Summer 2023, 1 Credit, 5-weeks

Instructor: Lars Schöbitz

Course Description

This course provides students with skills in using the collection of R tidyverse packages as a tool for data analysis, reproducible research and communication. Lectures will be delivered through participatory live coding for students to learn how to write code in code-along exercises. We will use publicly available data related to waste management, air quality, and sanitation. Students will learn how to help themselves and others to build upon the obtained skills to apply them to their data analysis projects.

Topics include:
•    Overview of qualitative and quantitative research methods and tools
•    The data science life-cycle
•    Data organization in spreadsheets
•    Exploratory data analysis using visualization
•    Concept of tidy data and data tidying
•    Data transformation and descriptive statistics
•    Data communication using the Quarto open-source scientific and technical publishing system

Learning Goals

1.    Be familiar with the most commonly used qualitative and quantitative data collection methods and tools.
2.    Be able to employ remote sensing and in-situ data, and analysis tools to illustrate the utility of solutions for water, agriculture, disaster forecasting and relief, air quality, and global health.

Textbooks and Materials

We will rely entirely on open source and open access material for this course. We will use “R for Data Science” by Hadley Wickham, and “Tidyverse Skills for Data Science” by Carrie Wright, Shannon E. Ellis, Stephanie C. Hicks and Roger D. Peng, as complementary reading and learning material for this course. Additional readings will consist of blog posts, journal articles, and reports. All required readings will be provided through Canvas.

Course Calendar

week   day   topic
1. July 5 Welcome! & Data Science Life-cycle
2. July 12  Exploratory data analysis using visualization & Data organization in spreadsheets
3. July 19   Data transformation and descriptive statistics
4. July 26 Concept of tidy data and data tidying
5. August 2  Data communication using the Quarto

Weekly Structure

Mon: Homework assignment is due
Tue:  Lecture
Wed: Feedback (grading) on assignment
Thur: Student hours on Zoom
Fri:    Learning reflections are due


Homework assignments: Each week will have at least one homework assignment. These assignments are delivered as Quarto documents with instructions and some sample code. Students are required to submit their work through Canvas. Homework assignments are graded. The scoring will be presented on Canvas.

Readings/Learning reflections: Additional readings will be provided. Some are required, others are optional. Students will be asked to write 100 word reflections on the material that they have learned. These reflections are graded. Scoring will be presented on Canvas.


We hope you can participate in all classes. Class participation is an essential component for successful completion of this course. If you have a valid reason to miss a class, we expect you to inform us before the beginning of the class.

Grading scheme

Your overall course grade will be comprised of the following components, and their weights:

•    Homework assignments: 75 percent
•    Learning reflections: 25 percent

Grades will be recorded in Canvas throughout the semester. At the end of the term, the scores on all assignments are weighted by the percentages given above to determine a semester score. Student grades will be determined as follows based on their semester score rounded to the nearest single decimal place:

Late work, extensions, and special circumstances

Due dates are set and all work is due on the stated date. This helps students to keep pace through the course and allow staff to return marks and feedback timely. Submission on the due date might not always be possible when something gets in the way. We drop the lowest score for each of the assignments or learning reflections. That means you can miss one assignment or learning reflection and still achieve maximum score.

Late work policy

Late work will be accepted up to 2 working days after the deadline with 25% penalty for each day. That is Wednesday after deadline for the homework assignments and Tuesday after deadline for the learning reflections. Work that is handed in more than two working days after the due date will be graded with 0 percent unless a documented reason for special circumstances is provided.

Special circumstances

If you have a documented reason for why you are unable to to complete an assignment in the course, the reason will be assessed at the end of the course by the course committee.

Classroom behavior

Both students and faculty are responsible for maintaining an appropriate learning environment in all instructional settings, whether in person, remote or online. Those who fail to adhere to such behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political affiliation or political philosophy. For more information, see the policies on classroom behavior and the Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution policies.

Requirements for COVID-19

As a matter of public health and safety, all members of the CU Boulder community and all visitors to campus must follow university, department and building requirements and all public health orders in place to reduce the risk of spreading infectious disease. CU Boulder currently requires COVID-19 vaccination and boosters for all faculty, staff and students. Students, faculty and staff must upload proof of vaccination and boosters or file for an exemption based on medical, ethical or moral grounds through the MyCUHealth portal.

The CU Boulder campus is currently mask-optional. However, if public health conditions change and masks are again required in classrooms, students who fail to adhere to masking requirements will be asked to leave class, and students who do not leave class when asked or who refuse to comply with these requirements will be referred to Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. For more information, see the policy on classroom behavior and the Student Code of Conduct. If you require accommodation because a disability prevents you from fulfilling these safety measures, please follow the steps in the “Accommodation for Disabilities” statement on this syllabus.

If you feel ill and think you might have COVID-19, if you have tested positive for COVID-19, or if you are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated and have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should stay home and follow the further guidance of the [Public Health Office]) ( ( If you are fully vaccinated and have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay home; rather, you should self-monitor for symptoms and follow the further guidance of the Public Health Office ( If you have a valid reason to miss a class, we expect you to inform us before the beginning of the class.

Accommodation for disabilities

If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit your accommodation letter from Disability Services to your faculty member in a timely manner so that your needs can be addressed. Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities in the academic environment. Information on requesting accommodations is located on the Disability Services website. Contact Disability Services at 303-492-8671 or for further assistance. If you have a temporary medical condition, see Temporary Medical Conditions on the Disability Services website.

Preferred student names and pronouns

CU Boulder recognizes that students’ legal information doesn’t always align with how they identify. Students may update their preferred names and pronouns via the student portal; those preferred names and pronouns are listed on instructors’ class rosters. In the absence of such updates, the name that appears on the class roster is the student’s legal name.

Honor code

All students enrolled in a University of Colorado Boulder course are responsible for knowing and adhering to the Honor Code academic integrity policy. Violations of the Honor Code may include, but are not limited to: plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, lying, bribery, threat, unauthorized access to academic materials, clicker fraud, submitting the same or similar work in more than one course without permission from all course instructors involved, and aiding academic dishonesty. All incidents of academic misconduct will be reported to the Honor Code (; 303-492-5550). Students found responsible for violating the academic integrity policy will be subject to nonacademic sanctions from the Honor Code as well as academic sanctions from the faculty member. Additional information regarding the Honor Code academic integrity policy can be found on the Honor Code website.

Sexual misconduct, discrimintation, harassment and/or related retaliation

CU Boulder is committed to fostering an inclusive and welcoming learning, working, and living environment. The university will not tolerate acts of sexual misconduct (harassment, exploitation, and assault), intimate partner violence (dating or domestic violence), stalking, or protected-class discrimination or harassment by or against members of our community. Individuals who believe they have been subject to misconduct or retaliatory actions for reporting a concern should contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) at 303-492-2127 or email Information about university policies, reporting options, and the support resources can be found on the OIEC website.
Please know that faculty and graduate instructors have a responsibility to inform OIEC when they are made aware of incidents of sexual misconduct, dating and domestic violence, stalking, discrimination, harassment and/or related retaliation, to ensure that individuals impacted receive information about their rights, support resources, and reporting options. To learn more about reporting and support options for a variety of concerns, visit Don’t Ignore It.

Religious holiday

Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to deal reasonably and fairly with all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments or required attendance. See the campus policy regarding religious observances for full details.