LIS 390W1A - Assignments & Grading

Table of Contents

General Information

Assignment Meta-information

Major Assignments

Grading & Evaluation

This class is primarily project based. There will a variety of assignments including projects, lab reports, and participation.

Late Assignments

Every day your assignment is late, you loose 10 points.

  • That means, one day late, a 25 point lab is worth 15 points.
  • Two days late, a 25 point lab is worth 5 points.
  • Thereafter, a 25 point lab is worth 0 points.

Final Grades

In this class, the relative worth of your assignments are as follows:

Website Made to Order Assignment 100 points
Personal Website Assignment 200 points
Final Project 300 points
Quizzes 25-50 points each
Lab Reports 15-50 points each
Participation 100 points

Final grades will be assigned on an absolute scale:

100% A+
92%-99% A
90%-91% A-
88%-89% B+
82%-87% B
80%-81% B-
78%-79% C+
72%-77% C
70%-71% C-
68%-69% D+
62%-67% D
60%-61% D-
0%-59% F

Fractional grades will always be rounded up. Thus, a grade of 81.01% would be rounded up to an 82%, and the student would receive a "B".

Calculating Your Final Grade

I will calculate your final grade by adding up the number of points you have received on all of your assignments, participation, etc., and then dividing it by the total number of points you could have received. All students start out with zero points. By completing assignments and participating in the class, you will earn points as the semester progresses.

Extra Credit

There will be opportunities for extra credit in this class. They will take one of two forms: instructor-generated or student-generated. Whatever the form, however, each opportunity for extra credit will, in general, be worth one percentage point of the final grade. This point will be added to the final grade after the final grade has been calculated using the formula provided above. However, because extra-credit opportunities are extra opportunities for credit, it is the student's responsibility to keep track of how many extra credit points they have obtained, what they were obtained for, and an account of the circumstances in which they were obtained. These accounts can be maintained as an HTML page, or in some other form, and ought to be submitted before the last day of class. No extra credit submitted after the final day of class will be counted toward a student's final grade.

Instructor-generated extra credit will usually be opportunities for earning extra credit by completing mini-assignments throughout the class. These mini-assignemnts will either be associated with existing assignments, or will be generated on the fly, at the whim of the instructor. It is up to the students if they would like to complete the extra credit assignments for the extra points. Depending on how the class goes, it is possible that no extra credit opportunities will be generated on the fly.

Student-generated extra credit will be opportunities for earning extra credit by making an intellectual contribution to the class which benefits your fellow students, and possibly the instructor as well. Student-generated extra-credit can be obtained by writing a proposal for the contribution, which will be an HTML page (stylesheets are optional) that explains the contribution, what form the contribution will take (HTML page, class presentation, other media), and how it will benefit your fellow students. If the contribution is to be a class presentation, there must be a justification of why it is worth the class's time. If the contribution is an HTML page, then there must be a justification of why your fellow students will read it. Similar kinds of justifications will be necessary for other forms of media. Because some contributions may be more ambitious than others, it is also permissible to include within the proposal a request for more than 1 percentage point of extra credit. Any such request must be accompanied with a reason that justifies why your contribution is worth more than one percentage point. When you submit your proposal I will review it within a week. Each proposal will either be accepted or rejected. I may feel that a particular proposal is not worth the requested amount of percentage points, in which case I will inform you how many percentage points it will actually be worth if completed. It is then your decision whether to follow through on the proposal to obtain the extra credit and generate the contribution. All student-generated contributions must be submitted before the last day of class, so that if I feel it is necessary or productive, we can discuss the contribution in class. Therefore, if you want extra credit, be sure to get in your proposal more than a week before the last day of class.

General Assignment Information

Unless otherwise specified, all written assignments in this class are to be completed as HTML pages.

Assignments in this class are generally pretty fixed. However, if you are interested in doing something that doesn't quite fit the assignments as they have been described here, and you think it will still allow you to demonstrate that you have learned the material in this course, then please feel free to talk to me during office hours (or make an appointment to see me), and propose your alternative assignment. I make no promises to accept your assignment, but I will give it fair consideration, and we may be able to negotiate a compromise assignment.

When are Assignments Due?

