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Week 1 — Question

The key learning outcomes for this week are:

  • Ask and refine questions that can be answered with data
  • Install and run the software required for the course
  • Write and run basic Python code in a Jupyter notebook
  • Begin to think about the complexity of meaningful questions

This week uses chapters 1–3 from the textbook. If you already know Python, that should mostly be review.

We'll do this through several resources and activities:

This week's videos are available as a Panopto playlist.


This video introduces the course and our learning outcomes for the term.

Asking Questions

In this video, I introduce questions in their broader context of using data to advance goals. I also introduce the idea of operationalization, which will be a key concept throughout the class.


That video is just a little off, you may notice. Forgot to turn on the lights when recording it.

Further Reading

Questioning Questions

We make our operationalizations better by questioning them. What do they capture? Who or what do they prioritize?

Week 1 Quiz

Take the Week 1 Quiz in Blackboard (it's under “Quizzes”).

Tuesday Breakpoint

If you have completed through this point, you are ready for Tuesday's synchronous activities.

First Week Grace

The due date for the Week 1 quiz is flexible. I strongly encourage you to complete it on Monday, but it is not due until the end of the week.

Subsequent weekly quizzes will be due at the end of the day on Monday.

Tuesday Session

About Me

Working Ahead

While this and following sections are not required before Tuesday's class, there is no reason you can't get started whenever you want.

In this video, I talk about about my background, teaching, and research, as well as the structure of publishing computer science research and my professional involvement with different parts of that.

Introduce Yourself

On Piazza, there is a thread for self-introductions. Reply and introduce yourself!

This counts towards participation points.

Textbook Chapters

The Python material we are working on this week is a subset of the material in chapters 1–3 of the textbook. I don't expect to you get through all 3 chapters thoroughly this week, and we will be introducing more Python features as we need them throughout the semester. I will note specific chapters and sections relevant to videos in their Resources subsections.

Install Software

Make sure you have installed the course software so you can complete the assignment.

Content Structure

Our First Python Notebook

This video shows you how to start Jupyter, create a notebook, and run Python code. It also shows you how to prepare a notebook to submit as an assignment.


Data Types and Control Flow

This video introduces fundamental Python data types and operations, along with variables and basic control flow.


Control Structures

This video introdcues Python control structures and code layout.

Scientific Python

This video introduces NumPy ndarray, the fundamental numeric array data structure for scientific computing.


  • Textbook 4

Assignment 0

Complete and submit Assignment 0 by midnight on Sunday, August 30.