Course Policies


  1. Email address:
  • Use the following subject: “[STA 235] Your subject” You can email me directly with individual questions related to the course administration, for example, about learning accommodations or a conflict with a religious holiday. For specific questions about an assignment, I recommend you copy a TA as well in your email. TAs can provide specific responses to assignment questions, but you should email me directly if there are any issues related to re-grading or extensions, for example.

    I will usually respond within one business day, but sometimes it might take me two. If you haven’t heard back from me, please send me another email (and include the course number in the subject line!). If you send general questions about course content or assignments to a TA or me, we will likely respond to suggest that you post the question on Piazza.

  • Style Guide: It is important to be courteous in a professional environment, both in university and on the labor market. This might be redundant to many of you, but I have found it helps to highlight some of these points to avoid potential issues (and make a good impression in your professional life!):

    • Always use an appropriate greeting in your emails (e.g. “Hey,” it’s probably not the greeting you want to use unless your addressing a close friend, while “Hi Professor Bennett,” is an adequate greeting).
    • Be succinct while addressing the purpose of the email, but include all relevant information. If it’s the first time you are emailing someone, the Iñigo Montoya introduction structure is usually a good idea.
    • Sign your emails with an appropriate goodbye and your name.
  1. Piazza Discussion board, accessible via this link and/or the left menu link on our Canvas home page. If you have a question about content covered in a class session or assigned reading, about instructions for a homework assignment, about the intuition behind a knowledge check question, about R, or something similar: post your question on Piazza. If you have a question, it is likely that other students are wondering the same thing. Piazza is monitored regularly by the TAs and instructor and will often be the fastest way to get help. Students are also able to post responses to peers’ questions and we encourage you to do so. We also encourage you to post links to interesting articles related to data science or useful R videos you found on YouTube. Using the Piazza discussion board is a great way to tap into the collective intelligence of all participants in this class: students, TAs, and professors. Do not send messages via Canvas to individual instructors or TAs. Use our email addresses or post on Piazza instead for a timely response.


In addition to the general UT policies regarding academic integrity that are described below (and in the UT Course Catalogue), this course has a few other specific policies.

  • You are encouraged to form study groups. Collaboration is key for learning! However, you are not allowed to copy directly from another student or let someone else copy from you. This means that you cannot pool submissions and divide homework questions between a group. You are responsible for your entire work.

  • These same rules apply to R code. You are encouraged to discuss potential problems, but you need to write your own R code. In any case where we suspect cheating, we will compare both R scripts and homework write-ups, and all students involved will receive an F in this course and be referred to the Dean’s office for further disciplinary proceedings (and further potential academic consequences).

  • To avoid any potential conflicts, please do not share your files with another student. This is also considered cheating and you will be subject to the same disciplinary actions stated above.

  • All students in this course assume responsibility for abiding by these policies. If you are unsure about whether a specific type of collaboration crosses the line into copying, then just ask us.

  • Also remember to use references and give credit were credit is due. If you are taking an idea from one of the readings, a book, or an online resource, please cite the work appropriately. Plagiarism from other sources (not just other students) will also be penalized.


It is very important to me that a respectful environment is fostered in this class, and that also includes referring to everyone by their preferred name and pronouns (and also pronouncing those names correctly!). Instructors are provided class rosters that only include your legal name, so I will send out an additional survey collecting both preferred names and pronouns.

Canvas now also allows for students to record their name pronunciation. This would be very helpful if you feel your name is often mispronounced!

For written interactions, if your preferred name does not match your legal name, please include it in your chat question/comment or your email. For example, in the classroom chat, if your name is Peter and you would like to be referred to as “Pete”, include it in parenthesis as following:

“Peter Smith: (Pete) I had a question about that last topic.”

University Policies


Each student in the course is expected to abide by the University of Texas Honor Code: “As a student of The University of Texas at Austin, I shall abide by the core values of the University and uphold academic integrity.” Academic dishonesty and plagiarism are taken very seriously at UT. If you use words or ideas that are not your own (or that you have used in previous classes) in your homework write-ups, you must cite your sources. Otherwise you will be guilty of plagiarism and subject to academic disciplinary action, including failure of the course. You are responsible for understanding UT’s Academic Honesty and the University Honor Code which can be found at the following web address:


If you want to drop a class after the 12th class day, you’ll need to execute a Q drop before the Q-drop deadline, which typically occurs near the middle of the semester. Under Texas law, you are only allowed six Q drops while you are in college at any public Texas institution. For more information, see:


