CS 3240 - Fall 2018 Syllabus

Basic Info

Fall 2018 Semester


Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-3:15 PM w/ Prof. Mark Sherriff - Rice 130

Lab Sections

  • Lab 101 - Mondays, 2:00-3:15 PM - OLS 001
  • Lab 102 - Mondays, 3:30-4:45 PM - OLS 001
  • Lab 103 - Mondays, 5:00-6:15 PM - OLS 001

Staff Information

Instructor: Prof. Mark Sherriff
Office: Rice 401
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9:30-11:00 AM
Email: sherriff@virginia.edu
GitHub: https://github.com/marksherriff

Teaching Assistants:

  • Lab 101 @ 2:00 - Matt Casias, Azman Garcha, and Andrew Lewis
  • Lab 102 @ 3:30 - Michael Chang, Bobby Hails, and Diego Sierra
  • Lab 103 @ 5:00 - Shabad Sobti, Roman Sharykin, and Sam Ting

Message boards: Piazza @ https://piazza.com/class/jkybtvj9y8114q
Login to Piazza and use the threads for quick questions, assignments, and for discussion with other students and staff. You can also post private messages here that will only be seen by staff members. This includes regrade requests for homework assignments.

Office Hours

All office hour times are posted on the course calendar at the bottom of the Schedule page on the course website. TA office hours are held Rice 340 or OLS 018. Professor office hours are held in Rice 401. Note that we will update this calendar for any and all office hour changes due to the changing needs of the course. Students should refer to this calendar before going to any office hours.

Optional Text

Textbook: Object-Oriented and Classical Software Engineering - By Stephen Schach

8th Edition (2011)

Course Description

Analyzes modern software engineering practice for multi-person projects; methods for requirements specification, design, implementation, verification, and maintenance of large software systems; advanced software development techniques and large project management approaches; project planning, scheduling, resource management, accounting, configuration control, and documentation. Prerequisite: CS 2150 with a grade of C- or higher.

Course Objectives:
Upon completion of this course students will:

  • Develop an understanding of how to specify, design, and implement a complex software entity that involves many aspects of modern software systems.
  • Master a number of modern tools and a number of difficult technical fields.
  • Acquire experience of working on a large software system as a member of a team working on system development and as a member of a team that has to interact with other teams and customer representatives.

Course Topics: The topics to be covered in the course include:

  • Software quality, including testing and inspections
  • Project management, scheduling, planning, with an emphasis on the Scrum agile method
  • Requirements elicitation, analysis and specification
  • Architecture and design principles
  • Security in the development of software applications
  • Programming and team-based development practices
  • Professional ethics

Course Requirements

You should meet the following requirements to take this class:

  1. Prerequisite: CS 2150 with a grade of C- or higher. Students that do not meet this prerequisite may be dropped at any point from the class. It is the student's responsibility to check this prerequisite and/or speak with the instructor ASAP. We’ll assume you have mastered the material in the courses leading up to CS 2150 also, which includes software developments skills in Java and C++.
  2. Can attend class and lab regularly (attendance will be taken in lab each week and occasionally in lecture)
  3. You will be expected to learn programming languages and platforms on your own in this class! If you don’t feel comfortable with this, please talk to Prof. Sherriff as soon as possible!

Assessment and Grading

This course uses a points-free, competency-based assessment system called specification grading that differs from traditional points-based systems in some very important ways. Under this system, the grade you earn in the course and the workload that you take on are a result of your choices, rather than the outcome of a statistical calculation. It is designed to provide you with control over the grading process, transparency as to your progress toward a course grade, and a final course grade that truly reflects your actual mastery of course concepts. In other words the grade you earn in the course is entirely up to you.

The chart detailing how to earn any given letter grade in this course can be found at http://cs3240.cs.virginia.edu/specgrading.

For detailed information regarding this system, please see http://cs3240.cs.virginia.edu/category/assessment.

