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Course policies - Maslab 2011

Course policies

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Course Credit

Maslab is a for-credit course with 6 units of P/F and 6 engineering design points. Only passing teams with passing members will be allowed to keep their equipment. There are a number of requirements to receive a passing grade, including:

  • Adequate effort and time invested in Maslab
  • Attendance of mandatory events and activities
  • Majority of work done in lab
  • Completion of assignments
  • Daily journal entries
  • Final paper

For explanation of these points, please see the sections below. These requirements are not intended to be an undue burden, but rather to ensure a quality educational experience and that your work is preserved for use by future students.

Damaged Equipment/Tools

Maslab uses a lot of expensive hardware, and cannot absorb the cost of replacing equipment that is broken. To encourage students to exercise care in their use of the equipment, including both general-use tools and kit contents, students will be expected to pay for replacements. The staff knows that accidents happen, and consequently Maslab will, at the staff’s discretion, split the cost of a first replacement part with the team.

Please note that you are responsible for keeping your valuables safe at all times. Maslab parts are expensive. The staff does not take responsibility for stolen parts, and teams will be fined sensor points if a staff member discovers parts unattended.

In a situation where you destroy your computer or uOrc board, you will be charged the cost to replace the item.


Collaboration, with citation when appropriate, is highly encouraged.


All Students All/Most Days

Journal Entries

Each team should make a short entry in their team journal for each day of IAP. Include what you accomplished, outstanding issues, and any planning you did (all of this need not be more than 3–5 sentences). The journal serves several purposes:

  • It allows teams to reflect on their accomplishments and develop short and long-term goals.
  • It helps staff members to track teams' progress. (Note: if you have a specific issue that a staff member should address, send an email as well as including it in your journal.)
  • It preserves what you've learned from your experience, for the benefit of other teams in both this year and future years. (Note: if this knowledge includes fixes to important bugs, you should also email the staff.)

Journal entries need not be formal, but they should be informative, clear, and concise. All journal entries will be checked by the staff.

To create or edit your team journal, click on its link from the Main Page. For instructions, see:

Working in Lab

Teams are expected to perform the majority of their Maslab work in lab during open hours. Lab space consists of the 6.01 and 6.02 course labs, and is open while staff members are present (typically noon - 10:00 pm, check the calendar for specifics).

This provides an opportunity for the students to work in a supportive environment, where they can interact with the staff and fellow classmates.

It also provides a safety net for staff to identify teams that need help or advice.

All Students on Certain Days

All students are expected to attend the following events when they are scheduled.


Lectures are held in 32-155, from noon - 4 pm. Classes will most likely end earlier than 4 pm depending on the day. Feel free to bring your lunch!

As a courtesy to the speakers, we ask you to not use your laptop in lecture. A great effort is put into creating interesting and informative lectures. Using laptops to check email, play video games, or browse the web is insulting to the speaker and creates a classroom distraction.

Mock Contests

All teams are expected to be present for the mock contests, which will be held in 26-100, starting at 1 pm, ending at 5 pm. Your team must be present when called, and we will run the event like the actual contest. After every team has had a go, we will allow teams to go again on a first-come-first-serve basis.

To make the best use of the mock contest:

  • All mock competitions are manditory
  • You should be using your own robot, not the pegbot. After the first Mock Contest, this will become a requirement: teams will not be allowed to participate if they are still using a pegbot.
  • Take time before the contest and between rounds to gather pictures for calibration.
  • Test code that is functional. The mock contest is a time to test how your robot performs in complex situations, not to try out untested code for the first time. Make sure that you know your robot will do more than spin in circles at each Mock Contest.
  • We will not allow you to start your robot at a Mock Contest through any mechanism other than pushing buttons. In particular, it CANNOT be started by running some command over ssh. Please test this before coming to the mock contest; it is easy to setup. Your robot should conform to all contest rules during each of the mock contests.
  • Your robot should stop before the 3-minute time limit.

All Maslab students are expected to attend the Sponsor Dinner from 6-8 pm, in the Grier room (34-401). If a student cannot make it, they should email the staff before the dinner with a good reason. A no-show may result in loss of sensor points and/or failure from the course.

This event is meant to link sponsors with potential interns (i.e. you). It is also meant to be a networking opportunity. Even if you are adamant that you will never work for one of Maslab's sponsors, networking is a worthwhile endeavor. It never hurts to get your name out there and meet people!

This is a casual-formal event. Please be clean and wear clean clothing. Try to look nice, but there is no need for a suit and tie. Wear what will keep you comfortable and snazzy! Feel free to leave lab before the event to refresh. Additionally, if you are particularly interested in an internship, think about printing out some copies of your resume to distribute, or researching the Maslab sponsors.

As insinuated in the title, you can expect to eat dinner at this event.

Seeding, Impounding and Final Competition =

These events are mandatory and the rules can be found at:

Cleanup Day

Cleanup day begins at 12:30 pm in the 6.02 lab, and may last as late as 6:00 pm.

All students will need to attend to help the staff pack up Maslab materials for storage.

Certain Teams on Certain Days

Teams are assigned to specific tasks on particular days. These tasks are described in more detail on the Course Calendar, and include:

  • Cleanup
  • Mock Contest Setup
  • Mock Contest Teardown
  • Sponsor Dinner Setup
  • Sponsor Dinner Teardown
  • Contest Teardown


Some Checkpoints will involve a 20 minute meeting with two or more staff members and at least one other team. Your entire team must attend this meeting, please email the staff if there is a problem. Missing the meeting will result in loss of sensor points and/or failure from the course.

If there is a problem attending your assigned time, please contact and arrange a swap with another team. If a swap is made, be sure to email the staff.

Materials prepared for these assignments should be posted on your team's assignments page, which can be found on the Main Page.

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