No materials used in this class, including, but not limited to, lecture hand-outs, videos, assessments (quizzes, exams, papers, projects, homework assignments), in-class materials, review sheets, and additional problem sets, may be shared online or with anyone outside of the class unless you have my explicit, written permission. Unauthorized sharing of materials promotes cheating. It is a violation of the University’s Student Honor Code and an act of academic dishonesty. We are well aware of the sites used for sharing materials, and any materials found online that are associated with you, or any suspected unauthorized sharing of materials, will be reported to Student Conduct and Academic Integrity in the Office of the Dean of Students. These reports can result in sanctions, including failure in the course.


Class recordings are reserved only for students in this class for educational purposes and are protected under FERPA. The recordings should not be shared outside the class in any form. Violation of this restriction by a student could lead to Student Misconduct proceedings.

University Resources for Students


This class respects and welcomes students of all backgrounds, identities, and abilities. If there are circumstances that make our learning environment and activities difficult, if you have medical information that you need to share with me, or if you need specific arrangements in case the building needs to be evacuated, please let me know. I am committed to creating an effective learning environment for all students, but I can only do so if you discuss your needs with me as early as possible. I promise to maintain the confidentiality of these discussions. If appropriate, also contact Services for Students with Disabilities, 512-471-6259 (voice) or 1-866-329- 3986 (video phone).


Do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle this semester by eating well, exercising, avoiding drugs and alcohol, getting enough sleep and taking some time to relax. This will help you achieve your goals and cope with stress.

All of us benefit from support during times of struggle. You are not alone. There are many helpful resources available on campus and an important part of the college experience is learning how to ask for help. Asking for support sooner rather than later is often helpful.

If you or anyone you know experiences any academic stress, difficult life events, or feelings like anxiety or depression, we strongly encourage you to seek support.


Did you know that more than one-third of UT undergraduate students use the Sanger Learning Center each year to improve their academic performance? All students are welcome to take advantage of Sanger Center’s classes and workshops, private learning specialist appointments, peer academic coaching, and tutoring for more than 70 courses in 15 different subject areas. For more information, please visit or call 512-471-3614 (JES A332).






If you have concerns about the safety or behavior of fellow students, TAs or Professors, call BCAL (the Behavior Concerns Advice Line): 512-232-5050. Your call can be anonymous. If something doesn’t feel right – it probably isn’t. Trust your instincts and share your concerns. TITLE IX REPORTING Title IX is a federal law that protects against sex and gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, dating/domestic violence and stalking at federally funded educational institutions. UT Austin is committed to fostering a learning and working environment free from discrimination in all its forms. When sexual misconduct occurs in our community, the university can:

  1. Intervene to prevent harmful behavior from continuing or escalating.
  2. Provide support and remedies to students and employees who have experienced harm or have become involved in a Title IX investigation.
  3. Investigate and discipline violations of the university’s relevant policies. Faculty members and certain staff members are considered “Responsible Employees” or “Mandatory Reporters,” which means that they are required to report violations of Title IX to the Title IX Coordinator. All instructors and TAs in this course are Responsible Employees and must report any Title IX related incidents that are disclosed in writing, discussion, or one-on-one. Before talking with any faculty or staff member about a Title IX related incident, be sure to ask whether they are a responsible employee. If you want to speak with someone for support or remedies without making an official report to the university, email For more information about reporting options and resources, visit or contact the Title IX Office at


The following recommendations regarding emergency evacuation are from the Office of Campus Safety and Security, 512-471-5767, If you are attending class virtually from an on-campus location, these guidelines may help you in case of emergency.

Occupants of buildings on The University of Texas at Austin campus are required to evacuate buildings when a fire alarm is activated. Alarm activation or announcement requires exiting and assembling outside.

• Familiarize yourself with all exit doors of each classroom and building you may occupy. Remember that the nearest exit door may not be the one you used when entering the building. • Students requiring assistance in evacuation shall inform their instructor in writing during the first week of class. • In the event of an evacuation, follow the instruction of faculty or class instructors. Do not re-enter a building unless given instructions by the following: Austin Fire Department, The University of Texas at Austin Police Department, or Fire Prevention Services office. • Information regarding emergency evacuation routes and emergency procedures can be found at this link:

© Magdalena Bennett - licensed under Creative Commons.