DS 200, Spring 2022: Introduction to Data Sciences

Section 002

This online document is the official course syllabus.
It is found at http://personal.psu.edu/drh20/200DS/index.html

Any changes made to the syllabus after the first day of class will be announced in class and appear in this document in red.

       Lectures: TuTh 1:35-2:50pm, 118 Earth and Engineering Sciences Building
       Labs: W 2:30-3:20pm, 112 Boucke
       Zoom links for office hours are on the course Canvas page
       Final Exam: Tuesday, May 3, 2:30-4:20pm, 114 Steidle Building

       David Hunter, 326 Thomas Building, dhunter@stat.psu.edu
       Office Hours: M 2:00-3:00pm in 310 Thomas and/or on Zoom. See course Canvas page for the link. Also by arrangement.
    Learning Assistant:
       Jiayi Li, jpl6207@psu.edu
       Office Hours: F 4:00-5:00pm on Zoom. See course Canvas page for the link.



GRADING. Learning outcomes will be assessed based on performance in each of the following categories accompanied by their impact on the overall grade:

Category Percent of Total Grade
Engagement 3%
Labs 22%
Homework/Quizzes 10%
Project 15%
Midterm Exams 30%
Final Exam 20%

Final letter grades will be determined as follows after rounding to the nearest whole number percent:
  B+: 88-89% C+: 78-79%  
A : 94-100% B : 84-87% C : 70-77% D : 60-69%
A-: 90-93% B-: 80-83%   

Engagement: Typically, this component of the grade consists of the Top Hat participation scores. However, the use of Top Hat is designed to promote active learning in class, not to force students to come to class who really do not want to be there and would prefer to learn on their own outside of class. There are several ways to earn points toward your engagement grade, which consists of a maximum of 20 points.
OPTION 1: Participate in Top Hat questions during lecture. Each non-exam class is worth 1 point. You get credit as long as you participate in most of the questions, regardless of whether or not you answer correctly.
OPTION 2: Demonstrate engagement by analyzing some of the datasets in this class beyond the course requirements. How this engagement will be demonstrated, and how far beyond the requirements one must go in order to earn engagement credit, is yet to be determined; yet the course philosophy is that an entrepreneurial spirit on the part of students will somehow be rewarded. Please contact the instructor if you have specific ideas.
OPTION 3: There may be occasional opportunities to earn engagement points through special assignments. Such opportunities will be announced if and when they arise.

Labs: Labs are Wednesdays in 112 Boucke Building. It is the labs where we will primarily address the course goal of requiring students to apply data science skills to problems derived from multiple application areas, among others of the course goals. We will use the python programming language in the labs, but we will do so in a somewhat sheltered environment and, in particular, no prior experience with coding or data analysis is assumed. Labs will entail weekly assignments that will be turned in and graded on Canvas. Late lab assignments are accepted for half credit until they are one week overdue.

Homework: There will be occasional homework assignments that will be assigned and turned in via Canvas. Late homework is accepted for half credit, until it is one week overdue.
You may collaborate on homework and labs (this is encouraged!), but we recommend trying problems on your own first to prepare you for exams. Also, the work you turn in must be your own. In other words, if you work with other people to understand concepts, then each of you is responsible for submitting his/her own unique work.

Project: The semester project provides an opportunity to combine mutliple aspects of the course material and apply them to a large dataset.

Exams: There will be two midterm exams in class and a final exam. These exams will be closed to all materials except for a non cell-phone calculator and one (Exam 1), two (Exam 2), or three (Final) single-sided 8.5 by 11 inch pages of notes. Exams are mandatory, and must be taken at the given time. Unavoidable legitimate reasons for not being able to take the exam must be submitted to and approved by the instructor at least 24 hours before the beginning of the exam. Excuses submitted less than 24 hours before the exam might not be accepted.

All Penn State and Eberly College of Science policies regarding academic integrity apply to this course. See https://science.psu.edu/current-students/integrity/policies for details. Please understand that the integrity policy also applies to Top Hat participation. In particular, participating in any engagement activity in place of another person is a violation of the policy and will result in academic sanctions that could go well beyond the total value of all engagement assignments, depending on the severity of the violation.

As the instructor for this course, I strongly endorse the Eberly College Code of Mutual Respect and Cooperation. I intend to adhere to these tenets in my dealings with students and I hope that students will reciprocate in their interations with all other students, teaching assistants, learning assistants, and me. The code may be found online at https://science.psu.edu/climate-and-diversity/code-mutual-respect-and-cooperation.

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. The Student Disability Resources (SDR) website at http://equity.psu.edu/sdr/disability-coordinator provides contact information for every Penn State campus. At University Park, the SDR office is in 116 Boucke. In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact SDR and provide documentation as explained in the guidelines at http://equity.psu.edu/sdr/guidelines.

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional wellbeing. The university offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, provided by staff who welcome all students. At University Park, Counseling and Psychological Services at University Park (CAPS) may be reached at 814-863-0395 or on the web at http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/counseling/. For emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, call the Penn State Crisis Line at 877-229-6400 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting LIONS to 741741.

Students who believe they have experienced or observed a hate crime, an act of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment that occurs at Penn State are urged to report this incident as outlined on the University's Report Bias webpage at http://equity.psu.edu/reportbias/.