Course Policies

Shared Expectations for this Class

Preparation and Pacing

This class is a broad overview of the field of Data Analytics, and foundational skills in data and programming. We will cover a lot of information during the semester, and you will have many opportunities to practice these skills, discuss ethical and philosophical aspects of data analytics with your peers, and collaborate on projects. Some of you may be entering the classroom with more advanced prior knowledge of these topics, while others may be encountering these concepts for the first time. Group learning, coding, and discussion are key aspects of this course. This means that we all need to do our part to be prepared for each class, and to foster a positive and inquisitive learning environment.

In between classes you should:

  • Review your notes from class
  • Read relevant portions of your textbook or the online readings
  • Refer to this site for updates to the syllabus
  • Leave yourself enough time to read and respond to weekly writing assignments
  • DO NOT wait until the last minute to begin your final project
  • Proofread your writing and coding assignments
  • EMAIL your instructor with any questions. Ask lots of questions!

Each class must create its own learning community as the result of shared efforts on the part of all members. It is your responsibility as a member of this learning community to help your fellow students by attending class and turning in assignments on time. If you must miss a class or turn in an assignment late, please let me know beforehand so that we may work out a way for you to make up the work. You do not need a doctor’s note or other written excuse, but please let me know if there are special circumstances that may prevent you from completing a large amount of coursework.

Attendance & Participation

Good participation should be understood as consistent and thoughtful contribution to the classroom community, an engagement with course materials and conversations, and a general responsiveness to (and respect for) one’s fellow students and instructor. This isn’t an accounting of how often you speak in class. Instead, it’s about what you offer to the intellectual life of the class, and everyone contributes to this on-going work in different ways. You won’t be directly graded on participation and attendance, but particularly because so much of the class will consist of hands-on work, you’ll get participation credit simply for attending class and doing the work with care. If you have to miss class for any reason, please let me know in advance, especially if you have to miss more than one class in a row. We’re all in this together, and I’ll do my best to make sure no one falls behind.

Team Work

In this class, we will frequently work together in pairs or larger teams to explore and solve puzzles, where data analytics skills can provide insight into interesting questions and approaches. I encourage you to approach team work with an open mind, and to be cognizant of how your actions and communication can either help everyone in the team learn, or create a negative environment that hinders learning. Team collaboration is an essential skill for data analysts, including the ability to work together with people you don’t know, or don’t get along with well. Each team member should contribute to both technical, and non-technical aspects of the project (for example, don’t designate only one person as the “note-taker”).

For each team project, an (ungraded) self and peer assessment will be provided to reflect on the group’s collaboration. In extreme cases of “free-riding” or acting unfairly or inappropriately, the individual grades of member(s) may be subject to a penalty, and they will meet with the instructor to determine an improvement plan.

Academic Honesty and Integrity

Academic honesty, the cornerstone of teaching and learning, lays the foundation for lifelong integrity. Academic dishonesty is intellectual theft. It includes, but is not limited to, providing or receiving assistance in a manner not authorized by the instructor in the creation of work to be submitted for evaluation. This standard applies to all work ranging from daily homework assignments to major exams. Students must clearly cite any sources consulted—not only for quoted phrases but also for ideas and information that are not common knowledge. Neither ignorance nor carelessness is an acceptable defense in cases of plagiarism. It is the student’s responsibility to follow the appropriate format for citations. Students should ask their instructors for assistance in determining what sorts of materials and assistance are appropriate for assignments and for guidance in citing such materials clearly.

Proposed and developed by Denison students, passed unanimously by DCGA and Denison’s faculty, the Code of Academic Integrity requires that instructors notify the Associate Provost of cases of academic dishonesty. Cases are typically heard by the Academic Integrity Board which determines whether a violation has occurred, and, if so, its severity and the sanctions. In some circumstances the case may be handled through an Administrative Resolution Procedure. Further, the code makes students responsible for promoting a culture of integrity on campus and acting in instances in which integrity is violated. For further information about the Code of Academic Integrity, see

Names and Pronouns

Everyone has the right to be addressed as they feel most comfortable. It’s hard to learn if you cringe every time I call on you or address you in communication. I will ask everyone at the beginning of the semester to tell me their preferred name, pronunciation, and the pronouns they use. I will do my very best to get it right. Please do not feel the need to change your name or pronouns to “make it easy” for me, and please correct me if I get it wrong! This policy goes for everyone – use the names and pronouns dictated by the person to whom they belong. Also, our personal growth does not always align with the semester system: If your name or pronoun changes part way through the class, please send me an update!

Class Technology

Students are required to provide their own laptops and to install free and open source software on those laptops. Support will be provided by the instructor in the installation of required software. If at any time you don’t have access to a laptop please contact the instructor and the Data Analytics Program can provide you with a loan from the laptop cart. In class, please use eduroam to connect to the internet instead of Denison Guest.

Please be respectful with your use of laptops and technology in class. I request that you only use them for class related purposes, as I and others may find them distracting (For example, no email or social media should be open in your browser tabs!). Cell phones should be kept silent and put away, and you can expect the same from me.

Important Resources for this Class and Your College Journey

Mental Health

What we do in college is not easy, on many fronts. Students are challenged with feelings of depression, anxiety, and self harm at astonishingly high rates. Learning is hard, and you will likely be challenged in college in ways that you haven’t experienced before. Learning while life is hard is even harder. Please take care of yourself. Drink water, eat well, and get more than seven hours of sleep. Have some hobbies, but don’t feel the need to do everything. If you are feeling depressed, withdrawn, anxious, like an impostor, or you are having specific problems with friends, family, grief, culture shock, etc., please seek help. There are many resources on campus, and my door and email is always open.

