Paul Bodily About Courses Research Outreach Tips for Communicating Teaching Philosophy Vitae

CS 4473 Course Syllabus

Course title: Computational Creativity
Lecture: TR 2:30-3:45, POC BA 304, IF TA 286
Prerequisite: CS 2263 (and its prerequisites)
Required text: None
Moodle page: Moodle
Instructor: Paul Bodily (office hours and contact information)

Course Overview

Creativity plays a key role in many aspects of (intelligent) behavior, including:
  • Problem solving
  • Scientific Discovery
  • Art (visual metaphor)
  • Music
  • Language (metaphor, narrative, poetry, humor)
  • Design

Can we build computational systems that produce interesting/useful results through what must be attributable as creative means? If so, what does this mean? If not, why? Can these questions even be answered? This course will begin to address these questions. Our approach will be project-based, with the main goal of the course being to produce a working system to which we can attribute creativity. We will also incorporate a series of readings on various aspects of computational creativity, including theory, philosophy, empirical studies and implemented systems. The material is inherently inter-disciplinary and ill-defined. It will be intriguing and different and fun and challenging in a way that is likely unlike anything you’ve studied in CS to date.

Course Requirements

Final grade percentage will be computed as a function of the following requirements:

Type Percentage
Attendance and Participation 25%
Project 48%
Midterm Presentation 11%
Final Presentation 16%
Service-Learning 2% (extra credit)
Course Evaluations 1% (extra credit)

Attendance & Participation

Class attendance and participation is expected (note that a significant percentage of your grade is based upon it). This is not because I feel the need to have students in class; instead, it is because your attendance and participation guarantee you a better learning experience. While reading and preparing for class, think about what you are reading, form opinions, ask questions and be prepared to contribute to class discussion. This is not going to be a traditional lecture format -- it is going to be a collaborative effort by the class as a whole. Each day for which there is a reading assignment, there will be a short multiple-choice quiz over the reading. If you've done the reading, the quiz should be easy. This encourages you (and I) to be in class, on time, prepared to participate in the discussion.

Project

A major part of this course will involve your development of a class project. This will involve significant outside study and preparation on your part and will consist of both a written paper and an oral presentation/demonstration to the class. We will discuss details and possible topics and approaches early in the semester, and since this a major project that will be due near the end of the semester, you will have to start on it well before we have covered some of the material in class. This facilitates your learning to perform research on your own.

As a preliminary step in this process, everyone will submit a project proposal early in the semester and we will then spend a significant percentage of the course meeting collaboratively to discuss project challenges and details as they arise.

There will also be two "warm-up" projects designed to expose you to a few ML/AI models that are commonly used in the field of CC.

Exams

There will be no traditional examinations. Instead, there will be one mid-term presentation, in which you will show preliminary progress/results for your system, argue for why your system is creative (or in some way elucidates creativity), and discuss pending challenges and work yet to be done. Part of this midterm experience will be the opportunity to receive feedback from the class that will help improve your final result. The in-class presentation of your semester project will count as your final exam, and you will be graded on your presentation content, your organization, your ability to “tell a story” and say something convincing about computational creativity, your ability to manage time and your ability to answer questions. This final presentation may be open to the public.

Service-Learning

Service-Learning

Image courtesy of serc.carleton.edu

Service provides opportunities for students to network with the community, develop new skills, gain confidence and perspective regarding classroom learning, and give back in meaningful ways to the community. To earn extra credit, students must complete at least 2 hours of service learning during the semester. The service completed for this course can overlap with service rendered for service requirements in other courses.

We have provided a list of service ideas, but students are encouraged to be creative! This is your opportunity to make a difference! As future CS courses may have similar service requirements, you might want to consider a project that would maintain interest over multiple semesters.

