Tips for Commenting

The cs348b class web site is meant to provide a place for thinking, talking, and writing about the material in this course. To encourage you to think more deeply about the concepts described in the lectures, each of you is required to post at least two comments per lecture (within 48 hours of the lecture being given). You are of course more than welcome to post more.

Before you can submit comments to the lecture slides, you must create an account and login to the website.

We hope that as you read through the slides on your own, you can use making comments as a way to study the material and that the understanding you build up can also help others. For example, as you are studying, challenge yourself to write up your understanding in a comment.

Each comment need not be particularly long, a few carefully thought out sentences or a short paragraph is plenty of space for you to make a nice point. However, you should aim to make the comment as useful as possible to a fellow student that is reading through the slides to learn the material. Comments posted on the web site should be focused on course content and ideas. Piazza is the place to have discussions about specifics of debugging assignments, course logistics, etc.

Comments are written in Markdown. If you're unfamiliar with Markdown, take a look at our 90-Second Guide to Markdown, which also explains the extra support we've added for Latex math and internal site links.

You can reference this slide deck to see examples of good comments on slides from the first lecture.

More generally, consider the following options and advice when writing your comments:

  • Explain the slide. Imagine your friend fell asleep in lecture for a few minutes and completely missed Pat's explanation of the slide. If you had one minute to teach your friend the most important idea about what he missed, what would you tell them about this slide?
  • Challenge your classmates with a question. Come up with a question you would ask your friend if you were going to test their knowledge of the material. Other students in the class could try to answer your question in a subsequent comment.
  • Explain what is confusing you. It's perfectly reasonable to look at a slide and think, "Wow, I clearly don't understand this part of the lecture."
    In your comment explain why you don't understand, or what is particularly confusing you. Hopefully someone will answer.
  • Clarity, clarity, clarity! Be clear.
    It can be easy to write something that is sort of true. It is very hard to write something that is true and clear. Here's a trick: Before submitting your comment, read each of it's sentences one-by-one. For each sentence, ask yourself, "is this a true technical statement?"
    You might be surprised how many times, once you see it on paper, that answer turns out to be no. (It happens to me all the time.)
  • Provide a link to an alternate explanation. You might have found a better explanation of a topic on the internet. Provide a pointer to the alternative explanation you found, and say a few words about why you liked that explanation, or what additional things you learned.
  • Mention a relevant real-world example. There are many real-world examples of the concepts we talk about in class. New movies with novel special effects are released, great examples of CG imagery may appear on web sites or in blogs, there are new rendering systems being built.
  • Respond to another student's explanation or question. You could answer a question asked in a previous comment, or expand upon an explanation someone else attempted. You are welcome to point out a misunderstanding in what someone else posted, but please, please keep all comments positive and constructive. Remember, the goal is to help each other learn. If you do think it is useful to correct someone's work, be polite. Example: "Although xxxx mentions that algebraic surfaces would be the best possible rendering primitive, I disagree. People use triangles these days for many reasons. Furthermore, the intersection of a ray with a triangle yields at most a single point of intersection, and can be computed efficiently.