You are required to be a member of the class Google Group because all important announcements are sent throught the class Google Group! So, please read this web page carefully.
We will use a Google Group for class related communications. The Google Group is basically used as a mailing list. (During the first 3 weeks of classes, the instructor will check if there are new students registered for the course and he will add new students to the Google Group or send invitations to them.) If you get an invitation from the Google Group, you have two choices. (1) You can accept the invitation (do NOT choose this option if you are using gmail from Google Apps at USC because it won't work); or (2) request membership from your Google account (see below). After this is done, you will get copies of all e-mails sent to the Google Group and you will also be able to post to the Google Group. What you will not be able to do is to have web access to the class Google Group.

The main difference between the two approaches is that, if you go with option (1) you cannot visit/search the message archive of the Google Group. This is because the Google Group is a property of Google and you need to be a Google member to view the message archive. When you logged into your Google account and try to visit this group, it will say that you are not a member of this group. This is because your USC e-mail address is used for subscribing to this group and not your Google e-mail address. So, if you want to visit the message archive, you need to go with approach (2).

If you use gmail from Google Apps at USC, then option (1) is not available to you. Your only option is to use a separate gmail account for our class Google Group and follow the procedure for (2) below.

Approach/option (1)

If you don't ever want to login to the Google Group over the web and search the message archive and want to stay with approach (1), that's fine. In this case, you should set your e-mail filter to label all messages that has "usc-cs402-s19" in the subject line (without the quotes) so you won't miss any important announcements. You should also save all these messages into a separate folder so that you can easily search them. You can also respond to postings to the Google Group or post a message to the Google Group by sending e-mail to <> (this would only work if you are sending e-mail from your USC e-mail address).

Approach/option (2) - the PREFERRED way

If you want to use your gmail address for the Google Group, then you should first sign into Google and then visit our Google Group web site and click on Apply for Membership (not "Contact the owner"). Since your gmail address may not tell the instructor who you really are, you MUST provide your USC login ID (your account name on or your USC e-mail address in the "additional comments to the manager" area so that the instructor can verify that you are a registered student for the class. (If you are on the wait list, please also mention that in your request to join the group.) If you go this route, you have to wait for the instructor to approve your request before you can get into the Google Group. If you do not provide any USC-specific information in the "additional comments to the manager" area (even though your Google account name is similar to your real name), your request will be denied (and you will get an e-mail saying that your subscription was not approved).

There is a 3rd option (which is kind of an extension to option (1)). If you do not have a Google account to begin with and you want to use your USC e-mail address to access the Google Group, you should first visit our Google Group web site and click on Sign in in the right top corner. On the next screen, click on the big Create an account button then enter your USC e-mail address as your current e-mail address. Then follow the instructions there to finish creating your account.

In this group, you can ask course related and project related questions. Please make sure to use this Google Group to clarify any questions that you may have on the assignments specifications and grading guidelines. Please refrain from posting code etc., that can lead to any sort of plagiarism. Posting more than 4 lines of code OR pseudo-code will be considered cheating! (Please keep in mind that one line of pseudo-code can easily turn into 10 lines of code! So, if your pseudo-code has any details and can turn into more than 4 lines of code, it's considered cheating! Try not to post pseudo-code. Try to explain things to your fellow students using language that doesn't sound or look like code at all.)

If you post more than 4 lines of code OR pseudo-code, first offense (in the entire semester) gets a warning. Second offense, you will lose 50% of the corresponding assignment points and lose posting privileges in the class Google Group for the rest of the semester.

Since the HW and exam grades will be sent to your USC e-mail address, if you don't use your USC e-mail address to receive e-mails, it's best that you forward your USC e-mails to your other e-mail account, for example, your gmail account. It's easy to setup e-mail forwarding! Just follow the these simple steps.
  1. Go to
  2. Login to your USC e-mail account.
  3. Click on Options.
  4. Click on Settings.
  5. click on Enable Forwarding.
  6. Enter the e-mail address you would like to use below it.
  7. Click on Save Changes.
I get the following question a lot:
I'm receiving all the messages that got posted to the class Google Group. But when I go to the class Google Group on the web, I cannot see the discussions or use the search function. What do I need to do?
You need to remember that if you want to see the discussions, you must have done both of the following:
  • logged into Google, and
  • be a member of our class Google Group
Please note that there is a difference between just Google and a Google Group.

Go to the class Google Group at:
Which message do you see? Do you see (1): "You cannot view the group's content or participate in the group because you are not currently a member", or (2): "You must be signed in and a member of this group to view its content"?

If you see the first message, it means that you have already signed into Google (with your Google login e-mail address, whatever it may be); you are just not a member of the Google Group. In this case, you should click on the "Apply for group membership" link and then enter your USC e-mail address in the "additional comments to the manager" field to apply for membership.

If you see the 2nd message, it means that you are not signed into Google (not our class Google Group, just Google). In this case, you should sign in (i.e., click on the "Sign in" link in the right top corner) first. If you don't have a Google account, you can click on "Create an account" and then enter your USC e-mail address as your account's e-mail address and go from there.