Course Structure#

This class uses a flipped-classroom design. I will primarily not be lecturing in class; instead, content delivery is asynchronous through the following resources:

  • Video lectures

  • Accompanying notes (on the course web site)

  • The textbook

  • Other readings linked from the lecture notes and course web page

Each week has approximately 75–90 minutes of video material, plus some reading. There will be a short quiz before each Thursday’s class as an initial check on your understanding of the material. Weeks with exams will have lower video and reading loads. You are expected to watch and read the material on your own time.

Our synchronous class time will be for discussing the course material and topics, additional mini-lectures to supplement your understanding of the course, and team-based exercises to practice the material with ready access to peer and instructor support.

Putting these together, along with the larger assignments, results in the following components of the class:

  • Reading and study

  • Work in class

  • Assignments

  • Exams (in-class)


Your final grade will be computed from the course components as follows:



In-Class Work


Individual Quizzes


Team Quizzes








The standard 70/80/90 scale determines the minimum grade you will receive (that is, if you have 80 total course points, you will receive at least a B-).

Class Meetings#

I expect you to actively participate in our synchronous class meetings. Since these are interactive working sessions, if you have a laptop please bring it to class when we meet in-person.

Synchronous class meetings, whether in-person or remote, are based on the principles of team-based learning, adapted to this class’s needs and role in the graduate curriculum. You will be working with a group of your peers throughout the semester helping each other practice the material, discuss and apply it to small exercises and examples, and identify places where you need and want to learn more.

On Thursdays, our class will look like a “normal” team-based learning class — a team quiz (the Readiness Assessment Process), supplementary content discussion as needed, and an application exercise. The TBL readiness assessment process normally consists of two parts: an individual quiz, followed by re-taking the quiz as a team to discuss and improve your answers. In this class, we will be implementing that with an online individual quiz due before class and a synchronous team quiz (see Quizzes). Thursday class activities will contribute to your grade.

Approximately half of the Thursday meetings will be remote via Zoom, and half of them in-person. See the course schedule for the schedule of in-person vs. remote course meetings.

On Tuesdays, I will be logged in to Zoom during the normal class time for open discussion and Q&A on the course material, assignments, etc. On weeks when an assignment is due (see the schedule), we will also use the class period for collaborative problem-solving about the assignment.

One final note on classes: taking care of our health, individually and as a class, is top priority. While I aim for every class to be a meaningful, can’t-miss learning experience, I also want us to have a general expectation that if we’re ill, we stay home, both to recover ourselves and to protect our colleagues’ health. I’ve designed the grading policies to help with this (see Coronavirus), but if we need to further adjust to accommodate the semester’s health demands, we will. If you need to miss class, I encourage you to phone in and have a teammate put you on speakerphone during your team’s activities, if you are feeling well enough; this will allow you to contribute to the team quiz and work. We’ll adapt as we need throughout the semester to ensure everyone can participate.


There is a short weekly individual quiz in Canvas, due before class on Thursday (at 8AM, so I can look at results before class), on the readings and videos. The purpose of these quizzes is to help make sure you are prepared for applying the material, and to give both you and I early and frequent checks on your understanding.

In class on Thursdays, we will take the team quiz, which will usually be the same or very similar as the individual quiz. This is an opportunity to refine your understanding of the material and collaboratively fill in gaps you may have missed. Individual and team quizzes are weighted equally in your final grade.

For both individual and team quizzes, only the 10 highest scores will contribute to your grade.


There will be 8 homework assignments practicing data science techniques in Python. Each assignment is due at midnight on Sunday of the week in which it is due.

I have scheduled this due date to give you the weekend to finish the assignment if that works best with your schedule. However, as documented above, I do not commit to checking Piazza on the weekends to watch my time, and therefore you should work on the assignment early enough that you can raise questions and have them resolved before the weekend is over.

The first assignment (A0) is a warm-up assignment to make sure that you can install the software and run Python notebooks. You must complete this assignment individually.

The other assignments (A1–7) are full assignments doing data science with Python. You may do up to 3 of these assignments with a partner, and must complete 4 individually. You may choose which assignments you solo and which are a group effort. When doing an assignment with a partner, submit one copy for both of you, and indicate your partner’s name in the Blackboard submission comments.

I will drop the lowest assignment grade.

Exams and Final#

There will be two midterm exams and a final.

There will be a makeup exam available the last week of class. If you turn in the makeup exam, your grade on it will replace your lowest normal exam grade.

All exams will be on Canvas. Each exam will be available for 72 hours from the time it is released. I will release midterms at midnight on Wednesday, so they are due by midnight on Saturday; the final will be released at noon on Monday of finals week and due at noon on Thursday.

Once you begin an exam, you will have 4 hours to complete a midterm or 6 hours to complete the final. If you have technical or other problems that keep you from finishing it before the timeout, please let me know by Piazza private message to reset it. The deadline takes precedence over the timeout; if you begin the final at 11:00AM on Thursday, your completed final is still due at noon, not at 5 PM.

Exams will have a data analysis component and a conceptual component. The conceptual component will include a range of different question types, including short-answer, multiple choice, and matching.