The Denison Health and Wellness Center offers free and confidential counseling services:

The Red Thread program provides aid to participate in co-curricular experiences and in cases of unexpected financial emergency or need. This link can tell you more about it, and other funding resources:

Denison has a campus food pantry if you need assistance. It is open to all Denison students 6-8 pm on Tuesdays in Higley 014 and you can email if you have any questions.

Disability Accommodation and Resources

Students with a documented disability who wish to request reasonable academic accommodations based on the impact of a disability should complete a Request for Academic Accommodations/Faculty Notification Form with the Academic Resource Center (ARC) located in 020 Higley Hall. It is the student’s responsibility to contact me privately as soon as possible to discuss specific needs and make logistic arrangements well in advance of an evaluation. I rely on the Academic Resource Center (ARC) to verify the need for reasonable accommodations based on the documentation on file in that office. Reasonable accommodations cannot be applied retroactively and therefore ideally should be enacted early in the semester as they are not automatically carried forward from a previous term and must be requested every semester.

Denison Library

I highly recommend that you make use of the Denison Library resources while navigating your final projects this semester. That includes not only primary literature, access to databases, and book references, but also your friendly reference librarian, Yiming Guo. He can be reached anytime at and is an excellent resource for finding information efficiently, or learning what you can access through Denison subscriptions that might not be freely available on the internet. The Denison Library homepage is

Writing Center

Staffed by student Writing Consultants, the Writing Center is a free resource available to all Denison students. Writing Consultants from many majors help writers one-on-one in all phases of the writing process, from deciphering assignments, to discussing ideas, to developing an argument, to finalizing a draft. Because proofreading is a last step in that process, you should leave plenty of time (like at least a week) for getting your ideas right before expecting proofreading help. Consultants also can help writers with personal documents, like job and internship applications. The Center welcomes student writers with all varieties of backgrounds and college preparation, including multilingual writers. Should a multilingual writer need writing assistance that exceeds the abilities of consultants, the writer can be referred to the Coordinator for Multilingual Learning. Please visit the Writing Center’s page ( on MyDenison for specific information regarding hours of availability and how to schedule an appointment.

Multilingual Support

In addition to the academic support services available to all Denison students, students who use English in addition to other languages can meet with Denison’s Coordinator of Multilingual Learning, Kalynda Thayer. If English is not your first or only language, please consider utilizing this resource, which is available to ALL Denison students. Ms. Thayer offers a variety of support for L2 students, including consulting with you about your written language (grammar, syntax, word-choices), strategies to manage your reading assignments, assistance with class conversation and presentations, and help devising ways to develop and effectively use all your skills in English. You can email her at to schedule an appointment.

A special note about writing assignments: remember that the Writing Center is a valuable resource. Writing Center Consultants welcome diversity and are prepared to work with all students. If needed, Writing Center Consultants can refer you to Denison’s Coordinator of Multilingual Learning for additional support with writing assignments.

Reporting Sexual Assault

Essays, journals, and other coursework submitted for this class are generally considered confidential pursuant to the University’s student record policies. However, students should be aware that University employees are required by University policy to report allegations of discrimination based on sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation or pregnancy to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator. This includes reporting all incidents of sexual misconduct, sexual assault and suspected abuse/neglect of a minor. Further, employees are to report these incidents that occur on campus and/or that involve students at Denison University whenever the employee becomes aware of a possible incident in the course of their employment, including via coursework or advising conversations. There are others on campus to whom you may speak in confidence, including clergy and medical staff and counselors at the Wellness Center. More information on Title IX and the University’s Policy prohibiting sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking and retaliation, including support resources, how to report, and prevention and education efforts, can be found at:

All documents provided to you (i.e. syllabus, paper prompts, tests, etc…) are the property of the instructor or author. It is a violation of intellectual property to post these online (especially to websites promoting copying/cheating) or to provide them to students not in our class or in future classes. Your papers are your property, and while you can do with them as you wish, it may be a violation of academic integrity to make them available to others who might use them for plagiarism. Basically, keep course materials and your work to yourself except in the process of editing and peer review.

Inclusion and Diversity in Data Analytics

This course is open to anyone interested in Data Analytics. It is my intent to make all students feel welcome and served in this course by addressing their learning needs. We all (including myself) are continuously learning about different lived experiences and in this course we will encounter anti-racist pedagogy and confront inequities in how data is collected and used. In this course, if you encounter anything said (intentionally or unintentionally) that made you feel uncomfortable, please talk to me about it. If your learning is impacted by your background, or any life event going outside of class, feel free to talk to me. Even if you choose not to share details, I would be happy to direct you to the right resources on campus.

This semester we will address topics which may be emotionally difficult. I acknowledge that each of you has their own specific life history, family context, identity, body—and that these realities have an impact on how you understand and interact with our course materials. Therefore, I ask you to generally familiarize yourself with the content of our discussions ahead of time, and if for any reason you believe you will be unable to participate in a discussion of certain themes or elements, please contact me beforehand and/or seek the support of any of the formal or informal resources available to you on campus, some of which are included in this syllabus. I look forward to creating a safe learning environment together this semester!

The Quantitative GE Requirement

The goal of the quantitative reasoning requirement is to develop the skills of all students in the descriptive, analytical, and predictive aspects of quantitative reasoning. A course fulfilling this requirement must utilize numerical quantities and employ, as an integral and sustained part of the course, at least one of the following forms of quantitative reasoning.

  1. the application of mathematical models to describe or predict the behavior of systems, and the design, construction, and interpretation of graphical representations of mathematical models.
  2. the utilization, numerical analysis, and interpretation of the significance and limitations of data to answer questions, test hypotheses, or solve problems, and the design, construction, and interpretation of graphical representations of numerical data.