Assignments are due before the beginning of class on the day they are due. Do not miss class in order to complete an assignment. I would rather give you an extension than have you miss class. If you are working down to the wire and think you might miss class, email me, and I'll give you until midnight of the day the assignment is due to complete the assignment on the condition that you attend class.

Submitting Assignments

Because most assignments will be webpages or websites, assignments will be submitted by uploading them to one of the web spaces used in the class, and then either emailing me the link, or posting the link to one of the class forums. For most assignments, the GSLIS I: drive ought to be used for this purpose.

I am somewhat agnostic about where the assignment lives, as long as I can read it and dowload the source if need be. I prefer if they are stored on the GSLIS I: Drive space over Netfiles because I have more ability to help you and HTML validation works more easily. Furthermore, we have encountered problems using Netfiles in previous instantiations of this course. If you would like to use your own personal web space to upload your assignments, that's fine for most assignments.

Participation (100 points)

I define participation a bit differently than most other instructors. In my classes, participation is defined to be the intentional involvement in the class to improve students' learning experience. Thus, participation can take any of a number of forms:

  • Asking a question when you are confused - this improves your learning experience when you get the answer, and if you ask it during class, it can also improve your fellow students' learning experience.
  • Answering a question (whether it was asked by the instructor or by your fellow student) when you know the answer - this improves your fellow students' learning experience.
  • Posing a question when you think that something is incorrect - this can improve the entire class's learning experience by uncovering inadvertent errors, or by uncovering underlying complexity that had been over-simplified.
  • Helping your fellow students comprehend the material.
  • Providing your analysis or opinion on class readings during class discussions

The more people you benefit by your participation, the more credit you get. Thus, you get more credit for participating in a manner that helps both you and your classmates than you do for just helping yourself. Thus, for example, asking a question in class at the appropriate time is worth more credit than asking me during office hours, because your fellow students can both hear the question and the answer. While each individual action does not count for a set number of points, I will be keeping records of who does what, and at the end of term, I will make a qualitative judgement based on the quantitative records I have kept.

Participation does not have to occur solely in class. However, in order for me to give you credit for participation, I need to know about it. Therefore, if any of you work together outside of class, and you feel that a fellow student was particularly helpful, please send me a brief email noting the fact so that I can include it in my calculations of that student's participation grade at the end of the semester.

Participation in this class is worth 100 points, which is as much as the first major assignment. Thus it is a very important part of your grade. Please be sure both to participate, and to tell me about your fellow student's contributions to your learning experience.

Labs (15-50 points each)

Labs in this class should be relatively straightforward. Each lab is a self-contained assignment which we will start working on in class, and which you will be responsible for finishing on your own if we do not complete it in class. Every lab will have some kind of deliverable which you will be expected to turn in. The specific instructions for how to complete and turn in each lab will be covered on the lab's assignment page. For a list of the labs we will be conducting in the class, please see the Labs page.

Labs are a nearly daily occurance in the beginning of the semester. Because I know you will be busier in the second half of the semester, I have reduced the number of labs you will be required to complete and turn in.

Quizzes (25-50 points each)

Currently, only one quiz is scheduled for the class. However, if students appear not to be doing the reading, I may implement pop-quizzes to ensure that readings are being completed. Alternatively, as the syllabus develops, if there is some material in the class which does not fit into a lab exercize, I may use quizzes to ensure that the material is learned.

Website Made to Order Assignment (100 points)


Wednesday, 10/14/2009

Assignment Description

This assignment is a quasi-realistic simulation of real world situations you will find yourself in, if you ever are asked to create a website either as part of your job, or as part of volunteer work that you do. The purpose of this assignment is to give you practice creating HTML using CSS styling, while adhering to requirements specified by someone else. To complete this assignment, you may either work by yourself, or in groups of up to 3 students. If you do work in groups, all members of the group must both create some HTML, and create some CSS.

To complete the lab, imagine yourself as a website developer in the following scenario:

You have been approached by Tom Riven, a representative of Crenshaw's Mining Equipment. Crenshaw's Mining Equipment is a privately owned, old company that has been making mining equipment since the 1800s, but never grew very large. So far, it has depended on the loyalty of several customers in the copper mines of northern Michigan to stay afloat despite many larger competitors. However, with new environmental regulations, its customers are questioning Crenshaw's ability to make equipment that will satisfy their needs. The irony is that Crenshaw's equipment has always been much more environmentally friendly than its competitors&em;in the past, this had never been a major selling point, so the Crenshaw sales reps had never really talked much about it.

