These are Frequently Asked Questions about the EECS 325 Exercise Queue.
Why can't I connect to the Critic?
If nothing happens when you click the Critic link in Blackboard or Canvas, the most likely cause is a firewall problem.
- Are you on the Northwestern Guest campus network? That blocks many ports. Log into the Northwestern network and you should be fine.
- Are you off-campus? Your local network provider may be blocking the connection. Use VPN to connect to the Northwestern network. (If they block that, head to a cafe.)
- Check Piazza. Is anyone else posting problems connecting right now? If so, add that it's happening to you too. If not, post. Say if you're on the Northwestern network or not. If you can connect and see a post from someone who can't, post that you can, so the other person knows it might be a local problem.
If you appear to connect to the Critic but get a page with some cryptic error message, copy and post the entire message to Piazza. Use the code format option to keep the posted error readable.
How many submissions do I have to do?
Do at least 3 new submissions per week, plus fixing your old code. With 10 weeks in the quarter that typically leads to about 30 exercises plus their resubmissions. I grade based on effort and learning. I expect more from someone who starts with more advanced skills who can get good code done in 1 or 2 tries, than I do from someone who starts with less experience and needs practise.
How many submissions can I send at once?
You can have up to 3 new pieces of code in the queue. You can have more than 3 things in the queue that I haven't gotten to yet, but at most 3 of them can be things I've never seen before. There's no limit on resubmissions.
Never send more than one solution in a submission, unless it's a multi-problem exercise.
How am I doing?
Are you producing new code at the rate described above? Are you not getting critiqued repeatedly for the same mistakes? Are you starting to get most submissions done in just one or two attempts? Have you gone beyond the book exercises and done AI-related exercises by the middle of the term? Then you're doing fine.
Note: you can see how your submission level compares with the class by clicking Class Statistics on the Critic front page. Careful! Many of the people at the bottom may be students who dropped or are planning to drop the class.
Do I have to do all the exercises in every chapter?
No. The goal is to show me the breadth and depth of your AI programming skills. That means showing you know when and how to write good recursive, iterative, and mapping code, numeric code, macros, and so on. In the first part of the course, you work on these generic skills. In the second, you work on applying them to AI-related problems. Don't get hung up on one thing. Stop occasionally and look over what you've sent to make sure you've covered the major topics.
What do I do if I don't understand an exercise?
Post a question to Piazza. Put "Question about Ex. name of exercise" in the Subject field.
Can I fix and resubmit a submission?
Absolutely. This is strongly encouraged, and supported by the Exercise Submission Queue. Just retract your old solution and submit a new one. Just don't fall behind with the new submissions.
How quickly will I get a response?
At best, less than a day. At worst, 3 or 4 days. It depends on my workload and how fast submissions are coming in. The queue is longest at the start of the week.
Is it OK to work in teams?
No! Every submission you send me should be your own personal answer.
Can I make up my own submissions?
If you have an idea for an exercise, email it to me. Put "EECS 325 Exercise Proposal" in the Subject field.
If it seems appropriate, I'll create an entry for it on the Exercises page.