How do I get Points?

Opportunities for extra points that are always available (once per student):

Converting to Grades

Late Assignments

Academic Honesty


As part of our exploration of incentives for work, grades in this course will be calculated using points.

These will be used for various “gamification” elements in the course. For example, you’ll be able to “level up,” earn badges, etc. You’ll be able to track these from your very own course dashboard, which will be updated every Friday by midnight.

You’ll start out at the n00b level, but don’t worry: your crowdsourcing mastery will quickly increase. You’ll move up a level approximately every 50,000 points to start, although higher levels will require more accumulating more points.

Keep in mind, you can easily earn more points that you would need to get an A in the course. If you do, you’ll continue to unlock new levels, badges, and privileges.

If you’re one of the top three point scorers at the end of the semester, you’ll receive some sort of cool prize. There will also be a prize for all members of the final project team who collectively have the highest points. And, probably some more fun things.

How do I get Points?

Points can be earned in 5 ways:



Points Per

Points Total





Mini Quizzes








Final Project









As you can see, the bulk of the grade is formed from the projects (actually doing things with crowd programming). There will be 8 projects due roughly every week during the first ¾ of the semester. The projects will each have a clear rubric, and will be collectively graded in class as you show off how you completed your project to a classmate.


Reading reports are due as slides added to the day’s slidedeck before each class. You are required to make a substantive post about at least one reading for each class day. The posts do not necessary need to be long. The best posts are interesting, insightful, and draw connections to other class material. Summaries should be avoided, pictures are encouraged.

Final Project:

The final project will be a group project and will have deadlines throughout the term. Each group will have a final project presentation and a write-up due at the end of the semester.

Mini Quizzes:

There will be a short quiz at the start of every class. Attendance is important for success in the class. We will often work together, and if you miss class you’ll miss that opportunity. We’ll also collectively grade your project, and so attendance is especially important on those days. Nevertheless, we realize that sometimes you will be unable to make it to class. The quizzes are therefore only worth 200,000 points in total, which means you can miss three of them without being penalized. There will be no opportunities to make up missed quizzes.


There will be numerous opportunities to earn additional points throughout the semester.

Opportunities for extra points that are always available (once per student):

350 points:     bring something yummy for the whole class to eat (~40 people)

500 points:     work with Jeff to prepare a 5 minute presentation about a reading not on our list, and deliver it to the class

2,000 points:  create a non-trivial application using in some interesting way, and present it to the class

3,500 points:  figure out a way to make the M&M challenge work reliably on crowds like our class

Converting to Grades

In the end, points must be converted to grades to satisfy the registrar. To do this, we will divide the points that you earned by 1,630,000 to get a percentage.

The following is the worst-case grading scale – this is the worst you can do for a given percentage. Grades may be curved up in the case that it seems warranted, but we make no guarantees to do so.























Late Assignments

You are allowed to turn in Projects late at a standard penalty of 5% per day late until grading begins (will be at least 2 days after the due date to accommodate late turn-in, but may be longer). Work turned in after grading has begun will receive no credit, unless the student can demonstrate exceptional circumstances (usually a note from a doctor or equivalent).

There is no make up for mini-quizzes or readings. Mini-quizzes must be completed while you are physically in class.

If you feel like you might fall behind, let me know!  I am happy to work with you, but it’s very difficult to do after you’re already behind.

Academic Honesty

If you cheat, you fail the course because cheating is no fun for anyone.

You are allowed to discuss assignments with your classmates, but nothing written (on paper, in electronic format, on whiteboards, etc) should exist after these discussions. That also means that you cannot complete the assignments "together." You are not allowed to post any class material online. Furthermore, you are required to include with your submissions a list of anyone with whom you may have discussed the assignment. This applies to teams as well -- you may exchange whatever you want between team members, but any discussions across teams must be listed.

Mini-quizzes must be completed while in class and without consultation with online resources. Detecting both is relatively easy. The minimum penalty for such infractions is a zero on all quizzes and lowering of your overall letter grade by one letter.