This syllabus contains some experimental elements that are worth trying. However, experiments are allowed to fail and therefore the syllabus is subject to change based on how the class is learning.


  • Slip day form
  • Prepare quiz extension –  To continue the philosophy of having your grade reflect what you know, not what you know + what you get done on time. If you did not submit the Prepare Sakai quizzes at all, you are allowed one extension request, no questions asked. This is on all parts of the Prepare. When we grant your extension, you will have until the next day at 11:59 pm to do a single submission per Sakai quiz.

Covid Precautions

Per the Duke Requirements, you must wear a mask if you are in-person in class and in office hours.

If you have to quarantine or isolate due to Covid-19:

  • Class is hybrid. So you can still attend online if you feel up for it.
  • You must still answer the peer instruction questions we use that day to get credit.
  • If you cannot answer the peer instructions on time, fill out the short-term illness form.


This course is divided into modules that are typically 1 week long. Each module has multiple components so you engage with the material multiple times to enhance your learning. All due dates are at 11:59 PM, unless otherwise noted.

  • Prepare [Due: 2 days before class, late due 1 day before class]. Will typically contain videos and/or readings to introduce new content, as well as quizzes (usually one per video/reading) to ensure comprehension. The quizzes will be on Sakai and auto-graded. You can take the quizzes up to three times to correct initial misunderstandings. A score of 80% across all of the quizzes in the Prepare (e.g. sum(points_earned)/sum(points_possible)) will result in full credit.
    • These are due 2 days before class (typically Monday) so we have enough time to create and plan the peer instructions for the class.
    • During the late window, you can only submit once and only if you have never submitted before.
  • Peer instructions [Due: day of class]. During class, we will have peer instructions to check your understanding as we go through the content. They are created based on the class’s performance on the Prepares so they focus on what everyone is weakest on. These are questions that you answer individually. Based on the class’s performance we may split into groups to discuss answers and then answer the question again to check understanding.  Your score is based on participation per question. You need 80% of the possible points across the entire semester to receive full credit.
    • These will open at the time they are needed in class and stay open until 11:59 PM that day. This is to accommodate the stresses of the pandemic still causing a lot of changes in people’s schedules.
    • They are still required the day of to strongly encourage not procrastinating on staying on top of the class material.
  • Worked Examples. During class, we will also work on notebooks together. They are not graded and are not available for every module. For the modules that they are available, we will release the solutions after the last class we will work on them, typically Friday.
  • Homework [Due: Typically Sunday]. Will typically consist of a set of coding/data analysis or statistics problems to complete in a Jupyter notebook and submit on Gradescope. We may work through several of these problems in class together, especially if there are no worked examples. You may submit as many times as you want to Gradescope. A score of 90% on a Homework will result in full credit.

Homework Slip Days

Homeworks will be due typically on Sunday. If you want to submit after this due date you will need to use slip day “tokens.” You have 9 slip days for the entire semester. To use your slip days you need to fill out the slip day form (link at top of the page too) within 24 hours of the due date so we are aware to expect a submission and a rough idea of how many days you plan to use. To submit, submit your homework like normal during Gradescope’s 1-week late period. The total number of slip days you use will be based on the calendar day in Duke’s time zone when your active submission was submitted, not what was stated on the form. You do not need to submit the form more than once per assignment.

For example, if the assignment was due on Sunday and your active submission was submitted on Tuesday, you used 2 slip days for that assignment. Assuming this is the first time you used slip days, you will have 7 slip days left.

If you run out of slip days, you will need to talk to the professor to discuss potentially getting more. We will email you to notify you of your current slip day status each time you use them.

Mini-Exams and Retakes

To assess understanding of the material, there will be around four mini-exams that will span multiple modules. These mini-exams will be timed, taken at home, and available for a fixed set of days. Each mini-exam will have a retake opportunity during the following mini-exam period.


Regrades are through Gradescope. The regrade window opens 24 hours after the assignment is returned and closes after 1 week. 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.


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 to allow project groups to explore widely in terms of topics, research questions, and methods without fear of a 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 15%
  • Peer Instructions 5%
  • Homework 25%
  • Project 10%, broken down by deliverables:
    • Proposal 1%
    • Prototype 2%
    • Presentation 3%
    • Final Report 4%
  • Mini-Exams 45% – The modules are not evenly distributed across the mini-exams. Therefore, a mini-exam’s weight is based on the number of modules it has, where each module is worth ~5%. So a mini-exam with 3 modules in it will be worth 15%, while a mini-exam with only 1 module will be worth 5%.

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 instructor.

  • [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+

Course Policies


You are welcome and encouraged to collaborate on Prepares, Peer Instructions, and Homeworks. You can find study partners by requesting ones on the beginning of the semester survey, in class, or in the discussion forum. 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 mini-exams independently. You should not discuss the mini-exams 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, and while some group members may focus on different aspects of the project, all group members should be actively engaged in the overall project, each doing a fair share of work, and regularly communicating with group members.

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 the 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 their 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.