Overview

This course pulls many of the diverse capabilities developed throughout the other courses in the data science degree or statistics emphasis together to give students a complete skill set in and a better understanding of data and analytics consulting.

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to work in a team to solve data-driven projects which use client specific data and use cases.

Course Mission Statement

Apply a team-based project consulting process to answer client driven questions with the use of modeling methods on large complex data in varied domains.

Course Outcomes

As a successful team member, you will be able to

  1. Apply modeling methods from statistics and/or machine learning to specific business and/or science problems.
  2. Understand how to work in teams to complete large and complex tasks.
  3. Articulate the ethical considerations that need to be made as the data expert.
  4. Implement the ability to learn new methods and domains through research beyond class provided materials.
  5. Develop written and oral communication skills needed to discuss technical, analytical content with others outside of their domain.

This course follows these principles of teaching Data Science1

  • Organize the course around a set of diverse case studies
  • Integrate computing into every aspect of the course
  • Teach abstraction, but minimize reliance on mathematical notation
  • Structure course activities to realistically mimic a data scientist’s experience
  • Demonstrate the importance of critical thinking/skepticism through examples

Competency Assumptions

We expect that you have a background in statistical modelling or machine learning and previous experience with data analysis through visualization or experimentation.

Weekly Format

We will meet for team meetings three hours a week. Material for class periods where content beyond the projects are described is found on the class meeting page.

Preparation

In my experience, getting lectured training outside of college is even more expensive than it is in college. A week’s worth of training can cost more than a semester of school here at BYUI.2 Due to this expense, learning how to digest material that is online and get up to speed on a topic before going to the expert for questions is a valuable skill to develop.

Meeting Time

The time we meet together should be considered a team meeting as if we were working at a company. You are expected to come prepared and contribute to the team meeting. If this expectation is not met in the real world, you are pushed off of projects. In this class, it will affect your performance, your team performance, and our perception of your work.

Each team meeting that you miss without a great excuse will cost your total hours worked 4 hours

Grading

Grading is a nasty side effect of mass learning and academia. We are in a class at a university and will have to manage this side effect. However, we don’t have to let it control our learning, thinking, or this class. Learning and thinking should motivate each decision.

Specifications Grading

As we team, teacher and student, we have the challenge to become more in three months! If your work meets the specified criteria, you will get full credit and only then (there is no partial credit on tasks).

You will be responsible for working with your team to build out tasks and objectives. As your group decides on a path forward, each member of the team will take on tasks. It is your responsibility to track these tasks and their completion date. You can use any tool your group prefers to monitor the work. We will discuss some ideas and tools for this in class during the first week.

Semester Deliverables

You will be responsible for delivering the following. All of these items should be submitted electronically.

  1. Growth cover letter
    1. a few sentences about your team members. They will not see this text.
    2. key ideas and benefits from this class. Went well? Could be better?
    3. a summary of your total hours and your final grade request. You need to submit your hours weekly
  2. Current resume with the skills developed in the class included as an employment item.
  3. A 300 words or less explanation of the specialty area you studied related to your project.
  4. A paper on the ethics of data analysis (no more than 750 words).
  5. A submitted task form (at week 7) and a completed task form (at week 14).

Each team will be responsible for presenting their project at one of the following

  1. The research and creative works conference.
  2. A client that could use their tools.

Project Task Deliverables & Hours

Hours

I have found that skill is gained by putting in time. We are trying to grow in skill and ability not pass tests. To improve at our stage in life, we need to learn to read well. At this point in our learning path, we are reading material that may take multiple reads to gain the understanding we need. Solving hard problems takes time and focus.

You will need to put in an average of 9 hours a week into this class (including class time) to obtain an A.

Project Tasks

Over the first two weeks, your team will settle into a client-driven project. By the end of week 5, you will need to keep track of your tasks to meet your group’s deliverables. Your ability to scope tasks and finish tasks on time will be crucial in your demonstration of competency in this class.

Competency Scale

Note that class time counts in the total hours. Missing class without a great excuse will subtract from your total hours by 4 hours. You can’t work in a team without participating heavily with the team.

Hours
  • A: Complete at least 117 hours of work with at least 80 project hours
  • A-: Complete at least 108 hours of work with at least 75 project hours
  • B+: Complete at least 95 hours of work with at least 65 project hours
  • B: Complete at least 90 hours of work with at least 60 project hours
  • B-: Complete at least 80 hours of work with at least 60 project hours
  • C: Complete at least 65 hours of work with at least 45 project hours
  • D: Complete at least 45 hours of work on material and projects in this course
  • F: Anything else
Deliverables

Your team must complete the deliverables of your project. The deliverables should be reasonably clear by week 5 of the semester. By week 6, your team and I will agree on what the final deliverable will be for the client. A team that does not meet their final deliverables can have their grades earned from hours reduced by 1-3 steps. That is, an A could be changed to B (three steps).

At the end of the semester during your exit interview I will ask the following two questions;

  1. Who was the person on your team that made the most significant impact on the deliverables of your project?
  2. What elements of the final deliverables would not exist if you weren’t on the team?

It is expected that your contribution to the project made a difference. If it becomes clear that your signature is not left on the project during your exit interview, then your hours earned grade above may be reduced by 1-3 steps.

Goals

After reviewing the material above, please make a list of learning goals you have based on this class. I would enjoy talking with you about those goals in the first few weeks of the semester. I look forward to working with you this semester.

Additional Disclaimers

Our class will uphold the following as well.


  1. https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1612/1612.07140.pdf↩︎

  2. Additionally, textbooks often are not available when needed or too expensive to get your employer to purchase every time you want one.↩︎