than twice during any set of homework presentations by groups (i.e., up to twice for HW2, twice for HW3, etc.), but you cannot submit a review for a presentation by your own group.

See the assignment about critical reviews for details and grading.

The limit of two critical reviews for a homework sets a limit on the number of points you may earn for critical reviews.


There will be various penalties for assignments that are not done on time.

Not Being Ready

You lose 20 points (out of 100 for a presentation) if you are not ready to present at the scheduled time. Thus it is best to have a backup system (e.g., having your partner have a copy of the presentation) and it is best to test out the technology before the presentation.

If someone in your group is sick and cannot be in class to present due to a documented medical problem or family emergency, then we will reschedule your presentation. We will not take points off for this, provided the reason is adequately documented.

If your group is not able to present, then it is best if you can find another group to swap times with your group. However, if it is not possible to reschedule, then we may have your group present during office hours.

Late Written Work

Written work (or required emails) must be turned in when due in the manner prescribed. Such work that is late by less than 24 hours will result in a 25 percent penalty. Written work that is later than 24 hours will result in all points for that assignment being lost.

Final Grades

Final grades for the course will be based on your performance in the presentation and writing assignments during the semester. You can anticipate between 4-6 topics covering various areas of IT. Each topic will consist of an oral presentation to the class. The writing assignments will be split into a draft and a final report. There are no exams.

Final grades are based on the following weights.

Component Weight
Presentations 50%
Participation 10%
Report 40%

The idea behind this grading scheme is to enhance your communication skills and get you involved in the material.

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Letter Grades

Your grade is independent of anyone else's grade in this class. That is, we do not grade on a curve, and everyone can get an A. Our purpose in grading is to uphold a standard of quality and to give you feedback: it is not to rank students.

Although we will not always make fine distinctions in points the nominal minimum standards are given by the following table. (We will only assign +/- grades for borderline cases.)


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Cheating and Plagiarism

The simple rule of thumb is:

Never give or use someone else's presentation or written answers.

Such exchanges are definitely cheating and not cooperation. This includes taking answers from the web.

If you use reference materials to solve a problem, you must give a citation. Furthermore, use of more than a few words from any source (including the course texts) must be properly set off with quotation marks ("...") or in an italicized block quote and a proper citation given. This definitely includes material from the web. Not attributing material as described above is plagiarism, which is a form of cheating. This includes arranging sentences from other sources without proper use of quotation marks and citations for each quote. We take plagiarism quite seriously, so note this policy well.

Here's a standard statement (from the UCF FCTL web site) about our use of

"To detect cheating we may use, an automated system that can quickly and easily compare each student's assignment with billions of web sites, as well as an enormous database of student papers that grows with each submission. Accordingly, you may be expected to submit assignments in electronic format. After the assignment is processed, as an instructor I receive a report from that states if and how another author's work was used in the assignment. For a more detailed look at this process, visit"

If we catch you cheating on a test or exchanging code or written answers, you will get no credit for that test or homework, and you may be reported to the Director of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Read the section on academic dishonesty/cheating in the Golden Rule.

If you honestly believe that certain problems are too much busy work, then bring it to the instructor's attention; or failing that, only do the part of the problem that you think you need to do to learn the material and explain that to us.

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Teamwork, Cooperation, and Discussions

Some assignments in this class will be done in teams. When working with other team members, you are expected to cooperate and collaborate and that is not considered cheating.

You are encouraged to discuss this class with other students outside your team. Such discussions about ideas are not cheating, whereas the exchange of finished presentations or written work with people outside your team is cheating. However, when you have more than casual discussions about assignments, you must cite the other person as described below.

When you cooperate on ideas or other work that goes into a final product for an assignment, you must cite the other people you worked with as follows. This must be done for each assignment on which you cooperate or collaborate.

If you have someone else produce final products that you turn in as your own work, then that is cheating. Such cheating will be dealt with as described above. It should be clear that you will learn less by such exchanges of finished work.

Be careful, not to get involved in an unequal collaboration, where you are doing less work than someone else. Part of what you need to do to learn the material is to struggle with it; if you deny yourself that struggle, you will learn less and remember what you learned less. So beware of this trap.

Also, as a kindness to your classmates, you should terminate an unequal collaboration where you are doing more than the other person. The other person will learn the material better if you help them but don't collaborate so closely. In this case it's better to help them only by discussing problems with them, and not by jointly collaborating on solutions.

If you have questions about the details of cooperation vs. cheating, please see the professor.

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Last modified Tuesday, December 15, 2020.

This web page is for COP 4910 at the University of Central Florida. The details of this course are subject to change as experience dictates. You will be informed of any changes. Please direct any comments or questions to Gary T. Leavens at Some of the policies and web pages for this course are quoted or adapted from other courses I have taught, in partciular, COP 4020.