Format: Class meetings will alternate between lectures and hands-on labs. In a lab, instructors and TAs will guide students in applying concepts taught in the previous lecture to real data. Between each pair of lecture and lab, there will be homework exercises to help students review the lecture and prepare for the lab. There are no exams or term papers. Instead, a capstone team project (with proposal, mid-term, and final reports) is required. In place of the final exam, there will be a mini-conference where students present their projects.
Grading: The course grade will be determined by homeworks (35%), class participation (15%), and the capstone project (50%).
- Each homework must be completed and submitted individually. A homework will be graded on a 4-point scale: “X” (0%) means the submission is missing or shows minimal effort; “I” (50%) means the submission is incomplete and shows partial effort; “V” (90%) means the submission demonstrates reasonable effort; “E” (100%) means the submission is excellent and exceeds our expectations.
- When computing the final grade, the two lowest homework grades will be dropped.
- Class participation is determined by attendance of the lab meetings.
- Labs and the project are completed and submitted by teams. Some labs have “challenges”; winning a challenge earns each team member extra credits.
Assignment of course grade is done on an absolute scale (in other words, there is no “curve”). Because of extra credits, it is possible to get more than 100%. Anyone getting 90% or higher will receive a grade in the A range; 80% or higher guarantees a grade in the B range; 70% or higher guarantees a grade in the C range; 60% or higher guarantees a grade in the D range.
Computing Requirement/Support: Many class meetings will require the use of a laptop. You may use your personal laptop (any major OS will do), or, if you do not own a laptop, request a loaner (for use in class meetings only) from the course staff before the semester begins. With support from Amazon, we will also use virtual machines hosted by Amazon’s cloud service–see Help section of this website for details.
Communication: You should check your email regularly for important course-related announcements. Old email messages can be found in the email archive. All questions of general interest to the class should be directed to Piazza; do not use the mailing list.
Standards of Conduct: Under the Duke Community Standard, you are expected to do your own work–individually for homeworks, and with your team for labs and project. On many occasions, it is useful to ask others (instructors, TAs, or other students) for hints or debugging help, or to talk generally about designs and solution strategies. Such activities are both acceptable and encouraged, but you must indicate in your submission any assistance you received. Any assistance received that is not given proper citation will be considered a violation of the Standard. In any event, you are responsible for understanding and being able to explain on your own all solutions that you submit. The course staff will pursue aggressively all suspected cases of violations, and they will be handled through official University channels.
Auditing: Although you are welcome to audit the course, please beware that the setup of this course (particularly with its substantial team-based lab and project components) is not well-suited for auditing. Audit students can attend all lectures and have access to all course materials. Audit students may also attend labs and work with other audit students in teams. However, we cannot assign audit students and non-audit students to the same team. Finally, we assign seats in labs based on teams—because of the orientation of our room, audit students will need to sit in the back of the room.