Term Project Assignment
A term project is required of every student taking the course for credit. You will be posting your project on the web for the world to see, so do something that you will be proud of! Collaboration is fine, but the scope or depth of a project involving more than one student should be correspondingly larger.
Your preliminary proposal (one page). Send this by email to me by Friday, March 9 (day before Spring Break starts). The reason that we are using email, rather than the wiki, for this step is so that I can have a completely frank discussion with each person about whether I think it is a good project or not.
I will respond to each of your email during Spring Break. Ideally I'll just say "yes, good project, proceed!". In the non-ideal case, we can meet during the week immediately following Spring Break and sort things out.
Due Monday, April 9: Mid-course project report due from each student (or collaborative group), to be posted on this course wiki. (Create a page that you will add to in posting your final project.) Limited to 3 pages, this should be a detailed outline or summary of what the final project will be, and should include a bibliography of key references that are being used. It should also indicate what will be in the final report (e.g., how many pages of written discussion, how much original computer code, what data sets, etc.). This won't be graded, but it likely that its quality will have a strong correlation with the grade on the final project.
Wednesday, April 11: I'll post brief comments (hopefully helpful!) on every project posting. You should also add (helpful) comments to each other's mid-course postings. (Remember that participation is a part of the grade!)
Friday, May 4. Final written reports due as file(s) posted to the course wiki before 5:00 p.m., absolute deadline. If you have technical trouble posting any files, you can email them to me before 5:00 p.m. Or, if you have your own web site, you can put your project files there and post a message on the course web site with links.
Reports can be of any one of the following three types:
I. Prepare a lecture with written materials (slides) of comparable scope to those in one OpinionatedLectures segment, but on a topic not covered in class. The deliverable is 10 or so fairly dense PowerPoint style slides, plus any additional notes that you want to include, plus be prepared to discuss any slides briefly in your individual oral interview. You won't have to give the whole lecture! You are definitely expected to do more than summarize a single textbook. Extra credit: Record your lecture as a webcast! See here.
II. Take a data set of nontrivial size, and do "exploratory statistics" on it. That is, try to discover new things in the data that are both statistically significant and scientifically (e.g., biologically, but other fields OK) meaningful. You will need to show some understanding of both of the science behind the data set and of the statistical techniques that you try. You can get a high grade even if you don't actually discover anything new, as long as you can clearly explain what you were looking for, and why. You can also get a high grade by intentionally re-discovering things that are already known, if you approach them in an interesting way. You can find a data set on your own (colleagues, friends, or the web), or else Jeff or I can help you find something.
III. Anything else that you want to propose within the scope of the course. Be creative! Do something relevant and fun.
For examples of what students have done as projects in the last couple of years, see here and here.