CS 800 - Research Methods
Spring 2021: Tues/Thurs, 1:30-2:45pm, Dragas 1117 and online

Home (Syllabus)


  • Dr. Michele Weigle
  • mweigle at cs.odu.edu
  • Office Hours:
    Tues 4:30-6pm
    Thurs 3-4:30pm
    via Zoom


Resources at GitHub


Course Overview

This is a required course for all new PhD students.

Catalog Description: Introduction to research methods in computer science. Topics include academic publishing, academic writing, literature reviews, responsible conduct of research, and presenting research results. Research faculty will present overviews of their research and how research is conducted in their labs.

Meeting Times and Course Delivery Method

This course will be organized based on the "flipped classroom" model. Students will be assigned readings that will be due before the class meeting time. Class time will be spent on discussions of the readings and assignments, demonstrations, and in-class work. It is essential that each student be fully prepared to participate in class discussions each week.

This course will be delivered in a hybrid method, with one face-to-face section in a traditional classroom and several online sections available. Course materials, including the link to the Zoom class session, will be made available via Blackboard.


  • CRN 30103
  • TR 1:30-2:45pm, Dragas 1117 (capacity w/social distancing: 17 students)
  • Social distancing measures will be practiced and masks will be required.
  • Attendance is optional, recordings will be available. If you do attend class in person, I expect you to arrive on time.
  • Students who are uncomfortable with participating in the classroom are encouraged to switch to the WEB2 section to enable other students who might prefer the face-to-face environment to have a seat.
  • Due to social distancing requirements, lab/in-class work days may be switched to a web conferencing-only environment. Changes to classroom meeting plans will be announced in advance.
  • You are strongly encouraged to stay home if you are not feeling well.


  • CRN 29745 - WEB2 (in Hampton Roads), CRN 29746 - WEB5 (in Virginia, outside of Hampton Roads), CRN 29748 - WEB7 (in US, outside of Virginia)
  • The audio of face-to-face class meetings and all materials projected in class will be live streamed via Zoom.
  • Attendance of the Zoom session during class meeting times is encouraged, but is not required. Recordings of the Zoom session will be available.
  • Unless otherwise specified, online students must meet the same deadlines as face-to-face students. All deadlines are based on the local timezone in Norfolk, VA.

Spring 2021 note: The provision of face-to-face lectures and live Zoom streams are contingent on the setup of the classroom and supporting equipment, and the general level of COVID-19 activity in the Hampton Roads area. If I become uncomfortable with the safety precautions being taken, or feel that the classroom environment and equipment detract from the quality of the course, then I reserve the right to change to a pure web conferencing delivery mode.

Instructor Contact and Office Hours

Dr. Michele Weigle: mweigle at cs.odu.edu, https://www.cs.odu.edu/~mweigle/

My office hours will be Tuesdays 4:30-6pm, Thursdays 3-4:30pm, or by appointment.

All office hours will be held via Zoom (see Blackboard for the link to the Zoom meeting room). Students may be placed into the waiting room until I am available. If you cannot attend during regular office hours, please contact me to set up an alternate appointment time.


Grading: This is a Pass/Fail course (no letter grades assigned). To pass the course, you must fully participate and complete all assignments at a satisfactory level. There will be no exams.

Textbook: There is no required textbook, but here is an initial list of recommended books and readings:

In addition, see the online writing resources collected on the ODU-CS New Student Resources page.

We will be using several websites for class this semester. Our Blackboard page should be your first stop -- it contains links to all of the other sites that are needed.

Summary Schedule

Note: This is a tentative schedule and may be updated during the semester. The complete schedule with assignments and due dates is posted on Blackboard.

ODU Spring 2021 academic schedule

Week Date Topic
1 Jan 19, 21 What's Grad School All About?
2 Jan 26, 28 Research Careers, Academic Presence
3 Feb 2, 4 Academic Communication - writing
4 Feb 9, 11 Academic Publishing, Academic Communication - presenting
5 Feb 16, 18 Academic Reviewing, Literature Search
6 Feb 23, 25 Vis Basics, R
7 Mar 2, 4 Tue: NO CLASS (Reading Day)
Thu: ODU Research Group 1
8 Mar 9, 11 ODU Research Group 2
9 Mar 16, 18 ODU Research Group 3
10 Mar 23, 25 ODU Research Group 4
11 Mar 30, Apr 1 Student Presentations
12 Apr 6, 8 Student Presentations
13 Apr 13, 15 Student Presentations
14 Apr 20, 22 Student Presentations
15 Apr 27 Student Presentations

Final Schedule

Course Policies


This is a pass/fail course, meaning that there will be no letter grades assigned. But as with other courses, to pass this course you need at least a 70%. This means that to earn a 'P (pass)', you must participate fully in class meetings (or via class discussion boards if you are online) and complete assignments.

