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Weekly Reading Summaries:
Due each Tuesday before class

The purpose of weekly reading summaries is to encourage students to do the assigned readings before class. When students do the assigned readings before class, the instructor can spend less time covering basic information, and classroom discussions can focus on more interesting topics.

The Reading Summary

Each week you must submit a brief description of the readings that were assigned for that week. The reading summary should describe your understanding of the reading material. For example, the reading summary for the week of Aug 29 should cover Ch 1 and Ch 5.1.

The reading summary for one week should be ½ - 1 page in length. The TAs will not grade anything longer than 1 page.

A good reading summary shows that you read and understood the material. It should cover the main points of the reading. It does not need to cover every detail. It does not need to be a work of art. It just needs to convince us that you read and understood the material. We hope that you spend 80% of your time reading the material and 20% of your time writing about it.

A list of bullets is a bad reading summary. That just shows that you can skim through the pages to identify section headers and main points. It does not show that you actually read and understood the material.

Reading summaries should be single-spaced, in a reasonable font, with reasonable margins. There is no specified format; however, if you use a giant font, double-spacing, or wide margins, the TAs will recognize that you didn't have much to say.


Reading summaries are graded on a 4-point scale:

There is no credit for late reading summaries. Each individual reading summary is worth only a small fraction of your final course grade. Dividing that fraction into an even smaller fraction creates extra work for the TAs without providing much benefit to you. Try to get them in on time. If you miss a week or two, it won't have much effect on your grade.


It is plagiarism to cut-and-paste material from the readings into your reading summary. If we notice that you have cut-and-pasted material from the readings into your reading summary, we will treat it as a cheating offense, and you will fail the course.

It would be stupid to fail the course because you cheated on an assignment that counts for less than 1% of your grade. Don't do it.

Submission Instructions

The reading summary must be a pdf document. The filename must be yourAndrewID-Rmmdd-Summary.pdf, where mmdd are the date of the Tuesday lecture.

Reading summaries are due before class on Tuesdays. Submit them via Blackboard. If you cannot submit via Blackboard, send them to Arpita and Varshini (their email addresses are on the course web page); however, we hope that this is rare. Blackboard is the preferred method.

On Sep 5, you should submit two reading summaries: A summary for the week of Aug 29, and a summary for the week of Sep 5. After that, you will submit one reading summary each week

Copyright 2017, Carnegie Mellon University.
Updated on September 06, 2017
Jamie Callan