Here is a more detailed description of the reaction paper and the project.
As a first assignment, and a way to get everyone thinking about the research issues underlying the course, there will be a short reaction paper of roughly 3-5 pages in length. You can work in groups of up to 3 people on the paper.
The reaction papers will be due on Feb. 21.
The reaction paper should be structured as follows. First, you should read at least two closely related papers relevant to a particular section of the course, at least one of which is not linked from the course home page. You should then write approximately 3-5 pages in which you address the following points:
Reaction papers should not just be summaries of the papers you read; most of your text should be focused on synthesis of the underlying ideas, and your own perspective on the papers. To make this concrete, you should make sure that you devote much of the content to the last bullet above: promising directions for further research. Ideally, the reaction paper should contain at least one of the following (or, ideally, both):
The first step in the project will be a short `proposal,' which should be a write-up of about 3 pages, containing references, that describes the plans for the project, a summary of the relevant background work (both from papers on the course home page and elsewhere), and any preliminary results.
The project proposal will be due on Mar. 28.
The basic genres of project are the following:
The project write-up will be due on April 27.
The final stage will be a presentation of the projects in class by each group. The exact schedule for the project presentations will be worked out later in the semester.
You are expected to maintain the utmost level of academic integrity in the course. Any violation of the code of academic integrity will be penalized severely, and can lead to failing the course.
Plagiarism deserves special mention here. Including text from other sources in a reaction paper or project write-up without quoting it and providing a proper citation constitutes plagiarism. This is a serious form of academic misconduct, and instances of plagiarism will very likely result in failing the course. Plagiarism is not just word-for-word copying; it also includes cases in which no full sentence has been copied from the original source, but large amounts of text have been closely paraphrased without proper attribution. There are a number of documents on the Web that provide a good sense for what is allowed; I personally find pages 16-22 of Cornell's Academic Integrity Code at http://web.cornell.edu/UniversityFaculty/docs/AI.Acknow.pdf to be very useful for this.