Welcome! In CS 209, we delve into the interdisciplinary endeavor of creating educational applications. This course covers technology, psychology (e.g., motivation, engagement), and pedagogy (e.g., constructivism) as they apply to educational technology so that students can design and build an educational learning application. Labs focus on developing expertise in technology, and readings supplement lecture discussions on the human components of education. The specific goals of the course are these:
  • Learn education theory on how people learn
  • Learn design principles for game design
  • Learn how to create large-scale software in a team
  • Learn a technology in which to implement a learning application

This course will consist of readings (with associated questions), videos from me that introduce the subjects of the readings, discussion-based lecture periods to discuss readings, their relationships to our experiences, and implications towards game design, labs to develop technical skills, and a group design and implementation project that brings together everything learned in the course. Students will make presentations about their project progress. In addition, graduate students will lead a discussion on a learning subject. Finally, there will be a final report on your game design and how the design elements relate to the concepts in the class in addition to the video demonstrating their game.

Getting Help

Piazza is now available again for university use (yay). You have all been enrolled in the Piazza course for 209. For any clarification questions or general questions that don't leak information about your solution, please ask as a public question on Piazza. For any specific questions about your implementation, post as a private post to the instructors. In general, there should be no need to email the teaching staff except to notify me about missing class due to health reasons or other extenuating circumstances.

Class Policies

Laptops are not allowed in class. I allowed them last time, and the majority of students used them in lieu of participating in class, not to enhance their participation in class.

Lab Sessions

Students must register for and attend lab sessions each week. Lab sessions are held in the Computer Science Instructional Laboratory (also known as the CSIL); it is located on the first floor of Crerar Library. Attendance at the lab session for which you are registered is expected - this is how you get started on each lab and is an important source of help that you may need later.

Grading / Assignments

There will be weekly reading / writing assignments as well as programming assignments to build your game engine. Everything is turned in via Gradescope.

Each student’s final grade will be computed according to the following formula:

  • per-lecture reading assignment questions 20% (completed prior to class),
  • in-class participation 5%,
  • presentation 5%,
  • midterm 15%,
  • labs 25%,
  • cumulative (milestones + final document) project 30%.

The lowest 2 in-class participation scores and reading scores will be dropped.

This course is graded on a beneficial curve; You are guaranteed not to get lower than straight scale (A>=93%, A- (90->93), B+ (97->90), etc.). Due to the group project, a student's final grade in the course can be no more than one letter grade higher than their performance on individually graded portions. For example, if a student has a C on individually-graded aspects of the course, then they are eligible to earn no better than a B when taking into account the group project.

Late Policy

Reading questions and in-class participation questions are not accepted late for any reason (though you may miss two with no penalty, as stated above).

In order to accommodate unanticipated, emergency situations, you may turn in written or programming assignments up to 48 hours late: (0-24] hours, 10% penalty, (24-48], 20% penalty. No explicit permission required nor is help provided to calculate the risk/benefit analysis of intentionally submitting late.

Nothing will be accepted more than 48 hours unless you contact me prior to the original deadline (unless you are hospitalized or otherwise unable to contact me).

Regrade requests

Regrade requests for weekly assignments and exams must be submitted within 5 working days (one week) of when you received the grade / feedback.

Academic Honesty

In this course, as in all your courses, you must adhere to college-wide honesty guidelines as set forth at http://college.uchicago.edu/ policies-regulations/academic-integrity-student-conduct. The college's rules have the final say in all cases. Our own paraphrase is as follows:
    Never copy work from any other source and submit it as your own. Never allow your work to be copied or seen by another student. Never submit work identical to another student's. Never look at someone's working solution in order to solve your error. Document all collaboration. Generally, collaboration is forbidden on the reading portion of homework assignments. Cite your sources.

Groups obviously share code amongst themselves, but they are not allowed to share code between groups in any shape or form.

We will enforce the following rule as well: any student who is under suspicion of having violated academic honesty rules will not be allowed to withdraw from this course.

Policy on ChatGPT or other generative AI systems:

You may use ChatGPT to improve your prose or provide brainstorming, but you are responsible for performing any research yourself, such as looking up standards, citations, etc. ChatGPT is well known to "hallucinate" or make up facts because it is merely writing words that resemble ones that might be used to answer a particular question. It is not *trying* to be factual.

You must specify for what purpose you used ChatGPT if you used it (e.g. to revise a paragraph, brainstorm ideas related to X, etc.).

If you turn in material that is clearly factually incorrect, you will receive no credit for that section. The presence of ChatGPT has made it too easy to create factually incorrect, nicely-written text, so you will not receive credit for turning in something that is of the same quality / has the same characteristics as something produced by ChatGPT.

Withdraws, Pass/Fail Requests

All requests for Pass/Fail must be received before the project presentations on the last week of class. Note that if you take this course P/F, you may not use it to satisfy requirements for a computer science major or minor. Withdraw requests are now handled by your college advisor, not the instructor nor the major advisor.