Students will submit a service proposal via email to the instructor by the end of the 3rd week of the semester. The instructor approves and provides constructive feedback on the proposal. This proposal should include the following:

  1. A brief summary of the project, including a description of what research/outreach has been done to ensure the viability of the project
  2. An explanation of how the project directly serves Southeast Idaho
  3. An explanation of how the project directly relates to computer science
  4. A paragraph outlining any ethical, security, or safety considerations inherent in the project. During COVID-19, projects should not involve any face-to-face contact.
  5. Relevant community contacts, contact information, and a description of the contacts role in the project
  6. Names of other students working on the same project and a justification for why more than one student is needed to complete the project
  7. A proposed timeline with dates and anticipated time spent to complete specific milestones. This should include any time needed for planning, commuting, communicating, marketing, and executing the project. The timeline should demonstrate how the project will meet the 2-hour service requirement. Transportation time and time spent writing the report may not count towards the 2-hour requirement. Time spent in actual service should exceed time spent in planning.
An example proposal may be seen here.

Students will submit a final service report via Moodle by the last day of class. This report can be in the form of a written report (max 3-pages). This report should include:

  1. A detailed summary of the project
  2. An explanation of how the project directly serves Southeast Idaho
  3. An explanation of how the project directly relates to computer science
  4. Insights and reflections on what you learned or how you benefited from the project
  5. A log describing specific service activities, the time spent on each, and the total time spent to complete the project.
  6. (Optional) What next steps or additional service opportunities exist related to this project?
  7. (Optional) A list of other students and relevant community contacts (including contact information) and a description of the role of each in the project

Grading

Your project will be graded on my perception of your level of understanding of the concepts we discuss in class and your level of effort in trying to incorporate those into your project system. This grade will also incorporate a social component (i.e. I will get feedback, either formally or informally, from other group members on your level of contribution to the project).

Your attendance and participation will be graded on my perception of your engagement in and willingness to contribute to the class learning environment. Things that help my perception of this include doing your reading, making thoughtful comments/asking questions in class, email discussions, contributing to the Slack channel, etc.

Your presentation grades will be based on how well-organized your presentation is, your use of time, the quality of your visuals (do they effectively communicate), your oral presentation (polish, etc.), your addressing of questions, and, of course, the content of your presentation.

The bottom line is, if you are actively engaged in the class and are working hard to contribute to the success of your group project, you will do very well in the class. If you are not, you will do less well.

Final grades are assigned on the following absolute scale:

90.0 <= A
86.0 <= A- < 90.0
83.0 <= B+ < 86.0
80.0 <= B < 83.0
76.0 <= B- < 80.0
73.0 <= C+ < 76.0
70.0 <= C < 73.0
67.0 <= C- < 70.0
64.0 <= D+ < 67.0
60.0 <= D < 64.0
57.0 <= D- < 60.0
F < 57.0

Exceptions will be made at the sole discretion of the instructor. Scores and grades will be maintained on Moodle.

COVID-19

Pursuant to our goals as an institution of higher learning, Idaho State University expects all students and faculty to adhere to CDC guidelines. Please observe the current university COVID-19 requirements as indicated on ISU's Roaring Back page.

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The University also strongly encourages all individuals to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Students who are experiencing COVID-19-like illness should NOT come to class and should contact the COVID Health Committee at COVID@health.isu.edu or (208) 282-2705. All confirmed cases of COVID-19 should be provided to the COVID Health Committee on the self-reporting form. All students are required to fully participate in the university’s contact tracing process and follow all instructions related to quarantine and isolation.

Questions and forum

Questions on how to do homework and projects should be asked using the class discord server (link available from Moodle) where other students can benefit from and possibly provide help on your questions in addition to help provided by the professor. Please see section below on "Academic integrity" for clarification on what types of help may or may not be appropriate. Score and grade questions should be addressed directly to the instructor via email.

Getting Help

TA information can be found atop the Moodle page for this course. A tutoring lab is also available for students enrolled in any CS course. Note that not all tutors may have taken the course you need help with, so you may need to try a few different tutors. The schedule and location is available here. Students can also get help from the professor outside of class as needed.

