Discussion Forum Guidelines

This course uses an online discussion forum (Piazza) to share questions that would usually come up on an individual basis during office hours. When used appropriately, most students find that their class experience is significantly enriched by asking and answering online questions. Though common sense is your best guide to what is "appropriate", here are some official guidelines:

  1. Please be respectful of your peers and others in your posts.

  2. Questions are encouraged as a way to get help from other students when you are stuck, or feel like you're going down the wrong path. They are not meant as a way to solve a problem before you've struggled with it. Most learning comes from a little bit of struggling, and the assigments are meant to make you think a little about how to implement things. Before posting a question, ask yourself whether you're truly stuck or are just avoiding spending the time to figure it out. Struggling and debugging is a big part of learning in this class!

  3. Questions about homework wording, lecture slides, or class logistics are welcome and encouraged; however, please keep complaints about the course off of Piazza. If you have a concern or a suggestion about anything to do with the course, the best way to deal with it and get results is to take it to the instructor or TAs. Piazza is not a complaint forum.

  4. We encourage you to be an active participant and help your fellow students out by answering questions on Piazza. Avoid becoming overzealous and giving the answer though. Full lines of code should never be posted on Piazza, and hints rather than solutions should be given. For example:

    Question: "I tried subtracting the vector mu from the matrix A and MATLAB keeps breaking with the error message "...". I've tried several things and can't figure out how to make MATLAB subtract mu from each column."

    Poor Answer: "bsxfun(@minus, A, mu)"

    Good Answer: "Look into MATLAB's documentation/help on bsxfun. MATLAB's minus function only works on matrices that are the same dimension; you actually want to perform several subtraction operations on the matrix A."

  5. Finally, remember that thoughtful answers will contribute toward your class participation grade.