Course Policies


If you are registered for 15-388 or 15-688 Section A, you are expected to attend each lecture in-person. Your attendance score depends on how many in-class polls you answered. These in-class polls will be posted on Diderot and will only be open for a few minutes during class.

If you are registered for 15-688 Section B (i.e. the no-meet/online section), you must watch each lecture video and answer a related quiz. The lecture video will be posted online shortly after the lecture and you have one week to watch it. A quiz will be posted soon after the lecture and you have one week from the time the quiz is opened to answer it.

If you are a 15-688 Section B student who wishes to attend any lecture, you can, subject to seat availability. If you complete the in-class poll you will get attendance credit for that lecture and you do not need to watch that lecture video or answer the related quiz.

If you are a 15-388 or 15-688 Section A student, you are expected to attend most lectures. If you do not complete the in-class poll, you can get partial credit by watching the lecture video and answering the quiz.

Lecture videos

You can find the lecture videos here, uploaded soon after lectures. Note that the videos are posted twice: one link for public (i.e. non-CMU users) and one for CMU users that allows us to track your participation. To ensure that we record your participation, you must use this link or the links on the Lecture page.

Changing Sections

You may be able to do this over SIO; if you can do that, that is preferable.

If that does not work, fill out a copy of the CMU Course Late Add Form and bring it to a lecture to get the instructor’s signature. (You’ll need to additional signatures to complete and submit the form.)

Collaboration Policy

Collaboration on the homework is permitted, with two caveats:

  1. You are expected to write up your solution independently: you must close all notes that you may have generated with someone else before you write up your solution.
  2. You must list your collaborations for each question or part in a comment in the corresponding answer cell. (For example, # Jane explained to me what is asked in Question 3.4)

Collaboration not in accordance with this policy will be handled severely, in accordance with the Carnegie Mellon University Policy on Academic Integrity.


These policies apply to all submitted work.

Grace period

You are expected to complete your work and submit all assignments well before the deadline.

Assignments must be submitted by 11:59pm on the due date, according to the Diderot server timestamp (or Google’s email timestamp, if submitted by email). There is no grace period given for assignments submitted late, even by a few seconds.

Late Days

Each student is permitted 5 late days they may use over the course of the semester, using no more than 2 late days on each assignment. After the two late days on each assignment, or after you have used the five late days, you will receive zero credit for the assignment. Late days may only be used for the homework assignments, not for the tutorial or final project.

Server Error

If there is an error with the server, you may send your assignment to Gaurav Manek with the subject line pds-submit. These emails are automatically processed; ensure the subject text matches exactly. We will compare the email and the server submission timestamps and grade the latest version before the assignment ending time.

Grading Errors

Our homeworks are graded automatically; if you suspect there is an error then please notify the course staff via Diderot (not email).

Special Circumstances

We understand that circumstances beyond your control may prevent you from being able to complete coursework. If this happens, please contact the Office of the Dean of Students, who are best suited to supporting you in a time of crisis.

With a note from the Dean’s office, we can adjust course deadlines to help you through your trying times. You must inform us (by email) of your intention to seek a Dean’s note as early as possible; you do not need to provide us with a reason.

Deadline adjustments are suitable when a few days is enough; if you need to take more time away, discuss your options with an academic dean.


To audit the course, complete this form and bring it to a lecture for Prof. Kolter to sign. If you are not in the Pittsburgh campus, fill in your section, scan, and email it to

To pass the class when auditing, you must receive a grade of at least 50% of the total points in at least 4 of the 5 homework assignments. Audits for the undergrad version may not be offered if we do not have sufficient room in the lectures. The tutorial, final project, and attendance do not count towards your grade, but you can feel free to submit the tutorial or project and attend class. For the final project, you cannot work with students who are taking the course for credit.