This pages provides answers to FAQs on various components of the course.


Isn’t the expected workload for this course too high for its number of credits (4)?
Different students in this course come from different background, with different skills and knowledge, priorities, and circumstances. This course is not for everyone and this is why it’s elective. You don’t have to take this course. If you do take it, you will learn a lot about cyber security and privacy. And, if you don’t take it, you will have a lot of time to do something else in your life. So, both options come with advantages and disadvantages.

What’s the password for accessing the “Marks” section of the course website?
Check Piazza.

In-class Quizzes

I believe that has been a mistake in the grading of my quiz:
Send a private message to the TAs on Piazza.


Can a group get personalized feedback on their assignment solution before submission?
You can ask the TA during the lab session any clarifying questions you might have. However, we do not provide hints / direct feedback on solutions that are not submitted for grading.

Why are some students receiving more than 100% on some assignments?
This is a by product of how the iPeer system works. If all members of a group give another member a very low iPeer score (e.g., because that member has missed that assignment completely), that person will get a very low individual mark, while every other member gets a mark higher than 100%. Some students in previous cohorts expressed concerns about whether this system is fair. The teaching staff have had many debates and meetings over the years about whether this system is fair. Ultimately, we have concluded that this is the fairest system possible. Note that because the marks are pro-rated, having a student get a mark higher than 100% makes it much less likely that your mark is affected by that.

How do I cite references in my assignment/project deliverable?
Use the ACM bibliography format.

Do references count toward the page limit for assignments/project deliverables?

If an assignment says we should report the running time of our program, do we get points deduced from our grade if our program is “too slow” compared to other groups?

How do we submit code with our assignment report?
If the code is short, put it directly in your PDF. If not, upload the code to a hosting website, such as Github, and provide a link in your report.

Can we get an extension on an assignment deadline?
Generally, no. We drop one assignment with the lowest mark when calculating your final mark. As a result, no extension will be given for assignment deadlines.

I missed the iPeer deadline, can I get an extension?
No. If you miss the deadline, we assume you would have distributed the marks amongst your team members equally.

Do I need to use a specific programming language for the assignments that involve coding?
No. You can use any of the common programming languages (C/C++/C#, Java, Python, Go). If you want to use any other language, check with the lab instructor first.

There is a discrepancy between the deadline posted on Canvas and the one on the course calendar (blogs.ubc.ca):
Trust the deadline on Canvas.

Term Projects

What is the password for accessing the authorization form for analysis projects?
Check Piazza.

How to come up with an idea for our project?
Let your imagination go wild! You can get inspired by prior cohorts’ projects or by studying some research papers on topics of cybersecurity that interest you. You could also think about how you would use your knowledge of cybersecurity to solve some problems that you face in everyday life.

Where do I find some useful resources on how to write scientific reports/papers?
Check out this link.

Do we need to submit source code for design projects?
Only if you think it is beneficial (for example, to allow students in future cohorts to continue the work you started). You are not required to submit your source code (the report should suffice).


Is there a rubric for marking the exams?
As the exams are open-book, the questions are often designed to be open-ended and might have many different possible answers. As such, it would be difficult to come up with a hard rubric. Instead, when we mark the exams, we analyze each student’s answers yo see (1) if their thought process aligns with what they have been expected to learn in the course, and (2) if their conclusions make sense given the assumptions they have made about the problem at hand.

Do you provide an answer key to the mid-term/final exam?
No. The TA might discuss some example mid-term/final questions in the lab sessions.

Can we change our project after submitting the proposal?
It is considered on a case-by-case basis. Talk to the course instructor about this during his office hours.

If a group is not doing an analysis project, can they still submit a pre-final report?
Talk to the course instructor about this. It might be possible, but keep in mind that anything you submit will be graded and contributes to your final mark.

Is the final exam only on the material we leant during the second half of the course?
No. It is on everything you have learnt in the course.