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Ian!s Assignment Submission Standards

Updated: January 17, 2011

The College allocates a maximum of 108 seconds per student per class hour per week for a professor to do "student evaluation" such as marking assignments, midterms, and exams. For a class delivered as four hours per week, this means 7.2 minutes per student per week, or less than two hours total evaluation per student for all assignments, tests, and exams for the entire 15-week term.

In marking assignments, I want to spend time working with your ideas and not waste time looking up your student number or section, or trying to figure out which assignment I have in front of me. If I spend five minutes trying to figure out who you are, that leaves me zero time to mark your submission.  With 150 students to assess each week, every minute of time I spend per student generates 2 1/2 hours of work!

To make this work manageable, I have some rules for anything you physically hand in that you want me to mark.  (Assignments submitted via a course management system such as Blackboard do not need an assignment label, since Blackboard tags your submissions.) Assignments that don't conform to the submission format will incur a penalty.  (The penalty may be that I leave your mis-formatted or poorly identified assignment to the last and do not have time to mark it.)

These standards are a minimum.  Anything you do that makes the assignment easier to understand and to read is welcome.  Good style and organization is valued both here and in the job market.

Assignment Submission Label

Most materials submitted non-electronically (including diskettes, if required) must be identified using the following label.  (Assignments submitted via a course management system such as Blackboard do not need an assignment label, since Blackboard tags your submissions.) You can copy the label from this Web page, add your personal information, and use it.  For full marks, do not re-order, change the spelling of, or delete any of the items on this label; please copy the eight items exactly:

Eight-line Assignment Submission Label
Item (must be spelled exactly as given)Fill in this space ...
Student Name 
Algonquin EMail Address 
Student Number 
Course Number 
Lab Section Number 
Professor Name 
Assignment Name/Number/Date 

For full marks, the exact spellings used on the eight lines above are required.  No alterations are permitted.

  1. Your Student Name is required so I can tell it's you.
  2. Your Algonquin EMail Address is required so that I can contact you if I have problems understanding what you submitted.  Just the userid part of the address is required; you can omit the "" part.
  3. Your Student Number is required so I can enter your marks for the registrar.  No student number, no mark.
  4. The Course Number is required because assignments for many of my courses are submitted in the same place.  If I can't tell immediately which course a submission is for, it may be put into my junk pile and not be marked.
  5. Your Lab Section Number (not the lecture section number, if they are different!) is required so I can bring the assignment to the correct Lab when it is marked.  (Some classes don't have different Lab Section numbers; in that case, use your class section number.)
  6. The Professor Name is required so I can tell if you really meant it for me.   It may also save you if, on a dark night, you accidentally put an assignment meant for me into the assignment box belonging to a different instructor.
  7. The Assignment Name/Number/Date (e.g. Assignment 3 due July 31 2010) is required so I can separate the assignments into piles before marking.  Don't put two different assignments together under the same label; use separate submissions so that I can separate them.  Please - separate each assignment!
  8. The Comments field is optional.  It may be a brief comment that tells me that what you handed in is not complete and that I should collect all the remaining parts of this assignment before marking it.  Write in the specific part of the assignment, e.g. "Part 2/2: source listing to accompany test results". The comments relate to the assignment submission, not to the programming that might be in the file. Use a separate file header if you are submitting program source code.

Here is a sample eight-line label - use separate labels for each Assignment:

  • Student Name:                 Eileen Dover
  • Algonquin EMail Address:      dove0001
  • Student Number:               074-210-779
  • Course Number:                CST 2001
  • Lab Section Number:           021
  • Professor Name:               Ian Allen
  • Assignment Name/Number/Date:  Homework 3 due July 31, 2010
  • Comments: 

On paper, you don't need to put this label on a separate cover page; it only has to be visible on the outside of your submission.   You can put it on the top half of your first page of your submission.

Don't hide this label; put it on the outside of anything you submit.

For full marks, the spelling of the eight label fields must be exactly as shown. No alterations are allowed.

Assignment Submission Format

Assignments submitted electronically (e.g. via network)

If an Assignment Submission Label is required, ensure that it is in the exact eight-line format given above, using the exact spelling of the field names. (I use programs to read these labels; spelling errors make the labels unreadable.)

Assignments submitted via a course management system such as Blackboard do not need an assignment label, since Blackboard tags your submissions.

Printed Materials - Label the Outside

Printed assignments should be labelled on the outside using my Assignment Submission Label.  Make sure that the label is visible on the outside; I do not want to have to dig into your submission to find the label. Usually, having the label at the top of the first page of the assignment is sufficient.  The rest of the page doesn't have to be blank.

