Sprints and Assignments

The course is divided into a number of “sprints” comprising related material. A typical sprint lasts for one week and includes three components: Prepare, Practice, and Perform.

  • Prepare. Will typically contain videos and/or readings to introduce new content, as well as a quiz to ensure comprehension. The quiz will be multiple choice in Sakai and will be auto-graded. You can take the quiz up to three times to correct initial misunderstandings. A score of 80% on Prepare will result in full credit.
  • Practice. Will typically consist of a set of coding/data analysis problems to complete in a Jupyter notebook and submit on Gradescope. We will typically work through several of these problems in class together, and will typically release the answers (though not the solutions for how to get them) ahead of the due date. A score of 80% on Practice will result in full credit.
  • Perform. Will typically consist of some data science tasks to complete independently in a Jupyter notebook and submit on Gradescope. Will build on material from the prepare and practice, but without answers or retries. Graded for demonstration of mastery.


Instead of a final exam, this course has an open-ended collaborative project. In groups of four or five you will choose a research topic that can be explored through data science. You will formulate research questions, acquire data, and perform your own data processing, analysis, and modeling to answer your research questions. The projects have three stages of deliverables.

  • Proposal. 1-2 page (single space) document that highlights a topic, data source(s), research questions, and a collaboration plan.
  • Prototype. 3-4 page (single space) document that highlights methods, preliminary results, and an updated collaboration plan.
  • Final Report and Presentation. 6-8 page (single space) document that provides a complete description of the topic, research questions, methods, results, and conclusions, along with a 15-20 minute recorded presentation involving all group members.

More details will be provided about each deliverable closer to their due dates, including a simple criterion based rubric for grading. Project Deliverables will be graded for satisfying the necessary criteria, i.e., satisfying the basic requirements will result in full credit. This is intended to encourage creativity allow project groups to explore widely in terms of topics, research questions, and methods without fear of grade penalty. We will also provide constructive written feedback on project deliverables separate from the criterion grading in order to help teams make progress.


The final course grade, as a percentage, will be calculated as the following weighted average:

  • Prepare 10%
  • Practice 15%
  • Project 35%, broken down by deliverables:
    • Proposal 3%
    • Prototype 6%
    • Presentation 6%
    • Final Report 20%
  • Perform 40%

Final numerical grades will be converted to letter grades as follows. Letter grades of A+ are awarded only for students with a grade of A and exceptional course projects as determined by the instructors.

  • [90, 94) = A-, [94, 100] = A
  • [80, 83) = B-, [83, 87) = B, [87, 90) = B+
  • [70, 73) = C-, [73, 77) = C, [77, 80) = C+
  • [60, 63) = D-, [63, 67) = D, [67, 70) = D+


You are welcome and encouraged to collaborate on Prepare and Practice assignments. You can search for study partners using the “Search for Teammates” feature on piazza. You will be able to submit with a partner (group size at most 2) for these assignments. However, you should not “split up” the work and only look at a portion of the material, as this will deprive you and your partner of valuable learning opportunities. Instead, we encourage that you work together actively or each attempt portions independently and then come together to discuss. Also, You should not share your solutions with anyone you do not actually study/work with.

You must complete the Perform assignments independently. You should not discuss the Perform assignments with any other classmates until after grades have been returned. You may not show your solutions to other students and should not view other solutions. Doing so will be considered in violation of the Duke Community Standard.

The group projects will be completed in groups of four or five, and while some group members may focus on different aspects of the project, all group members should be actively engaged in the overall project and regularly communicating with group members.

Due Dates and Late Work

Prepare assignments should be completed by the start of the class meeting on the day they are due (see course schedule), but will be accepted without penalty until 11:59 pm US Eastern Time of the same day. Prepare assignments will not be accepted after this time.

Practice assignments should be completed by the suggested due date on the course schedule, but will be accepted without penalty until the due date of the perform assignment of the same sprint. In typical usage, the suggested due date for a practice will be Friday, and the “hard” due date will be the following Monday at 11:59 pm US Eastern Time. Practice assignments will not be accepted after that time.

Perform assignments are due by 11:59 pm US Eastern Time on the due date according to the course schedule. They will be accepted late with 5% penalty for another 24 hours, after which they will not be accepted. Please turn in what you have for partial credit rather than receive a 0 for missing work.


Students wishing to have a grade changed must make a written request through the regrade request feature on Gradescope no later than one week from the day the assignment is returned. Regrade requests should explain specifically why the student believes a different grade is more appropriate, not just ask for more partial credit without any reason. Please note that grade changes (apart from clear grader errors) are rare.

Academic Integrity

All participants in this course are expected to uphold the Duke Community Standard; that is, to agree that “…I will not lie, cheat, or steal in my academic endeavors; I will conduct myself honorably in all my endeavors; and I will act if the Standard is compromised.”  In all cases, failure to uphold this standard will result in referral to Office of Student Conduct.  Any work that copies, paraphrases, or in any other way uses materials not your own without citation will be considered in violation. 

Disability Accommodation

Duke University is committed to providing equal access to students with documented disabilities. Students with disabilities may contact the Student Disability Access Office (SDAO) to ensure your access to this course and to the program. There you can engage in a confidential conversation about the process for requesting reasonable accommodations both in the classroom and in clinical settings. Students are encouraged to register with the SDAO as soon as they begin the program. Please note that accommodations are not provided retroactively. More information can be found online at or by contacting SDAO at 919-668-1267,

Long Term Health Issues

If you have or develop a chronic health issue that will interfere with your participation in this course, please contact your academic dean to seek accommodations as directed by Trinity College.

Personal Distress or Emergencies

If a situation of extreme personal distress or an emergency interferes with your participation in this course, please contact your academic dean to seek accommodations as directed by Trinity College.