Class Management


  • I have an "open door" policy, in that if my door is open (or cracked), by all means stop on in and say hi or ask a question. If my door is closed, then I'm heads down on some task, on the phone, in a meeting, etc. It's always a good idea to email me before coming to make sure I'm here.
  • I can’t stress enough that email is the best way to get in touch with me.
  • If you email me, please put 3240 somewhere in the subject. Failure to do so makes it much harder to keep up with your email and reduces the chance of a timely reply.
  • Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any problems, concerns, questions, or issues regarding the course, material, or anything else in the class.

Project Groups

You are expected to work as a member of your group in this course and cooperate with your colleagues. Cooperation means attending group meetings, completing your assignments properly and on time, letting your group know if you will be out of town, responding to e-mail from your group, and so on. If there is a lack of cooperation by any group member, it must be brought to the attention of the instructor as soon as it happens. If the lack of cooperation is serious, the offending group member’s semester grade will be lowered. More information on group composition will be provided with the project material.


  • Attendance in lecture is vital to learning the material and making a good grade in this class.
  • There will be specific, announced class days in which attendance will be taken. These are mainly for guest speakers and in-class activities. These activities cannot be made up if you miss them, regardless of the reason.
  • The required classes will be noted on the course schedule calendar.
  • Missed assessments due to any absence that is not a University Excused Absence will result in a No Pass for that assessment.

This Syllabus

This syllabus is to be considered a reference document that can and will be adjusted through the course of the semester to address changing needs. This syllabus can be changed at any time without notification. It is up to the student to monitor this page for any changes. Final authority on any decision in this course rests with the professor, not with this document.


In this course, there will be a focus on working well together and learning about the development process. A large portion of that process involves interpersonal skills and conflict management. Students and staff are all expected to treat each other with respect. This includes, but certainly is not limited to:

  • Excessive web browsing during class
  • Disrespectful language
  • Promptness for all deadlines and class meetings
  • Quality work
  • Not working well with your partner
  • Collaborating with other teams

The number one problem with professionalism in class is the overuse of laptops and mobile devices. Taking notes on a laptop and following along with the slides is welcome and encouraged. Doing work for other classes, watching videos, chatting, or anything else that distracts from your ability to learn and follow along (or anyone around you), will result in a professionalism penalty.

If you need to do work for another class during our class meeting, do so somewhere else and listen to the podcast, rather than disrupt the class itself.

Students can and will be penalized for unprofessional behavior.


Your class work might be used for research purposes. For example, we may use anonymized student assignments to design algorithms or build tools to help programmers. Any student who wishes to opt out can contact the instructor or TA to do so after final grades have been issued. This has no impact on your grade in any manner.

Academic Integrity


  • Know the honor code
  • Work with your team, but not any other team
  • Using code from other students (from any semester) is an honor violation
  • Using publically-available example code and libraries is fine, but you must cite them
  • More information on what is allowed will be included with each assignment
  • It never hurts to ask the staff what is allowed or not allowed!

The School of Engineering and Applied Science relies upon and cherishes its community of trust. We firmly endorse, uphold, and embrace the University’s Honor principle that students will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor shall they tolerate those who do. We recognize that even one honor infraction can destroy an exemplary reputation that has taken years to build. Acting in a manner consistent with the principles of honor will benefit every member of the community both while enrolled in the Engineering School and in the future.

Students are expected to be familiar with the university honor code, including the section on academic fraud http://honor.virginia.edu/academic-fraud. Assessments will describe allowed collaborations, and deviations from these will be considered Honor violations. If you have questions on what is allowable, ask! Unless otherwise noted, all assessments will be considered pledged that you have neither given nor received help. (Among other things, this means that you are not allowed to describe problems on an exam, assignment, or project to a student who has not taken it yet. You are not allowed to show exam papers to another student or view another student’s exam papers while working on an exam.) Sending, receiving, or otherwise copying or describing the contents of electronic files that are part of course assignments are not allowed collaborations (except for those explicitly allowed in assignment instructions).

Assignments or exams where honor infractions or prohibited collaborations occur will receive a zero grade for that entire assignment or exam. Such infractions will also be submitted to the Honor Committee if that is appropriate. Students who have had prohibited collaborations may not be allowed to work with partners on remaining homeworks.

For CS3240, using code developed by previous students in the course or code written for your use by someone outside the course is not allowed and will likely be an honor violation. This does not apply to the use of publicly available frameworks and libraries, unless indicated in the assessment instructions.

