On time and reading articles

A general rule of thumb at the university is that an average course workload is 2 hours outside class for each hour inside (for us that would be 6 hours a week outside class). For students with a 5 course load, this works out to 45 hours a week (9 hours per course, 3 in class 6 out). Many courses have large projects so instead of looking at the 6 hour outside per week, you end up looking at the total of 13*6 (108) hours outside per semester. However, CS4472 is designed toward a relatively steady workload rather than a rush at the end of the semester.

In particular, an assignment like `read a 10 page paper and answer a reaction question about it' is viewed as a 2 hour outside class task. Of course, one could spend a semester just on trying to get the most out of the one article (and investigating how it connects to the articles it cites and those that cite it) as well as trying to figure out the best answer to the reaction question and how to most wisely use the 100 words to get across the best answer, but I would instead like you to think about spending 2 hours reading the paper and trying to figure it out and answering the reaction paper and bringing questions and difficulties that are not yet resolved to class to be sorted out as best we can during class time. While two 2 hour tasks still leave 2 hours unclaimed each week; between two 1-page proposals for 5 hour projects, doing two five hour projects, writing up two five hour projects, and studying for four quizzes, those extra 2 hours (26 hours across the semester) will probably get used up.

So, the question is how do we end up with 2 hours to read a 10 page paper like the category partition paper of last week. Well, first we consider how long it would take to read it out loud. I timed page 678 of the article (a page with no figures, so the longest to read) and it took just under 8 minutes to read it out loud (reading out loud makes sure I don't skip over anything -- much of the material can be read faster than `out loud' speed although some of the more technical aspects are worth pondering a bit). At 8 minutes a page, that is 80 minutes or 1 hour and 20 minutes to read the paper. To get the most out of your reading, I would suggest the following