14:332:423            Computer and Communication Networks

Homework Reading Assignments and Questions

All registered students should read the assigned material and email a list of critical questions about the material to the instructor, preferably before the lecture. (See the bottom of this page about late submissions.)
The sections to read for reading assignments are indicated on the course syllabus page in red letterfont, next to the lecture title. It is important that you also try to solve the problems related to the assigned section.
These problems are from the past exams, and are provided so the students can practice for their own exam.
The relevant problems are named at the start of each section and described at the end of each chapter. Most problems are solved on the back of the book, in the chapter titled “SOLUTIONS TO SELECTED PROBLEMS”.
Try to solve each problem on your own and look at the solution only if you find it very difficult. The students who solve the problems that do not have solutions in the book,
or who find mistakes in the existing solutions and offer a correct solution, will receive double credit.

Email your questions as plain text (do not send attachments), unless you need to attach an image or a diagram.
Put a subject line to your email, indicating what date the questions are for. For example, "Reading assignment questions for 02/03/2009)".
It is very important that you put a proper subject line, so I can quickly find your email in the mailbox.

Download the class lecture notes here:

You should ask anything that you feel needs better explanation. It is impossible that you will find everything clear in the assigned material and careful reading and thinking about the material will surely lead to some doubts and questions.
Also, if a statement or diagram appears to be incorrect, or conflicting with another statement or diagram—that is also a good question to ask.
Just ask about any doubt that you encounter.

Please do not send vague statements, which are not even questions, such as these examples:
1. "I don't understand Example ___x____ fully."
2. "I understand what CSMA is, but I am confused about Figure 1-28?"
First, these are not questions. They are statements about person's state of understanding. Second, they are not at all specific about what is not clear. It is not possible even to try to answer them and clarify the refereed materials, because it could be anything.
Please be more specific in your questions. In the above example, what exactly are you finding confusing about Figure 1-28?
We will not consider such vague questions when grading your reading assignments.

A typical mistake students do goes like this: I did not submit any reading assignments because most of the time I could either comprehend things or I would research the Web to understand them.
The purpose of the reading assignments is twofold: (1) for students to master the course material, and (2) for the instructor to know that students worked on the assignment. Therefore, if you don't submit any reading assignments, the instructor does not know whether or not you did them.

Even if you find an answer to your doubts on the Web, please email the questions, including where you found the answer (provide the exact URL, not just a top-level domain name).
Students who invest extra effort and offer answers to their own questions by consulting other sources (e.g., search the Web or check other books) will receive extra credit.
In this case, the source should be credited, by citing the URL or book name.

The questions represent a significant component of the grade, so students are highly encouraged to send in their questions on time.
However, you may submit your past reading assignments at any time during the semester. If you submit an assignment after the class (late assignment), you will receive partial credit. Even if you already submitted your questions for a given section and later (e.g., while studying for exams) you have more questions from the same section, email them at any time—all of this will count towards your grade.

Because of high volume, I cannot guarantee to answer each question individually, but I guarantee to read all your emails and keep track of who is asking questions and about the quality of their questions for grading purposes.
If your questions are mostly high-level, not specific, and very brief, you will receive lower credit than a student who evidently invests effort in preparing the assignment questions.

I may select some interesting questions to post (anonymized) on this webpage.


Ivan Marsic
Wed Feb 4 16:37:08 EST 2009