How can we effectively and efficiently teach data science to students with little to no background in computing and statistical thinking? How can we equip them with the skills and tools for reasoning with various types of data and leave them wanting to learn more? This introductory data science course is our (working) answer to this question.
The core content of the course focuses on data acquisition and wrangling, exploratory data analysis, data visualization, inference, modeling, and effective communication of results. Time permitting, the course also introduces additional concepts and tools like interactive visualization and reporting, text analysis, and Bayesian inference. A heavy emphasis is placed on a consitent syntax (with tools from the tidyverse), reproducibility (with R Markdown), and version control and collaboration (with Git and GitHub). In addition, out-of-class learning is supplemented with interactive tutorials. The goal of the course is to bring students from zero to being able to work in a team on a fully reproducible data science project analyzing a dataset of their choice and answering questions they care about.
Data Science in a Box contains the materials required to teach (or learn from) the course described above, all of which are freely-available and open-source. They include course materials such as slide decks, homework assignments, guided labs, sample exams, a final project assignment, as well as materials for instructors such as pedagogical tips, information on computing infrastructure, technology stack, and course logistics.