Printed assignments should be submitted on corner-stapled 8 1/2 by 11 inch or metric A4 format paper.  If you print on wide (15 inch) computer paper, trim it down to the above size.  Fasten your assignments together securely using good staples in one corner, ensuring that the staples don't hide any of the printed material on the inside.  Do not use envelopes or folders unless you are enclosing a diskette.  No folders!  No envelopes!

Assignments submitted on diskette

If diskettes or other hand-in media are required, they must also be individually labelled using my Assignment Submission Label.  Put your assignment paper and diskette into an unsealed 9" by 11" envelope, with the Assignment Submission Label on the outside.  Also pay attention to the specific assignment instructions for non-paper submission formats; each case may be different.  Do not seal the envelope; but, do ensure that the diskette is behind the paper in the envelope and thus does not fall out when the closed envelope is inverted.

Do's and Don'ts

  • Submit only paper that is 8 1/2 inches wide. If you use wider computer paper, trim off the right hand side so that the result is 8 1/2 inches wide.  (No source code should be wider than 8 1/2 inches.  Fold your long lines as you write the code.)
  • Keep each assignment as a separate submission, with a separate assignment submission label, so that I can put it into its own pile.  Don't staple or package together multiple assignments.
  • Do not put assignments into envelopes (unless a diskette is also required to be submitted); it takes a long time to dig two hundred assignments out of two hundred envelopes.  Use staples in one corner of the 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch paper.
  • If you are asked to enclose a diskette, put the diskette behind the paper in the envelope so that the diskette does not fall out of the unsealed envelope when it is inverted.  Do not seal your envelopes!
  • Do not put assignments into stiff folders or fancy plastic covers that do not open flat for reading and marking. (Many plastic covers do not open flat for marking.)
  • No hand-written text submissions.  Type it and print it.  Diagrams can be hand-drawn; however, using a drawing program is a useful skill you should acquire.
  • Don't use paper clips or temporary fasteners. The internal environment of the assignment boxes and under-the-door piles will rip apart anything held together with paper clips or rubber bands, and I must discard any assignments that fall apart into disorderly pieces.  Use staples in one corner.
  • Do submit clearly printed assignments.
    • You are responsible for the quality of your submissions. Don't blame the printer or the tab settings; set your tabs correctly and find a better ribbon or better printer.
    • Choose your font and font size carefully; assignments where the text wraps around the margins are penalized for poor format.
    • Program listings and screen output must be in a fixed-with, monospace Courier font, not a proportional-width font such as you see in most of this web page:
    • You can make small hand-written corrections to printed output if you need to. You don't have to reprint the whole assignment to fix a spelling error or add a small bit of missing information.
    • Make sure your staples don't hide assignment information.  Print the assignment to leave clear room for the staple.  I don't rip apart assignments to read them, and I only mark what I can read.
  • Submit only what is required:
    • Only submit diskettes if I ask for them.
    • Only submit program listings if I ask for them.
    • Only submit output if I ask for it.
    • Please submit exactly what I require.  Marks are deducted for excess, unnecessary paper.
  • Submit assignment parts in the format that they are required:
    • Assignment requirements may include live demonstrations, printed output, diskettes, file submission into a directory on the file server, or even email.
    • If I ask for a demonstration of your program, be sure to give me a demonstration.
    • If I ask for printed output in addition to a diskette, remember to submit the paper too!
    • Submissions with diskettes required should be in unsealed envelopes with a copy of the Assignment Submission Label information on the outside of the envelope.

If you submit your assignments in a professional format that is clear and easy to understand, I will be pleased to give them my full attention.  Anything you do to make the format clearer or easier to mark will weigh in your favour.  Thank you!

Table of Contents - for long assignments only

If the assignment submission is lengthy and contains more than one part, supply near the front of the assignment a cover letter or Table of Contents.  This table outlines how you have structured your submission and in what order I'll find the pieces.  You can put it on a cover page under the Assignment Submission Label, if it fits.

For example, your table of contents might tell me that the submission contains two program source listings and your test strategy, followed by test input files and test output files for each program:

Sample Table of Contents for Assignment 3
Basic Sort Algorithmmain()page 2
bubblesort()page 4
display()page 6
Advanced Sort Algorithmmain()page 7
quicksort()page 8
display()page 10
Test StrategyWhat and Whypage 11
Basic Sort Testingtest #1 input/outputpage 12
test #2 input/outputpage 13
test #3 intput/outputpage 14
Advanced Sort Testingtest #4 input/outputpage 15
test #5 input/outputpage 16
test #6 input/outputpage 17

Label each individual item clearly within the assignment, to make each section clear and easy to find.  If I don't see a label on an item explaining what it is, I won't have time to figure it out.

Number your pages consecutively, so that I can find things using the table of contents.

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