Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Is the whole textbook required reading?
    No! See link at the left panel under "Schedule" (bottom of page), or "Text,Grading". Also, the "Study Guides" provide very important pointers to what is important in each chapter/topic.
  2. Can we work in teams for the assignments?
    Yes. Teams up to 3 people are ok, and working in teams in encouraged. Please submit one assignment from one of the accounts and email me the names of the team members that collaborated. You do not need to stick with one team for all the assignements, you can change teams, or take assignements individually as you please. Thus you need to email the instructor every time you collaborate in an assignment.
  3. Are there deadlines for the assignments?
    Yes. Please see "Schedule" link in the left panel for more information. You can go through the assignments as fast as you want/can, but no much slower than the pace dictated by the "closing dates".
  4. Is there a time limit for the assignements?
    No. You can take as much time as you need. Typically it takes about 30-45 minutes per assignement if you have studied ahead, or about 2 hours if you read/study while you click. Taking the assignment over several days is also possible, but if you run windows on your computer, I assure you that your browser or your windows will crash before you finish (see below).
  5. How can I pick which assignment to take?
    You cannot. The assignments are designed to be taken sequentially (1,2,3,...) since each subsequent section is building on prior materials. If you need to skip an assignment (e.g. you collaborated with a collegue on hw1 and submitted it from his/her account, and now you want to take hw2 from your account) just submit an empty assignement (you'll get a zero grade, so email me and let me know) and move on to the next...
  6. Some questions seem 'vague' (badly worded) or look like 'trick' questions.
    Yes, I know! These are typically questions that I want you to pause and think. They are typically about something that is intuitively accepted (i.e. if they were worded differently you would intuitively and without any knowledge of polymers answer them correctly). Also, be careful of questions that offer you choices like "all/none of the above"; these are also questions that you need to pause and think about all the choices you are offered.
  7. Why are the Quizzes easier than the Homeworks?
    Homeworks are supposed to be teaching tools (rather than testing tools) that's why their weight in your grade is so small (each homework question is about 0.18% of your final grade, whereas each quiz question is 0.75% and each question in the final is about 1.5% of your final grade). Homeworks are there to help (push?) you think about and go through the course material in some detail. Quizzes, on the other hand, are emphasizing on simple principles that are important in polymer science, and some of the ideas that you will hopefully retain after you are all done with this course.
  8. What if I have questions about the material, or do not understand something?
    There are TA office hours (please see office hours to address questions. Very specific points can be address by emailing the instructor (typically, to get the correct answer for a question that you missed in a homework).
  9. What if the quiz crashes before I have a chance to submit it?
    This is quite rare and is mostly due to crashes of the PC or the browser that you are working on, or by accidentally hitting enter (which will submit the homework). Unfortunately when this happens you have lost any work you did during that session, and you need to reopen and retake the assignment (a brand new series of questions will be given to you each time you open/ refresh/ retake an assignment). Over the past 9 years the quiz server has never crashed.
  10. Can we save or print the homework/quiz questions?
    No, because these can be exploited (disseminated in violation of university's copyright laws, or can be used to cheat). You can however print those questions you missed (again to minimize any chances of misconduct, you will not be provided with the correct answers), and you can think what is the correct answer (90% of the time you'll understand what went wrong), or discuss any doubts with the TA or the instructor.