In general, we expect that you will be using code, examples, and ideas from many different websites and resources for your projects. This is allowed within reason. Wholesale copying of an entire project or any major feature from any source (the web, another student, etc.) is definitely not allowed. Using code snippts that you find to round out a feature is allowed. If you ever have a question about what is or is not appropriate, ask first!

In ALL cases, you need to cite all sources at the top of the file where the code or algorithm was used AND you should note all sources in your documentation. Failure to properly attribute your sources will result in a No Pass for the project at a minimum.

How to Cite Code

Use the following format for citing code you use. Order by title of the software package. Use the appropriate commenting format for the programming language of your source code.

*  Title: <title of program/source code>
*  Author: <author(s) names>
*  Date: <date>
*  Code version: <code version>
*  Availability: <where it's located>
*  Title: ....

SDAC and Other Special Circumstances

The University of Virginia strives to provide accessibility to all students. If you require an accommodation to fully access this course, please contact the Student Disability Access Center (SDAC) at 434-243-5180 or sdac@virginia.edu. If you are unsure if you require an accommodation, or to learn more about their services, you may contact the SDAC at the number above or by visiting their website at http://studenthealth.virginia.edu/student-disability-access-center/faculty-staff.

If you have been identified as an SDAC student, please let the SDAC know you are taking this class. We happily and discretely provide the recommended accommodations for those students identified by the SDAC. Please contact us one week before an exam so we can make accommodations.

If you have other special circumstances (athletics, other university-related activities, etc.), please contact the instructor as soon as you know these may affect you in class.

Religious Accommodations

It is the University's long-standing policy and practice to reasonably accommodate students so that they do not experience an adverse academic consequence when sincerely held religious beliefs or observances conflict with academic requirements. Students who wish to request academic accommodation for a religious observance should submit their request in writing directly to me by email as far in advance as possible. Students and instructors who have questions or concerns about academic accommodations for religious observance or religious beliefs may contact the University’s Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights (EOCR) at UVAEOCR@virginia.edu or 434-924-3200.

Accommodations do not relieve you of the responsibility for completion of any part of the coursework missed as the result of a religious observance.

Statement on Violence

The University of Virginia is dedicated to providing a safe and equitable learning environment for all students. To that end, it is vital that you know two values that I and the University hold as critically important:

  1. Power-based personal violence will not be tolerated.
  2. Everyone has a responsibility to do their part to maintain a safe community on Grounds.

If you or someone you know has been affected by power-based personal violence, more information can be found on the UVA Sexual Violence website that describes reporting options and resources available - www.virginia.edu/sexualviolence.

As your professor and as a person, know that I care about you and your well-being and stand ready to provide support and resources as I can. As a faculty member, I am a responsible employee, which means that I am required by University policy and federal law to report what you tell me to the University's Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator's job is to ensure that the reporting student receives the resources and support that they need, while also reviewing the information presented to determine whether further action is necessary to ensure survivor safety and the safety of the University community. If you would rather keep this information confidential, there are Confidential Employees you can talk to on Grounds (See http://www.virginia.edu/justreportit/confidential_resources.pdf). The worst possible situation would be for you or your friend to remain silent when there are so many here willing and able to help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I get off the waitlist?
A: Here is how we are going to pull people (or not pull people) off the wait list:

  • I will NOT be using the permission of instructor information found in SIS. (Long story...)
  • Fill out the form here if you feel you have a special case for getting in: https://goo.gl/forms/lu0K0mIXVomWzKZF3
  • 4th and 3rd year BSCS and CPE majors have the highest priority (assuming they did not add to the waitlist within the last few days/weeks).
  • After those students get in (or at least are given the opportunity to), then I will consider 2nd years and BACS students.
  • If you are not a declared BSCS major, BACS major, CPE major, or CS minor, you have lower decidely lower odds at getting into the course.
  • After this, the wait list ordering comes into play and we will follow the order that appears in the SIS wait list.
  • No course action forms will be signed.

Q: Can we pick our own teams?
A: No. Simply put, you're not going to get to pick your teams in industry, so why should you here? :-)

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