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Paper Discussions

At least 10 of the class sessions will be devoted to paper discussion. For each session, we will cover 3 papers by splitting the discussion between 3 randomly assigned groups which will persist for the duration of the quarter. Your uNID is assigned to a group for paper discussions; see Canvas > Modules > Groups. Reading assignments for each group are in the reading list. If you don’t have access to the reading list, send a direct message in Teams to the instructor.

MS Teams participation

Teams channels for each group (#paper-discussion-group1, #paper-discussion-group2, etc.) are created. Please join all of the channels, though participation will only be required in your own. By the night before each discussion, post 2–3 discussion points or questions about the paper in your respective group. Do not repeat earlier questions or points, so a diversity of issues gets raised. Write each question or point as a separate message, so if people have responses, follow-up questions, links for related reading, etc., they can reply directly to your point in a thread. Such follow-up questions or are also a valid way to contribute some of your 2–3 discussion points.

Please note that discussion threads and emails are all considered to be equivalent to the classroom, and your behavior in all these venues should conform to the university’s student code.


You’ll get 2 points for each discussion if you posted 2–3 substantial discussion points or questions on time (before 11:59pm day before). If you only asked about something that is obviously and explicitly mentioned in the paper (“What is X?” where X is clearly introduced), you will not get points.

Class participation

For each class discussion, your group will decide on a discussion leader. Everyone is required to lead at least one discussion over the course of the quarter. Paper discussion classes will proceed in two parts. For the first half, each discussion group will break out and discuss their own paper for 30 minutes. During this period, each group will add main points to a slide shared with other groups. The lead should use the discussion points raised in MS Teams to guide the discussion. Then for the second half, we will reconvene and the lead for each group will concisely summarize their paper and the takeaways from their discussion.

Reading research papers

One of the goals of this class is to make you comfortable with reading CS research papers. Reading a research paper is a learned skill. Here are some pointers that may help you on that front.