Although there will be no letter grades given, there will be required assignments. All assignments must be completed for a 'P' grade. Online students are expected to meet the same deadlines as in-class students.


Each student must join the class Piazza site with your ODU email address and check email daily. You should use Piazza to ask and answer general course-related questions. I will also use this to notify you about important updates (assignment deadline changes, class cancellations, office hours cancellations, etc.).

Attendance (in-class students)

Since much of the course is based on discussion and in-class work, I expect you to attend class and to arrive on time. (Note that even if you are an on-campus student, attending class on some days may mean joining the class Zoom meeting on time.) Your grade will be affected if you are consistently tardy. If you have to miss a class, you are responsible checking Blackboard to find any assignments or notes you may have missed. Students may leave after 15 minutes if the instructor or a guest lecturer does not arrive in that time.

If there are days on which the scheduled class meeting time is cancelled, there may still be assignments made and due. A post will be made to Piazza (with an email notification) whenever the class meeting time is cancelled.

Attendance (online students)

Online students who cannot attend synchronously are expected to have watched the posted videos of the week's in-class meetings before the next week's first meeting. However, students are strongly encouraged to watch the videos on the same day they are posted.

Classroom Conduct

Please be respectful of your classmates and instructor by minimizing distractions during class. Cell phones must be turned off during class. Laptops must be closed during student presentations.

Make-up Work

Make-ups for graded activities are possible only with a valid written medical or university excuse. It is the student's responsibility to give the instructor the written excuse and to arrange for any makeup work to be done.

Disability Services

In compliance with PL94-142 and more recent federal legislation affirming the rights of disabled individuals, provisions will be made for students with special needs on an individual basis. The student must have been identified as special needs by the university and an appropriate letter must be provided to the course instructor. Provision will be made based upon written guidelines from the University's Office of Educational Accessibility. All students are expected to fulfill all course requirements.

Students are encouraged to self-disclose disabilities that have been verified by the Office of Educational Accessibility by providing Accommodation Letters to their instructors early in the semester in order to start receiving accommodations. Accommodations will not be made until the Accommodation Letters are provided to instructors each semester.

Seeking Help

Blackboard should be your first reference for questions about the class. If you have questions about course requirements or materials, post and answer questions using the class Piazza site.

The best way to get extra help is to attend office hours. If you cannot make office hours, please send an email to setup an appointment.

Academic Integrity

Old Dominion University is committed to students' personal and academic success. In order to achieve this vision, students, faculty, and staff work together to create an environment that provides the best opportunity for academic inquiry and learning. All students must be honest and forthright in their academic studies. Your work in this course and classroom behavior must align with the expectations outlined in the Code of Student Conduct, which can be found at https://www.odu.edu/oscai.

The following behaviors along with classroom disruptions violate this policy, corrupt the educational process, and will not be tolerated.

  • Cheating: Using unauthorized assistance, materials, study aids, or other information in any academic exercise.
  • Plagiarism: Using someone else's language, ideas, or other original material without acknowledging its source in any academic exercise.
  • Fabrication: Inventing, altering or falsifying any data, citation or information in any academic exercise.
  • Facilitation: Helping another student commit, or attempt to commit, any Academic Integrity violation, or failure to report suspected Academic Integrity violations to a faculty member.

In particular, submitting anything that is not your own work without proper attribution (giving credit to the original author) is plagiarism and is considered to be an academic integrity violation. It is not acceptable to copy source code or written work from any other source (including other students, online resources), unless explicitly allowed in the assignment statement. In cases where using resources such as the Internet is allowed, proper attribution must be given.

Any evidence of an academic integrity violation (cheating) will result in a 0 grade for the assignment/exam, and the incident will be submitted to the Department of Computer Science for further review. Note that academic integrity violations can result in a permanent notation being placed on the student's transcript or even expulsion from the University. Evidence of cheating may include a student being unable to satisfactorily answer questions asked by the instructor about a submitted solution. Cheating includes not only receiving unauthorized assistance, but also giving unauthorized assistance. For class files kept in Unix space, students are expected to use Unix file permission protections (chmod) to keep other students from accessing the files. Failure to adequately protect files may result in a student being held responsible for giving unauthorized assistance, even if not directly aware of it.

Students may still provide legitimate assistance to one another. You are encouraged to form study groups to discuss course topics. Students should avoid discussions of solutions to ongoing assignments and should not, under any circumstances, show or share code solutions for an ongoing assignment.

All students are responsible for knowing the rules. If you are unclear about whether a certain activity is allowed or not, please contact the instructor.

More information on academic integrity is available on the ODU-CS academic integrity page.