Tom is a rising star in the Crenshaw company. He's very much interested in making his name in the company, not only by reassuring Crenshaw's current customers, but if posible, by expanding Crenshaw's customer base. His vision for accomplishing this is in part to revamp the company's website so that it has a strong focus on environmental concerns. Yet, he realizes the company has a reputation for making tough, durable equipment that never fails. He wants a website that communicates both of these messages, but he knows nothing about web design. He had a friend who knows how to use drawing software create an image which represents his vision for the website. However, he knows that it isn't all that effective, and is open to suggestions for how it can be changed, improved, and altered, as long as the core message stays the same.

example website
Photo in preview taken by Bobcatnorth, and governed by a Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share-Alike with Attribution license.

I, Ingbert, your instructor, will play the role of Tom. Feel free to ask me any questions you might have for Tom, and I will get back to you on them.

As this scenario suggests, you have considerable freedom in how to create the website. You can either try to copy the design I have provided to you as an image as closely as possible, or you can be creative. However, if you are going to be creative, make sure you check with Tom (me) about whether your design vision still captures his vision for the site.

It is important to note that you are not responsible for creating textual content for the site. If you need text to fill up the web page to see if it is working correctly, feel free to use Lorem Ipsum text from a Lorem Ipsum text generator of some sort.


Upload the website you create to a class webspace, e.g., the GSLIS I: Drive, or your personal space. Post a link to your assignment on the Website Made to Order Assignment forum. Also, for people who decided to do this assignment as a group project, email me a breakdown of who did what on the project. This breakdown is not factored into the grade. Rather, it is to help me know how much experience each participant in the group gained, and what kind of experience they gained.

Grading Criteria

  • General presentation/structure/coherence: 30 points
    • 10 points for site structure
    • 10 points for usability
    • 10 points for ease of navigation
  • Use of CSS and HTML: 50 points
    • 10 points for creating a look-and-feel that stays on message
    • 20 points for creative use of HTML & CSS - i.e., using new tags, using new CSS, doing something challenging to figure out, etc.
    • 10 points for page design
    • 10 points for meeting Tom's requirements
  • That the HTML & CSS validate on every page in the site: 20 points (10 points for each)

Personal Website Assignment (200 points)


Wednesday 11/11/2009

Assignment Description

Read the following articles about reading and writing on the web.

Create a personal website. This site can be about you or about something you are interested in - say a favorite band, actor, or video game. Alternatively, you may create an organizational website for a company either that you own, or for an organization that you would like to create. Satire is perfectly acceptable. In your website, create at least 5 pages of HTML. These pages should be organized with internal navigation links between the pages. Also, it should be clear on the home page what the website's purpose is (i.e., band tribute page, personal home page, company website, etc.).

This assignment has the following requirements:

  • You must use styling in this assignment, and all of the styling must be done in CSS (no <font/> tags, etc).
  • Include in every page links to HTML and CSS validators, and make sure every page validates.
  • There must be at least 5 images on the website, and there must be more than one page with images.
  • You must use at least 1 table somewhere in the site.
  • You must use at least one ordered or unordered list somewhere in the site.
  • You must use descriptive/structural markup, not presentational or procedural markup. For example, if you want text to be emphasized by being bolded or italicized, you must use <em> or <strong> as opposed to <b> and <i>.

You must hand code the entire assignment! That means you have to type the whole thing yourself. You may only copy and paste your own code. The one exception to this rule is code for something very complex such as a float-based three-column layout. If you do copy anybody else's code, you must CITE the person you copy and you must provide a link both to their website, and to the page which you copied the code from. You may do this in comments within the page (<!-- comment here -->), or in the footer of the page. If you have any question about whether something you want to accomplish is too complex, and thus whether it is permissible to copy somebody else's code, email me and ask before you have turned in the assignment!

Have fun with this assignment. Make a page about something you enjoy, something you find silly, etc. Make something that you would be proud to show your friends.

