CS 11 / CS 111 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

If you are reading this page, it's probably because we (the CS 11/CS 111 instructors) have sent you a link to it. You might have emailed us a question that would have been answered had you come to the CS 11/CS 111 organizational meeting (OM), which was held at 9 PM in Annenberg 105 on the first Monday of the term. (This was listed on the course schedule at http://registrar.caltech.edu as well.) Or you might have another common question about the course. Please see below for the answer(s) to your question(s). If you email us a question that is answered here, we will email you back a link to this page. Please realize that a lot of students take CS 11/CS 111, and we would rather spend our time making the course awesome than answering unnecessary emails. Thank you for your cooperation!

How to get set up

There is a signup sheet for CS 11 tracks located on the course Moodle page. You get to the course Moodle page by pointing your web browser to http://courses.caltech.edu and following the links to "CS 011" for the current term. You will need to "enroll" in the course Moodle page in order to fill in the signup sheet. I am not going to tell you the enrollment key on a public web site, but it's common knowledge at Caltech, so ask someone else in the course if you don't know, or email me as a last resort. (This is one reason to come to the OM.) After that, you should come to the lectures for the track (if there are any) and find the track home page to review the lecture slides and read the assignments. Other aspects of the course are covered below.

Specific questions

"What is the difference between CS 11 and CS 111?"

The only difference is that undergraduates take CS 11 and graduate students take CS 111. Otherwise they are identical. In particular, grad students use the same (CS 11) web sites for the tracks as undergraduates.

"Which tracks are being offered this term?"

The tracks for the current term are listed on the signup sheet described above.

"Is track XXX being offered this term?"

The tracks for the current term are listed on the signup sheet described above.

"I really, really, really, really want to take track XXX but it isn't listed on the signup sheet. Can you please, pretty please have this track?"

No. Tracks are picked at the OM. If you feel so strongly about it, we recommend that you attend the OM in the future.

"Can I add CS 11?"

Normally we allow students to add CS 11 in the first two weeks of class without question. After that, we may say no. We definitely are not fond of students who wait until the day before add day to ask for an add, and we may say no as a result. Very late adds complicate our lives significantly, because we don't get a good idea of how many TAs we will need for the class until after add day.

Also, we won't sign your add card unless you have passed CS 1 or have placed out of it, or have equivalent Caltech programming experience. High school programming classes, in particular, do not qualify you to take CS 11. Also note that you can't take CS 1 and CS 11 concurrently unless you have placed out of CS 1 and are taking it anyway. Please do not try to argue your way around these rules; you will only annoy us and waste your own time.

"I need you to sign my add card. When are you available?"

My (Mike Vanier's) office hours are on Tuesdays from 2 to 4 PM in Annenberg 110.

"What is the section number for the track I want to take?"

The registrar's page at http://registrar.caltech.edu has this information.

"Can you add me to track XXX?"

Fill in the signup sheet described above, and it will be done.

"OK then, how do I add myself to track XXX?"

Fill in the signup sheet described above, and it will be done.

"I can't enroll in the CS 11 Moodle page! Help!"

First off, don't try to use "guest access". If you try to enroll but don't see a web page asking for the enrollment key, you are probably using an old web browser that doesn't support the latest Javascript features. We recommend installing the latest version of Google Chrome and using that. If that still fails, come see me during my office hours.

"When are the lectures for track XXX being offered?"

That depends on the track. This information may be on the signup sheet (see above). Some tracks may not have lectures. As a last resort, email whoever is teaching the track (you can find this information on the signup sheet).

"I thought the lectures were being held on Mondays at 9 in Annenberg 105! The registrar's page says so!"

The registrar's page only lists the time of the organizational meeting. The registrar doesn't know when our lectures will take place. We don't know when our lectures will be held until after the OM.

"I can't make those lecture times. Can you have them at a different time?"

No. We choose times based on who shows up at the OM and what their availabilities are. However, lecture attendance is optional and all materials are posted on the track websites.

"Where are the course lectures posted?"

That depends on the track. The main CS 11 home page (which is different from the course Moodle page) is at http://courses.cms.caltech.edu/cs11/. Note that it takes a few days before it's updated to reflect the new term.

"Have I missed anything yet?"

If it's the first week, probably not. Later than that, probably. Normally the lectures (if there are any) start in the second week of the term.

"What is the enrollment key for the course Moodle site?"

We don't put that on a website for obvious reasons. Ask your friends.

"What is a CMS cluster account?"

It's an account on the computers in the CMS department. You won't actually need to use those computers in all likelihood, but you will need your CMS account to log in to the csman website to submit your homework.

"How do I get a CMS cluster account?"

The signup sheet (see above) has this information.

"My CMS cluster account isn't working. Can you fix it/reset my account/reset my password?"

Only the system administrators can do that. We are not the system administrators. They are in Annenberg room 112 and work from 9 AM to 5 PM, not counting lunch hour. You should go see them in person.

"What is csman?"

csman is the course grading program (used by several courses, actually). Once the signup sheet has been filled out by almost all the students in the class, we will set up the csman pages for the course. You submit your homework to csman and your grading uploads your grades and comments to that site as well. The URL for csman is http://csman.cms.caltech.edu.

"The course csman page doesn't seem to be working."

If it's the first week or so, it probably hasn't been set up yet. Patience.

"I still don't have access to csman and homework is due. Can I email you my homework?"

NO. Emailed homeworks don't count and will be deleted without notice. You need to get set up properly. If you can't, and an assignment is due soon, let us know about that, but do not email us your assignment.


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