Data Science for Studying Language and the Mind
Fall 2021 Syllabus
Mon & Wed 10:15-11:15am MOOR 216
The course is full! Join the waitlist!
Dr. Kathryn Schuler - Office Hours Mondays 11:15 - 12:15 on Zoom
Dr. Colin Twomey - Office Hours Wednesdays 11:15 - 12:15 on zoom
June Choe - Office Hours Tuesdays 4 - 5pm on zoom
Nikhil Avadhani - Office Hours Tuesdays 2:15 - 3:15pm in person (PCPSE building)
Sophie Faircloth - Office Hours Thursdays 1 - 2pm in person (Fisher-Bennett)
Salam Karadsheh - Office Hours Thursdays 6 - 7pm on zoom
Kevin Liang - Office Hours Fridays 1 - 2pm in person (DRL)
Ed Disucssion: The best way to get help anytime is to ask a question on the discussion board. You’ll get a response within 24 hours, usually much faster. Students are encouraged to answer each other’s questions as well.
Office Hours: The best way to get help one-on-one is to attend virtual office hours on zoom.
Welcome to Data Science for studying Language and the Mind! Data Sci for Lang & Mind is an entry-level course designed to teach basic principles of data science to students with little or no background in statistics or computer science. Students will learn to identify patterns in data using visualizations and descriptive statistics; make predictions from data using machine learning and optimization; and quantify the certainty of their predictions using statistical models. This course aims to help students build a foundation of critical thinking and computational skills that will allow them to work with data in all fields related to the study of the mind (e.g. linguistics, psychology, philosophy, cognitive science, neuroscience).
This is an introductory course and no specific background is assumed or required. Freshmen are very welcome!
- Course website (you are here) for schedule, policies, and links to all assigned materials
- Canvas site for announcements and grade related things
- Perusall for reading assignments (access code released at first class meeting), most of which come from R for Data Science (in case you prefer a paper copy).
- Ed Discussion for online discussion and support
- Exams (90%) - There are four exams, but the lowest exam score is dropped.
- Data journal (10%) - Practice your skills by applying what you’ve learned to (at least) four data sets of your choosing. More details will be provided as the deadline approaches
- Note that lab problem sets are ungraded. They are designed to help you practice your new skills in a low-pressure environment and to help you prepare for the exams!
Schedule is subject to change. All lectures will be recorded and posted here a few minutes after each class.
How to do well in LING172
- Keep up with lecture material by attending in person or watching online
- Try the practice problem sets
- Get help with problem sets during lab or virtual office hours
- Attendance: There is no formal attendance policy, but keeping up with the material is highly correlated with class performance. Make plans to attend in person or watch the lectures online (alone or with a small group).
- Exam deadlines: Exams are due on Friday at midnight of the week they are scheduled. Exams have. a 3-day grace period, which means they will be accepted without penalty through Monday at midnight.
- Rescheduling or make-up exams: Because we drop your lowest exam, we do not offer retakes or make-up exams. But please contact us if something extreme happens - a family or medical emergency, for example - and we can discuss some options.
- Late assignments: Late data journals will be accepted without penalty through the last day of class (Dec 10th).
- Re-grade requests: If you notice a grading error, we’d be happy to look at your exam again. To request a re-grade, please fill out the re-grade request form via canvas within one week of receiving your graded exam or assignment. This class is really big, so we need a way to formally keep track of these things. If you ask about grading in person or via email, you’ll be directed to make a formal request via the regrade request form.
- Accommodations: We are happy to provide accommodations to anyone with documentation from Student Disability Services and to make alternate arrangements when class conflicts with a religious holiday. Please notify your lab section TA as soon as possible to make these arrangements.
- Academic Integrity: We will follow the rules of the University and the Code of Academic Integrity. It is your responsibility to be familiar with these policies.
- Support: Asking for help is a sign of strength! We hope you’ll reach out to us if you need help. We also want you to be aware of Penn’s Academic & Wellness Resources
The table below shows the minimum score before rounding for letter grades. Grading in this course is not on a curve: there is room for everyone to do well!
I am not comfortable coming to the 80 person lecture in person due to COVID. Can I watch the lectures online instead?
Yes, of course! We know many students won’t feel comfortable in an enclosed space with this many people just yet. All lectures will be recorded and posted here a few minutes after class. You can watch on your own, or form a small group of peers to watch together if you are more comfortable.
Can I skip the fourth exam if I am happy with my grade on the first three?
Yes! You can skip the fourth exam and it will be dropped. Your grade will be based on the first three exams.
If I miss lab can I come to another recitation section that week?
Sure! You can join any lab session that will work for your schedule. But keep in mind that the rooms are small so it’s best to email the section TA to let them know.
I am not comfortable attending lab in person. What should I do?
We expect labs to have around 15-20 people each week, so they will be much smaller than lecture. If you still don’t feel comfortable, we recommend trying the problem sets on your own, and then attending virtual office hours to get help. You can also ask questions on Ed Discussion as you are working through them.
I noticed a mistake in the grading of my exam. How do I get this fixed?
We will look at your exam again if you make a formal re-grade request via Canvas within one week of getting your exam back.
I missed or failed an exam. What can I do to make it up?
Nothing. We don’t allow make-up exams or retakes. However, we drop your lowest exam score, so you can still do well in the class. Just make sure it doesn’t happen more than once!
Can I turn in my data journal late?
Yep! Data journals will be accepted without penalty through the last day of class (Dec 10th).
I missed class, how can I catch up?
All of the lectures will be automatically recorded and posted to canvas a few minutes after class ends. You can watch the lectures when you are ready. We also recommend attending office hours and lab sections to make sure you don’t fall behind.
I do not feel well, tested positive for COVID, and/or need to quarantine. What should I do?
Please don’t come to class if you are unwell or under quarantine. Follow the steps in the question above (under “I missed class”) to catch up. If you miss a lab, you can try the problem sets on your own and schedule a virtual office hours to catch up. If you will miss an exam for this reason, let us know and we will work with you.
What will happen if one of the instructors or TAs does not feel well, tests positive, and/or needs to quarantine?
We will teach the course remotely if we need to, or fill in for each other if we can. We have a large teaching team, so this shouldn’t be an issue.