This assignment is a solo assignment. If you and a friend want to create a website together, then it has to contain at least 10 pages, and you will each have to pick five, and follow the above criteria. In the past, unfortunately, there have been students who have taken this course and somehow not learned how to write HTML, so I cannot allow groups of students to work together on this assignment.


Upload it to the GSLIS I: Drive, or your personal space. Post a link to your assignment on the Personal Website Assignment forum.

Grading Criteria

  • HTML Validates (provide validation links): 40 points
  • CSS Validates (provide validation links): 40 points
  • Overall Effectiveness of Website: 70 points
    • You created the page for a particular purpose. Did you succeed in meeting that purpose? This question will be answered by a subjective judgment of the instructor.
  • General presentation/structure/coherence: 30 points
    • 15 points for writing style, grammar, etc.
    • 15 points for site structure, usability, ease of navigation, etc.
  • Web-friendly writing: 20 points

Final Project: Hone your Web Content Creation Skills

For the final project you are expected either individually or within a group to further develop your web content creation skills by undertaking a project of your choosing. What is important for this project, is that you demonstrate that you are learning something. Therefore, whether you succeed in your efforts or not matters less than how well you document the effort you have taken, and explain what you have tried, how you have reasoned about the work you are doing, what succeeded and what failed, and what you have learned in the process.

Inspiration for the final project can come from many different sources. You can continue working on your personal website and make it bigger, better, or more functional. Or you can start a new project. If you continue your personal website assignment, then be sure to put it in a new directory in your I: drive so that it does not overwrite what you turned in for the second major assignment.

The final project has four deliverables:

  • A Final Project Proposal (an HTML page), 500-1000 words (the equivalent of 1-2 pages single spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins), due Wednesday 11/18/2009, the last class before Thanksgiving Break.
    • This proposal must describe the project you wish to undertake, what you hope to accomplish, what your inspiration is, who your group members are, etc. You should provide a clear specification of what exactly you want to undertake, and what you hope to accomplish. I encourage you to be ambitious. I know how easy or hard the various things you propose are, and I will not take off points if you are unable to complete some difficult aspects to your project.
    • Please upload your project proposal to your I: drive and provide a link to it in the Final Projects Forum.
  • A Website (a mixture of various web technologies and HTML), due Wednesday 12/9/2009, the last day of class.
    • This is the artifact you tried or succeeded in creating. You will likely want to turn in several versions of this site to show the work you have done over time.
    • Provide a link to this website in the final projects forum
  • A Written Report (an HTML page or site), 2000-10,000 words, due Wednesday 12/9/2009, the last day of class. Again, provide a link to this report in the final projects forum.
  • An Oral Presentation (a class presentation), due Wednesday 12/9/2009, unless scheduled earlier.

Final projects may be completed either individually or as a group. It is likely to be easier to complete the project as a group project, rather than individually. There is no limit to group size, however, for any group above three people I expect a breakdown of who performed what tasks to be included as an appendix (that does not count toward the word count) in the final written report.


Upload it to a class webspace, i.e., the GSLIS I: Drive, or your personal space. Post a link to your assignment on the Final Projects forum.

Grading Criteria

  • Project Proposal: 50 points
  • Oral Presentation: 50 points
  • Written Report: 100 points
    • General presentation/structure/coherence: 20 points
      • 10 points for writing style, grammar, etc.
      • 10 points for site structure, usability, ease of navigation, etc., of the written report (not of the website you were trying to create for the project)
    • Description of what you did, how you did it, what you learned: 50 points
    • Discussion & Reflection: 30 points
  • Website: 100 points
    • General presentation/structure/coherence: 20 points

      • 10 points for writing style, grammar, etc.
      • 10 points for site structure, usability, ease of navigation, etc.
    • Standards Adherence in the HTML that you wrote: 30 points

      • 10 points for XHTML validation
      • 10 points for CSS validation
      • 10 points for following Accessibility standards

      If your website does not validate, please explain why to get full points.

    • That your website works in general, no broken links, etc.: 20 points

      This criterion basically means that the simple, straight-forward parts of your website work, not that it necessarily does everything you set out to do.

    • That your website adheres to what you proposed, as much as possible: 30 points.

Extra Credit

Perform a user evaluation or user study where you test your prototype out on real users. Write up the results of your experience, what you learned, and how you would change your website in the next version.