Logistical changes, weeks 10-12

This page collects the various ways in which the delivery of this course will change during the last three weeks, following the university's decision to stop in-person classes, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This page will be updated over time as more details are worked out.

Communication methods

Our highest-bandwidth tool for communication will be the course discussion board on Piazza. Please continue to post questions there, and I will try to respond to them promptly. I will be posting announcements to Piazza. Important announcements will also continue to be posted to the 'Announcements' section of the course website.

As before, if you have a question about a private matter, you can send me an e-mail or post a private question on Piazza.


Our replacement for lectures will come in two parts:

Weekly lecture recordings/readings

At the beginning of the week, I will post lecture recordings to the course website (alongside the normal raw and annotated slides). This thread on Piazza also gives readings from the Vassos course notes which cover the exact same material. You should do the readings or view the lecture recordings before Wednesday (though you don't need to do both!).

Wednesday Q&A sessions

On Wednesdays from 12-2, I will hold live Q&A sessions using the 'BB Collaborate' tool on Quercus. My greatest wish is to receive lots of questions about the week's topic. If questions pop into your head as you're watching the recordings or doing the readings, please jot them down and we can discuss on Wednesday. If there is time, I will also be happy to discuss any of the following:

You are welcome to drop in at any point during this two hour period (you don't need to limit yourself to the 1 hour during which you normally attend lecture).


Tutorials will be held over BB Collaborate, but will otherwise be fairly similar to the previous format. On Friday at 12 or 1 (whenever you normally attend tutorial), you should head to Quercus, and look for the session being hosted by your normal TA (sessions will be labelled with the TA's name, and the corresponding tutorial room and surname range).

Quizzes will be given out by TAs at the end of the tutorial session. You will have the usual 10-15 minutes to write your answer, and you should then upload your solution to MarkUs within 10 minutes. Most submission formats will be accepted (including scanned, handwritten work). See the Tests and quizzes via MarkUs section below for further details.

Office hours

I will hold office hours from Wednesday 2-4 via BB Collaborate. I'll chat with students 1-1 (in 'breakout rooms') in the order in which they arrive. If you're not available during this time but would still like to talk, please let me know and we can schedule a different time.

Midterm 2

The second midterm was originally scheduled to be written in person on Monday March 16. It will instead be written Monday March 23rd. A pdf of the midterm will be posted to the course website at exactly 12:00 noon. You will have 50 minutes to write the test. If you have any clarifying questions, I will be available during this time to answer them. Please post your questions on Piazza (with private visibility) and I will reply promptly. If you prefer, you may also e-mail me.

At 12:50, you should collect your answers into an appropriate digital format and upload them to MarkUs. The test will be open book, but you should not consult any sources other than course materials. See the Tests and quizzes via MarkUs section below for more details on allowed submission formats.

If you will not be able to write the test at noon (due to conflict with another course, travel, illness, or any other reason), please send me an e-mail as soon as possible. (If you have a valid reason for missing the midterm, I will make sure it does not adversely affect your grade.)

Midterm submission deadline

In the interest of fairness, your submission should be uploaded to MarkUs no later than 13:00. If you are writing the midterm on paper, we will allow an extra 10 minutes (i.e. you may submit up to 13:10), as we recognize that scanning papers takes extra time.

If you submit your work in some form within the time limit, it's fine to go back later and upload another version with cosmetic fixes (different resolution, cropped, rotated, etc.), but send me a quick heads-up if you do this.

If for some reason you experience technical difficulties with MarkUs, you can e-mail your work to me as a last resort (colin@cs.toronto.edu).

Tests and quizzes via MarkUs

Tutorial quizzes and the second midterm will be written at home and submitted online through MarkUs. This section goes over some logistical details common to quizzes and the midterm.

Submission format

You are welcome to use any medium for writing up your answers, as long as you can export it to a file that we can read in MarkUs. Our preference would be a pdf, but any plain text format is fine, as are most image files. Please avoid proprietary formats such as docx. Below are a few options for writing your solutions, along with some notes/caveats:

Consulting resources during tests/quizzes

Midterm 2 and the remaining tutorial quizzes should be considered 'open book' in the sense that you may consult your own notes and any official course resources, including the course notes by Vassos Hadzilacos, lecture slides, tutorial exercises, and anything else uploaded to the course website.

But you should not consult any other online sources during tests and quizzes or collaborate with anyone else.


We were originally scheduled to write a final exam worth 41% of the final grade. In place of this, we will have a final take-home assessment worth 20%. In terms of length and content, this will be similar to a normal 3-hour 236 exam, but you will have 3 days to write it. Answers would be submitted to MarkUs (LaTeX not required).

The final will be released at 12:01 AM EST April 7, and due 72 hours later (12:01 AM of April 10). As with the quizzes and second midterm, it will be open book, but with no collaboration or consultation of online sources (aside from course materials).


Please post them to Piazza so others can benefit from the answer as well. (Suggestions are also welcome! Much of this is uncharted territory, and I would very much appreciate any ideas you might have on how to make the most of these strange last three weeks.)