Although you are not required to, you can communicate with the course TA and other students in the course via Slack. You can post questions about the homework to group channels allowing everyone to participate or you can send your questions to the TA as a direct private message. All you need is an email address to sign up. Slack is a cloud-based team collaboration platform that supports many app integrations such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Hangouts, Trello, and Skype.
We will mainly be using R and RStudio for homework assignments. Homeworks will be provided as R Markdown documents that you will need to weave into html documents.
Grades are calculated in accordance with student-oriented principles. Each student is encouraged to compete with himself/herself and not with each other. Class average is not computed. Homework scores are transformed into an integer from 3 to 5. For each assignment, a threshold for thorough understanding is computed, and each student who scores above that threshold earns a 5. Students who score above the threshold for adequate understanding earn a 4. Lower than that threshold gets you a 3. This grading scheme deemphasizes grades and reduces the need for grade grubbing. It also puts more weight on understanding the material.