Getting help with the exercises

As in several other CS courses, we will use Zulip and Zoom for organizing the voluntary online exercise sessions.

Zulip chat forum

The course chat forum is found at

Use of your real name in the forum is encouraged so that is easier for the teaching assistants to help you. However, if you prefer to be anonymous towards other students, you can set your name to your initials. The teacher(s) of the course can always see your real identity.

The workspace has the following streams:

  • online exercise sessions for getting help in the Online exercise sessions.

  • round xy for asking questions about the material and exercises in the round xy. Please see the Etiquette below. As the limited working hours of the assistant are prioritized to the Online exercise sessions, the help requests in these streams are answered when time permits, no guarantees are given.

  • general for any other questions about the course, or on the topics of the course.

Aalto Zulip instructions can be found at


  • Be polite towards others.

  • Do not send help requests in private messages to the course personnel, they will be ignored. Helping is done only in the online exercise sessions and in the round xy streams.

  • If you want to ask a question about your code in a round xy stream, please

    • post your code in the “Code vault” service found in the A+ system, and

    • then post the provided link in Zulip. Only the course personnel can access your code in the “Code vault”.

    Do not post your exercise solution code in Zulip: the goal of the course is not to learn modifying other’s code to look like self-written, but to work through the whole problem by yourself.

  • When asking for help with your code, please

    • be prepared to explain how the code is supposed to work if you ask for help in an online exercise session, or

    • comment your code before submitting it to the “Code vault” if you ask for help in a round xy stream.

    This not only makes helping easier, but it may be the case that one spots problems in the code when thinking how to explain/comment it.

Online exercise sessions

For the schedule of the exercise sessions, please see the MyCourses page of the course.

To get help in an exercise session,

  • create a Zoom meeting (instructions are given below),

  • post the invitation link to the online exercise sessions stream in Zulip, and

  • a teaching assistant will then call you when it is your turn. After this, you can discuss with the assistant and share your screen with her/him to show your code.

Setting up Zoom

Zoom is a service, supported by the Aalto University, that allows video calls with screen sharing.

  1. First, one needs to install Zoom. There are two possibilities.

  2. Second, go to, log in, and edit some settings.


    Figure: Select “Sign in”


    Figure: sign in by using your Aalto email and password.


    Figure: go to “Settings”. You can select “Waiting room” so that people cannot accidentally join in your meeting but they first go to a “Waiting room”: you can then admit the teaching assistant in the meeting.


    Figure: in the “Settings”, verify that “Mute participants upon entry” is not checked. In this way, you can hear the assistant immediately when she/he is admitted in your meeting.

Creating a Zoom meeting

To create a Zoom meeting, do the following.

Note: when making your first Zoom meeting, permissions to use microphone, video, and screen sharing will be asked. Furthermore, in some cases, the Zoom client may have to be restarted after granting screen sharing permissions. Thus you may want to practice making Zoom meetings with your friend first, and be patient when making your first Zoom meeting in an exercise session.

  1. Start the Zoom desktop client, or go to if you are using the web browser interface.

  2. Select “New meeting” (desktop client) or “Host” (web browser).


    Figure: Start a new meeting in the desktop client.


    Figure: Start a new meeting in the web browser.


    Figure: When using the browser version, select “join from you browser”.

  3. Then, select “Join Audio by Computer”.


    Figure: When using the browser version, select “join from you browser”.

  4. You now have started a meeting. To invite an assistant to the meeting, click the small “(i)” info button in the upper left corner, copy the “Invite link”, and post it to the online exercise sessions stream in Zulip.


    Figure: Get the invite link and post it to Zulip.

  5. When an assistant joins the meeting, “Admit” her/him in the meeting. After this, you can discuss with him and share your screen with her/him.