Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Course Policy

Course Administration and Policies - Spring 2018

There will be two 2-hour active learning sessions each week. A detailed list of course topics can be found in the course syllabus . All of the instruction will take place on-line, in the Freshman Engineering  computing lab BEH229 or in GS138. This class uses Cooperative Learning as it basic teaching method.

Each class will consist of a brief informal lectures, followed by an active-learning session in which you will be required to answer problems from the text book or in class programming problems. The lecture setting is designed to introduce the material and provide the students with time for questions and answers. The group work will involve your Formal Groups organized in class. Thus, make sure you are sitting with your group.

A detailed list of course topics can be found in the course syllabus .


A number of different types of assignments will be used in this course. Some will be in class programming problems that will be handed in at the end of the class. They will not be graded in detail, but must be completed successfully, using acceptable programming style. The course will also include weekly homework assignments and quizzes, and a number of design projects including a major writing assignment. A detailed list of course topics can be found in the course syllabus and a list of the assignments can be found under Assignments on the menu of the course web page. The design projects are to introduce the following topics:

  1. Use of spreadsheets (EXCEL) in problem solving,
  2. Use of software packages (MATLAB and C) in problem solving, and
  3. Use of software packages (WORD, POWERPOINT) in communications.

The homework projects are ill-structured in nature (you will have to decide exactly what to do). These projects are intended to tax your judgment and creativity as well as your problem-solving skills. You will be required to submit a team report on each homework project. The conference research project, will include a written and oral presentation.

There will be approximately one programming assignment each week. The first few assignments will be easy but they will quickly become more complex . You can work with anyone in the class, including other student groups to figure out effective solution strategies. The actual programming assignments must be done by each group. For each assignment, you will be required to submit a copy of your program electronically through the drop box in the classroom. We will run these programs to verify that they do run correctly. Your grade will be based upon programming style as well as accuracy.

Finally there is also a Writing Assignment Project. The writing assignments in ENGR0011 and ENGR0012 are designed to meet the University General Writing Requirements. Any student that does not complete the conference paper with a final writing component grade of at least a C, will be required to take the university 3 credit general writing course. Details on all of these topics will be posted on the ENGR0012 web page.


All the daytime and evening sections will be given the same homework, exams and quizzes. Please be professional and don't ask other students in earlier sections for copies of the tests or quizzes. The goal is to have a quiz the last 15 minutes on Thursday of every week, however, some quizzes will be given on Tuesday. The date and time of the mid-term exam will be posted on the web site, the final exam is posted on the university web site. There will be two parts to each exam: an inclass computer test and a evening written exam.

There are no makeup exams, however we will have a second testing time for students with conflicts. An unexcused absence from an exam will result in an exam of 0.

Conference Information:

The 16th annual conference will be Saturday April 7, 2018. It will take all day so make your plans now so there is no conflict. For a list of ideas review the Conference call for papers . The project will consist of Submitting an abstract , followed by an, Annotated Bibliography, then an Annotated Outline of the paper. You will then meet with your session chair for feedback, and write the paper for review. The first draft will be reviewed by the faculty and staff, plus there will be a peer review. The review comments will then be included into the paper and a final draft will be submitted. Your conference paper must follow the following formatting guidelines . Each paper will be written by a student team of 2 students. In addition to the written paper, the project will also include a 16 minute power point presentation. The presentation will be given by both students at the conference. See the Conference Information for more details on the dates.

All students must write a conference paper. Any student that does not complete the conference paper project or completes it with a grade below a C, will not complete the Freshman Engineering writing requirements. Thus, for this student to complete the Freshman requirements he/she must enroll in the English Department General Writing course. In summary, if you do not satisfactory complete the writing requirements in ENGR0012, or complete the English Department General Writing course, you will not meet the prerequisites for your Humanities electives.

Grade Calculation:

The following is the break down of points associated with the above course topics. Note, you must complete the conference paper portion of this class to meet the university general writing requirements.

Each student will take a midterm and final exam, must complete the Writing Assignments and complete the homework assignments and take the quizzes. The exams will consist of two parts : a computer component that will be taken on the classroom computers during the class period and an evening written component. The Homework, and some of the quizzes will be completed as a group project. When something is done as a group assignment, each team member will get the same score on the assignment, assuming the team members feel each student does their part of the project. The nature of each quiz will be stated before the quiz is given.

As noted above 40% of the course grade is based on non-test evaluations. For example the writing assignments are 20% of the grade, etc. These non-test components are very important in the field of engineering. You must learn to work as a team and you must have good communication skills, that is why we put them into the course requirements. However, the main purpose of this course is to develop your problem solving and logic development skills, as such you must get a minimum score of 60% on the tests to pass the course.

MidTerm 30%
Final 30%
Homework/Inclass assignments 10%
Quizzes 10%
Conference Paper/Projects: 20%

Grade Calculation:

The final course grades will be based on the following percentage breakdown. Note, the instructor has the right to lower this final grade percentages, but not raise them.

Percentage Course
100 - 99 A+
98 - 93 A
92 - 90 A-
89 - 87 B+
86 - 81 B
80 - 78 B-
77 - 75 C+
74 - 69 C
68 - 66 C-
65 D
64 and below F

* These Grades are only calculated if your average grade on the tests is 60% or higher. A average score of less than 60% on the exams will result in a course grade of F, regardless of your other grades. Thus, if you only get 50% on the midterm, you must get a 70% on the final to pass the class. If you decide to drop the course, remember that means you will not complete your writing requirements and you will be required to take the University General Writing Course.


Essential Engineering Software , 1st edition , available at the Pitt bookstore.


You should obtain one or two jump drives , for saving your programs.


We will be using MATLAB 8.1, release 2017a and 2016 MicroSoft Visual Studio.net in this course. It is available in the School of Engineering computer labs. A similar version is available in the CIS computer lab on the basement (B) level. You may purchase a copy of MATLAB and Microsoft C++ from CIS.


You are expected to attend all classes and participate actively in the interactive sessions. Your final grade will be lowered for chronic non-attendance, or for unsatisfactory fulfillment of the in-class programming assignments.

Student Conduct:

We suggest you take the time to read the university policies on University Student Judicial System Code of Conduct. We assume every student has read these policies and understand the impact these policies have on each student.

School of Engineering Statement on Students with Disabilities:

If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and Disability Resources and Services, 140 William Pitt Union, (412) 648-7890(412) 648-7890 / (412) 383-7355(412) 383-7355 (TTY), as early as possible in the term. DRS will verify your disability and determine reasonable accommodations for this course.