About the ECE 313 Concept Matrix

Spring 2016

Rather than turning in problem sets, you are expected to read the notes and attempt to solve the short answer questions and many of the even numbered problems in the notes. The concepts to be covered, along with the sections of the notes you should read, and the short answer questions (SAQs) and problems you should solve, are listed for each quiz in the large table on the main course web page. The solutions to the even numbered problems are included in the appendix of the notes. Solutions will ** not ** be collected from you, but you are strongly encouraged to work out the problems on your own; only looking at the solutions when you are truly stuck. Learning how to use probability theory is best done through problem solving.

We encourage you to start the required reading and familiarize yourself with
the concepts to be learned for the quiz before the beginning of the week, and perhaps view some of the
short videos for the material. While we hope you find the videos useful, ** the videos are not intended to be a
replacement for reading the notes. ** Typically the videos focus on problem solving, whereas you need
to read the notes for the basic theory that is applied.

TIP: You can save time by demonstrating multiple concepts at one go--often the concepts for a given quiz are closely related. While we will try to adjust staffing hours to meet your needs, you might want to avoid lines that may grow shortly before the deadline for a group of concepts.

The protocol for concept matrix certification is as follows:

- Protocol rule 1: Read the notes and learn the concepts, either on your own or working in study groups. Make use of Piazza as needed for Q&A. You should know the concepts before seeking certification. There isn’t time for TAs and instructors to simultaneously, individually, teach and certify you on the concepts.
- Protocol rule 2: You will be certified individually or in groups of two, three, or possibly more students. You could either form a group prior to the office hour, or form one on the spot at the office hour with other students who happen to be at the office hour. The students in your group should ask each other questions to probe each others’ understanding of the concepts. Please be honest with each other about which concepts you know. You can take much more time with each other (such as five to ten minutes per student in the group) than the TA/instructor could spend with each of you individually. When a group of students presents itself for certification to a TA/instructor, every student in the group should have confidence that every student in the group knows every concept in the certification request.
- Protocol rule 3: The TA will ask you questions to test your ability to solve problems using the concepts. You will write your answers on a chalk board of piece of paper, and the TA/instructor will determine whether you have learned how to apply the concept. If you come to be certified as a group, the individuals in the group will still need to answer some questions individually, but the performance of each student in the group will be used to help evaluate the level of understanding of all students in the group at once.

Participating in groups is an opportunity for collaboration and improving valuable communication skills. While it is not an absolute requirement for you to participate in a group, the course staff will give priority to groups, because it is only fair to give priority to groups of students who have each helped in the certification process by not only learning the concepts themselves, but in helping certify that others have learned them.

In order to accommodate a broad range of learning styles, and to increase flexibility, the concept matrix points will be adjusted as follows.
As mentioned above, if you are certified for a given concept by the deadline
you get one point for that concept. If you do not get certified for a concept, you will
receive partial credit T for the concept, where T is the fraction of points you score on the midterm exams and final.
Specifically, the contribution of the concept matrix points to your final score in the
course will be calculated as follows:

The following table shows some examples to help you understand the formula.

Number of concepts certified | T | adjusted concept points | contribution to final score (10% max possible) |
---|---|---|---|

50 | any value of T | 50 | 10% |

0 | 70% (about average) | (50)(70%)=35 | 7% |

0 | 90% (strong test scores) | (50)(90%)=45 | 9% |

30 | 70% (about average) | 30 + (20)(70%)=44 | 8.8% |

40 | 70% (about average) | 40 + (10)(70%)=47 | 9.4% |

30 | 55% (below average) | 30 + (20)(55%)=41 | 8.2% |

10 | 55% (below average) | 10 + (40)(55%)=32 | 6.4% |