Changes to Course Schedule and Due Dates for COMP 300/400 Data Mining

 

Several notes have come out of the provost’s office during the past week, due to the situation with the COVID-19 virus.  While this course is designed to be delivered online, there are additional circumstances that do require changing our schedule and our due dates.  Of course, of primary concern is that I am committed to continuing our online sessions, team meetings and my online availability, and I am determined that you will complete the course with a solid foundation in Data Mining.  However, it is equally important that this is done in a way that is fair to all students.  Given the unusual circumstances, there are several factors that must be considered.  The provost’s office has declared there can be no exams or assignments due until after March 23; therefore I have changed some of the scheduled due dates.  In addition, there are quite a few students in this course who are in the process of moving out of the dorms and can’t study for exams or work on homework, which may further negatively impact their grades; therefore, I have cancelled the midterm and revised some of the project “interim” assignments.  I have discussed these changes with our department chair, Professor Sekharan, who has concurred that I should implement the changes that I feel are fair and beneficial for our students, while still maintaining the academic standards that we need to cover the material in this course.  I have summarized the changes below, update syllabus, and updated our Sakai site weekly pages and assignment due dates.

 

Changes in course components:

       The midterm exam, originally scheduled for 3/18, is cancelled.  The midterm exam is comprehensive and fairly difficult.  3/18 is before the withdrawal deadline, and I had planned to have your scores posted before the deadline, for students to have that information in time to make a decision about whether to drop the course.  However, our next class, which would be 3/25, is after the withdrawal deadline.  I think it is very unfair to students to give you an exam that could significantly lower your grade when it is too late for you to make a withdrawal decision.  Clearly, it would be better to have the exam, but we have a very major lab (and several short labs) coming up, as well as the project, which is a culminating application of what we have learned.  I believe that this is the most fair approach, given that there are circumstances that will truly prevent students from adequately preparing for the midterm.

       This also means that the course is now worth 750 points.  Grades will be calculated as before, with 93% of the course equals an A; 90% equals an A- and so forth.

       The Project Proposal, originally due on 3/25,  will now be zoom meetings. Instead of a formal proposal, we will have mandatory project zoom meetings that week, so that I can make sure that all teams are progressing with their projects or at least have a reasonable plan for progress. This way, teams can get immediate feedback from me, and this will hopefully expedite your project progress. Teams will get credit for the Project Proposal if they can demonstrate a solid plan with some work completed.  Meetings will be held between 3/22 and 3/31.  A signup sheet will be distributed shortly.

 

Changes to the course schedule (also updated in the syllabus):

       On 3/18, instead of the midterm, I will hold an online zoom class covering the second Classification Lecture, which includes Chapter 9.  This was originally scheduled for 3/25.  There are already videos for this lecture, on both box.com and on youtube. So if anyone is overwhelmed from moving or other chaotic changes, you have the videos available at your convenience, and the labs and homework are still at their original (later) dates.

       The week of 3/25 is now for project work.  Instead of a lecture, all teams are required to sign up for zoom meetings with me.  Even if your project is humming along and you have no problems at all, you will still have to check in with me. If you really think you don’t need a zoom meeting, email me and we’ll discuss it.  Sign up dates will be between 3/22 and 4/01.  I am requesting that teams that are able to sign up for earlier dates do so, and that we try and be considerate of those students who really need the extra time due to unusual circumstances such as moving, and allow them to have the later dates.  If you need a later date, please be sure to sign up early.  (I have 94 students this semester, and now have zoom meetings with all of the teams in the all of the classes, so please be sure to sign up!!!!!)

       The week of 4/01 is still the Affinity Marketing Lab.  There is no formal lecture, but this lab is much more heavy-duty than the text mining labs.  It comes with documentation, extensive videos, multiple steps, and there are no shortcuts.  However, I have extended the due date from 4/01 to 4/08, as some teams will still be working on their project zoom meeting preparation until 4/01.  DO. NOT. WAIT. UNTIL. THE. LAST. MINUTE.  This lab cannot be completed in just a couple of days.  Further, since other assignments have had their due dates postponed, you will run into a serious crunch if you wait until the last minute.

       4/08:  As per the original syllabus:  no online lecture, as we are focusing on the projects, and you be completing Affiinity Marketing, which his now due on 4/08.  Do NOT wait to work on Affinity Marketing to the last minute!!!  I would like this completed before Easter break, so that you will have 3 full weeks to seriously focus on your projects!!

       4/15:  As per the original syllabus:  no online lecture.  Optional zoom meetings.  Project work, and I am available for team meetings, questions, over zoom.

       4/22: As per the original schedule.  No online lecture, but zoom office hours, questions, team meetings, etc.

       4/29: As per the original schedule, project presentations (videos or zoom) due.

 

Changes to due dates:

       3/29:  The due date for Classification labs that were originally due on 3/14 are now due on 3/29.  Most of you have already completed those labs, as we went through them during class time.  Those of you who were unable to do so have some extra time.

       3/29:  The due date for the KNN and NN-CTS Classification labs that were originally due on 3/29 are still due on 3/29.

       3/29:  The due date for Homework, Chapter 8, originally due on 3/25 is now due on 3/29.  This means that you will be working on Classification lectures, labs, homework Ch. 8  at the same time.  Hopefully, this will help consolidate your knowledge and make it easier to complete the work.

       3/22- 3/31:  Project “proposal” zoom meetings must be completed by 3/31.  Priority for the later dates will be given to students who have had to move or have other unusual circumstances due to the COVID-19 emergency.

       4/01: Chapter 9, homework is due

       4/08:  Affinity Marketing Lab is due

       4/18:  Project Progress Report is due

       4/19:  Labs, DMM:  K-Means, Clustering, due

       4/29:  Presentations and HW Chapter 10