The course content is organized in three units:

Unit 1 - Exploring data: This unit focuses on data visualiation and data wranling. Specifically we cover fundamentals of data and data visualization, confounding variables, and Simpson’s paradox as well as the concept of tidy data, data import, data cleaning, and data curation. We end the unit with web scraping and introduce the idea of iteration in preparation for the next unit. Also in this unit students are introduced to the toolkit: R, RStudio, R Markdown, Git, GitHub, etc.

Unit 2 - Making rigorous conclusions: In this part we introduce modeling and statistical inference for making data based conclusions. We discuss building, interpreting, and selecting models, visualizing interaction effects, and prediction and model validity. Statistical inference is introduced from a simulation based perspective, and the Central Limit Theorem is discussed very briefly to lay the foundation for future coursework in statistics.

Unit 3 - Looking forward: In the last unit we present a series of modules such as interactive reporting and visualizaiton with Shiny, text analysis, and Bayesian inference. These are independent modules that instructors can choose to include in their introductory data science curriculum depending on how much time they have left in the semester.

The table below outlines a sample course schedule developed for a 15-week long semester course that meets twice a week for lecture and once a week for a computing lab.

Session Topic
1 Welcome to Data Science
2 Meet the toolkit
3 Data and visualization
4 Tidy data and data wrangling
5 Tips for effective data visualization
6 Merge conflict+ Tips for effective data visualization in R
7 Confounding variables and Simpson’s paradox
8 Coding style + Data types + Recoding variables
9 Review + recap
10 Web scraping
11 Functions and automation
12 The language of models
13 Formalizing linear models
14 Work on project proposals
15 Modeling nonlinear relations + Introducing multiple predictors
16 Multiple linear regression + Model selection
17 Prediction and model validation
18 Estimation via bootstrapping
19 Hypothesis testing via simulation methods
20 Review + recap
21 Central limit theorem
22 Inference for regression
23 Inference overview
24 Text analysis
25 Interactive data visualization and reporting with dashboards
26 Interactive data visualization and reporting with Shiny
27 Bayesian inference
28 Final project presentations