Writing

Like it or not, much of your future success depends heavily on your skills as a communicator. Whether in project reports or service learning proposals, any work (including emails and forum posts) should exhibit a professional standard of writing. Like it or not, potential and actual employers will judge you based on your ability to communicate. I will happily give feedback on your writing, but it will be of greatest benefit to you if you are making your best effort. Points may be taken off for poor grammar, spelling, etc.

A free writing center is available on both the Pocatello and IF campuses that offers face-to-face, online chat, and online written feedback.

Late work policy

No late homework or projects are accepted. This means that if you turn an assignment in one minute after it's due you'll receive a zero. Daily quizzes and exams cannot be made up. Exceptions are on a case-by-case basis and are only granted for religious holy days (must have prior approval), documented illness, or documented emergencies.

It is in your best interest to submit whatever you can before deadlines. Probably the best way to make sure you are not unpleasantly surprised is to submit incrementally: submit what you have early, and then continue to improve your work and resubmit as you make improvements, up until the deadline.

Note that the schedule is carefully designed to give you plenty of time between when we discuss in class the concepts needed for a project and when it is due. Please start early and make use of that time to do a good job. If you do not get the entire project completed by the deadline, make sure you submit what you have.

In my experience, one key to success, in class, in our profession, and in life in general, is being organized and meeting deadlines. The no-late-work-policy is in large part to help you be successful and be able to continue progressing and focusing on new material. Please submit your work on time!

Letters of Recommendation

Not infrequently do students as me to write them a letter of recommendation. I am generally very happy and willing to do so. I will paint you in the best light possible, but I will be honest and transparent. Make it easy for me to give you a good recommendation. I suggest that whenever asking someone to write a letter of recommendation (including myself) that you ask specifically if they are willing and able to write a good recommendation.

Academic integrity

You may work together with other members of the class; in fact, you are strongly encouraged to do so; however, do NOT turn in other people's work. There is a fine line that may require some judgment on your part. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all work is to be done individually. Helping each other through discussion is permitted. You may consult the internet for questions related to programming projects (not homeworks), but you may not copy code from the internet or any other source except for the course textbook. Projects may not be done in groups unless the instructor explicitly says otherwise. Homework may be discussed in groups, but students should be careful to develop individual mastery of the problems and solutions. Exams are closed book except for half page, single-sided of notes (i.e., half of 8.5" x 11").

Academic integrity is expected of all students. Academic dishonesty, including cheating or plagiarism, is unacceptable. The Idaho State University academic dishonesty policy allows an instructor to impose one of several penalties for cheating that range from a warning up to assigning a failing grade for the course or dismissal from the University. ANY use of an electronic device or other form of unauthorized materials during an exam or other assessment will be considered cheating. For more information, please see the ISU Policies and Procedures Policy 5000 (Student Conduct Code).

Some examples of dishonest behavior include, but are not limited to

  • Copying material from a source without attributing the source.
  • Allowing another student to copy your work and then submit it as his/her own.
  • Allowing someone else to complete your assignments for you and then passing off the work as your own.
  • Bringing unauthorized material or devices to an exam. Note that you do not have to be caught using them – just having them is an offense.
  • Copying from another student's exam.
  • Communicating with someone other than the professor during an exam.
  • Removing the exam from the classroom.
  • Acquiring exam or assignment answers or questions.
  • Taking an exam for someone else or having someone take an exam for you.
  • Finding and using another student's solution to a similar project.
  • Performing any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student or the attempt to commit such acts.

I prosecute cheating cases to the full extent. I have a general policy that I adhere to in isolated instances. When addressing academic dishonesty my policy is to submit a report to the registrar's office (two such reports across any courses at ISU can result in expulsion from the university). Besides this report, I give students two choices. The student can simply fail all assignments/exams where academic dishonesty was an issue and then continue to work through the course. The second option is to fail and repeat the course. Simply withdrawing after having been caught for academic dishonesty is not a viable option. If you choose to stay in the course, you will receive a 0 on all assignments where academic honesty was an issue (based on your integrity in letting me know or based on me finding evidence of dishonesty). I do not mean to sound gruff. I do not wish to discourage students from learning, growing, and moving on from such experiences. I will support students however they wish to proceed. Incidents with academic dishonesty do not change my eagerness to support your learning and your success.

