DATA 240: Data Science Applications, Spring 2021

This syllabus is subject to change based on specific class needs, especially the schedule. Significant deviations will be discussed in class. Individual exceptions to the policies and schedule are granted only in cases of true emergency. Please make arrangements with me if an emergency arises.




The purpose of this course is for students to gain practical experience with data science projects: planning, implementing, and getting to know the common tools. Students will work in small groups to develop three different data science applications. A central component of each application will be the collection, cleaning, and structuring of data sets. Each application will expose them to different kinds and sources of data such as relational database and web-based APIs. Groups will maintain and develop their projects using GitHub or GitLab and Git version control software. Students will also engage in peer-review of the work of their team members and the other development teams in the course. Upon completing the course students will know how to formulate basic data science problem statements, construct appropriate data sets to explore their problems, carry out the appropriate modeling and analysis for their problem, and present the findings. Where students’ prior experience covered these things in pieces, this course will have you work this process from start to end.


Books and reference materials will be based on projects assigned but are likely to be a combination of online resources and instructor provided handouts. As part of their projects students will learn to seek out and work with reference material for programming tools and languages in addition to textbooks.


Every project will use git and GitHub for collaboration and version control. If you are familiar with the command line you may prefer to simply use the git command; otherwise you should install a graphical client. You will need to download gititself. Although it comes with a basic graphical client, you may prefer to install a third-party client; GitHub Desktop will suit our needs, although you may choose whichever you wish.



Assignments and Workload

The weekly workload for this course will vary by student and by week but should be about 12-13 hours per week on average. The following table provides a rough estimate of the distribution of time over different course components for a 16 week semester, as well as detailing the type, amount, and relative value of all assignments.

Category Amount Final Grade Weight Time/Week (Hours)
Class Meetings 42 15% (Participation) 2.5
Peer-Reviews 6 - 0.5
Presentations 6 35% 2
Projects 3 45% 7-8
Final Self-Evaluation 1 5% -
Total   100% 12-13

You can expect to spend most class meetings checking in with your current development team and the course instructor. Accompanying each project there will be two presentations: one checkpoint presentation and one final presentation with an application demo. These presentations will take place during scheduled class times as well. You will carry out peer-reviews and self-evaluations after each presentation.


Your individual project and presentation grades will be determined based on the overall group effort as well as your individual contributions to the application. Individual contributions will be assessed throughthe project tracking features on GitHub/GitLab, through feedback provided by peer-reviews done about your work, and through your own self-evaluations. It will not necessarily be the case that each member of a group receive the same grade on a project or presentation. Participation grades will be determined by class attendance, contributions to discussions on GitHub/GitLab, and through the quality of your peer-reviews submitted about other members of the class. During the final exam period you will be required to carry out one last self-evaluation and self-reflection about the work you did throughout the course of the semester.

Your final grade is based on a weighted average of particular assignment categories. You can estimate your current grade based on your scores and these weights. You may always visit the instructor outside of class to discuss your current standing. Assignments and final grades use a standard grading scale shown below and will not be curved except in rare cases when deemed necessary by the instructor.

This courses uses a standard grading scale. Assignments and final grades will not be curved except in rare cases when its deemed necessary by the instructor. Percentage grades translate to letter grades as follows:

Score Grade
94–100 A
90–93 A-
88–89 B+
82–87 B
80–81 B-
78–79 C+
72–77 C
70–71 C-
68–69 D+
62–67 D
60–61 D-
0–59 F

You are always welcome to challenge a grade that you feel is unfair or calculated incorrectly. Mistakes made in your favor will never be corrected to lower your grade. Mistakes made not in your favor will be corrected. Basically, after the initial grading your score can only go up as the result of a challenge*.

You are always welcome to challenge a grade that you feel is unfair or calculated incorrectly. Mistakes made in your favor will never be corrected to lower your grade. Mistakes made not in your favor will be corrected. Basically, after the initial grading your score can only go up as the result of a challenge.


The following tentative calendar should give you a feel for how work is distributed throughout the semester. Assignments and events are listed in the week they are due or when they occur. This calendar is subject to change based on the circumstances of the course.

Date Topic
Week 1: 01/25 – 01/29 Logistics, Intro, Git, Github (1, 2, 3, 4)
Week 2: 02/01 – 02/05 Project 1, Files
Week 3: 02/08 – 02/12 Project 1 Checkpoint (Thu), Checkpoint Review Form
Week 4: 02/15 – 02/19 Checkpoint Reviews Due (Tue)
Week 5: 02/22 – 02/26 Project 1 Final: Presentation (Thu), Report (Fri), Final Review Form
Week 6: 03/01 – 03/05 Project 1 Reviews Due (Tue), Project 2
Week 7: 03/08 – 03/12  
Week 8: 03/15 – 03/19 Project 2 Checkpoint (Thu), Checkpoint Review Form
Week 9: 03/22 – 03/26 Checkpoint Reviews Due (Tue)
Week 10: 03/29 – 04/01 Project 2 Final (Thu), Final Review Form
(Fri 04/02 – Easter Break)  
Week 11: 04/05 – 04/09 Project 2 Reviews Due (Tue), Project 3
Week 12: 04/12 – 04/16  
Week 13: 04/19 – 04/23 Project 3 Checkpoint (Thu),
Week 14: 04/26 – 04/30 Checkpoint Review Due (Tue)
Week 15: 05/03 – 05/05  
(Fri 05/07 – Finals Begin)  
Wed, 05/12 8:00 AM Project 3 Final Presentation, Final Review Form, Self-Evaluation

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