You must complete all the readings for the course and attend class prepared to discuss them. Your peers are counting on you to do so. If for any reason you can’t do the reading done by class, you should let me know in advance and still attend class.

Response Posts to Blackboard

7 times in the semester, you will post a short response to one or more of the readings for that day on the course website. (http://benschmidt.org/bigdata). These must be posted by 5pm the day before class meets so that your peers have time to read them. You must also write 7 responses to your peer’s posts.

By default, these posts will be on the open web: that is, anyone who wishes can read them. If you prefer, you can take advantage of the website settings to publish privately, or you can change the web settings to publish pseudonymously. If at any time after the course is over you want some or all of your posts removed, I will be happy to do so.

Archival Project

Mid-semester, we will take a trip to the university archives to look at some archival documents. Your first project will grow out of this, and involve a brief in-class presentation followed by a paper on an archival source of data from one of the many outstanding research libraries in the Boston area.


You will write one 6 to 8 page paper for this class, based on the readings; no outside research is expected.

Final Project

Final project assignments will be distributed in late October, but you should start thinking early about which one you will want. It will consist of either 1) an 8-10 page paper in which you extend one of the weeks of the course with additional readings; or 2) a digital project in which you analyze a data set created before the year 1994 using modern tools. In either case, you must discuss the project in advance with me.

Academic Integrity

You are expected to have read, and follow at all times, the University’s Academic Integrity Policy.

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