CoSE X grade policy

In the College of Science & Engineering, a student who earns a failing grade via course work (exams, homework, etc.) and has unexcused absences that total more than 30% of class meetings will receive a grade of "X".

Classroom Etiquette

To facilitate a productive learning atmosphere, it is expected that students will be punctual, regularly attend class, maintain a positive attitude, use appropriate language, and show respectfulness to other students and the professor. Students are expected to come to class prepared, participate in activities and discussions, and treat others with respect in the classroom, which includes listening interactively to classmates and the professor, and respecting others’ viewpoints. Students should expect frequent and personal invitations to participate in course lectures.

Open laptops and phones are not allowed except for the purpose of taking notes. Please do not text, check social media sites, or eat meals during class.

Students are expected to arrive for class and be in their seats by the scheduled beginning of class. Repeatedly coming to class late disrupts the teaching/learning environment in the classroom and adversely affects the other students in the class.

Accessibility

Our program is committed to all students achieving their potential. If you have a disability or think you have a disability (physical, learning disability, hearing, vision, psychiatric) which may need a reasonable accommodation, please contact Disability Services located in the Rendezvous Complex, Room 125, 282-3599 as early as possible.

Personal Health and Well-Being

Success in this course depends heavily on your personal health and wellbeing. Recognize that stress is an expected part of the college experience, and it often can be compounded by unexpected setbacks or life changes outside the classroom. I encourage you to reframe challenges as an unavoidable pathway to success. Reflect on your role in taking care of yourself throughout the term, before the demands of exams and projects reach their peak. Please feel free to reach out to me about any difficulty you may be having that may impact your performance in this course. If you are experiencing stress in other areas of your campus life, I am happy to help you get in contact with other resources on campus that stand ready to assist you. In addition to your academic advisor, I strongly encourage you to contact the many other support services on campus that are available.

Counseling and Testing Service

ISU Counseling and Testing Services (CATS) would like to remind all students who are enrolled in the current semester (part-time or full-time) they are eligible for free, confidential counseling services. CATS offers individual, group, and couples counseling, as well as Biofeedback Training. We also offers crisis intervention services Monday through Friday from 8-5.

To establish services:

  • Pocatello: Call 208-282-2130, Monday – Friday from 8am – 4pm. Office is located at Graveley Hall, 3rd floor of the south side. Walk-ins are welcome Monday-Friday from 8am - 4pm.
  • Idaho Falls: Bennion Student Union, 2nd floor, Room 223. Please call 208-282-7750 to schedule an appointment.
  • Meridian: Counseling services are available to Meridian students through the ISU Counseling Department. Please call 208-373-1719 to schedule an appointment.
  • Out of State ISU Students: ISU Counseling and Testing Service has partnered with LifeWorks, Inc. to bring the MySSP tool to ISU students while they are physically out of the state of Idaho. Through MySSP, students can access health assessments, real-time chat support, and free counseling from licensed mental health professionals. Connect with My SSP by calling 1-866-743-7732 or visiting us.myissp.com. If calling from outside North America: 001.416.380.6578· Download "My SSP" from the app store to use on your phone.

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Idaho State University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator (visit https://www.isu.edu/aaction/title-ix-notice-of-non-discrimination for contact and other information).

Academic Freedom and Responsibility

In carrying out its educational mission, Idaho State University is committed to adhering to the values articulated in Idaho State Board of Education Policy III.B. Membership in the academic community imposes on administrators, faculty members, other institutional employees, and students an obligation to respect the dignity of others, to acknowledge the right of others to express differing opinions, and to foster and defend intellectual honesty, freedom of inquiry and instruction, and free expression on and off the campus of an institution.

Acknowledgments

Many thanks to Dr. Dan Ventura for his support and contributions in developing this course.