Course Information


The course syllabus is available online.

Health Insurance Waivers

You may waive the requirement for enrollment in the University Student Health Insurance Program (U-SHIP) by providing proof of alternate comparable coverage. It is the responsibility of each student to apply for a health insurance waiver. Failure to waive health insurance results in automatic enrollment in U-SHIP. The waiver application requires a CNetID. The waiver application must be submitted no later than 5:00 pm CDT Friday, October 24, 2014. If no action is taken by this date, you will remain enrolled in U-SHIP for the entire academic year and will be responsible for insurance charges each quarter.

Python Prerequisite

Python is the tool of choice for many working with big data and will be used extensively in Analysis of Big Data in Federal Agencies. Students should have familiarity with the following aspects of Python before taking the class.



Basic Python core data types.

This includes the familiar SAS types: strings and numbers. Core operators for these types. Mutability and immutability.

Complex data types

Working with lists, tuples, sets, dictionaries, and none.

Working with files

Inputting and outputting files

Python Control Structures

Conditional execution and Boolean operators. Loops: including pass/ continue statements. Case sensitivity in strings.

Regular Expressions and Functions

Regex and writing functions


Calling external classes and functions, writing classes and accessing methods and attributes

Web in Python

Web crawling; using external modules

JSON and Character encoding

Read/Write JSON (this will be helpful with future API outputs since most APIs return JSON format)

Suggested Python Tutorials

Code Academy provides a good introductory tutorial to Python. Since the student writes the code into an interpreter on a webpage, it is not necessary for the student to download and install Python. The Code Academy tutorial assumes very little prior knowledge. However, it is difficult to skip sections, and for advanced students, it may be too slow.

Tutorials Point also provides a good introduction to Python for beginners. Some students may prefer to skim Tutorials Point's text tutorial rather than work through Code Academy's interactive exercises. Similarly, students could use Learn Python the Hard Way, which is written in a friendlier style, although it asks the student to purchase accompanying videos on every page.

The Google Python tutorial is appropriate for students who are already comfortable in a programming language, for example R, and want a quick introduction to Python. This tutorial has text, videos, and a few simple exercises.

Python Exercises

We have provided a set of exercises intended to give you an idea of the level of familiarity with Python you will need for the class.