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DSCI 591: Capstone Project (2019)

Tuesday, April 23 -- Thursday, June 27, 2019

A mentored group project based on real data and questions from a partner within or outside the university. Students will formulate questions and design and execute a suitable analysis plan. The group will work collaboratively to produce a final product(s) to deliver to the capstone partner.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Identify an interesting data science question for which data are available or obtainable.
  2. Define the scope of a possible solution, identify units of work (deliverables), and estimate the effort required.
  3. Design and implement a solution to a problem in data science that can be completed within 6 weeks.
  4. Function effectively in teams: communicate productively between team members, identify sub-problems that could be worked on individually by team members, and integrate contributions of team members into a final product.
  5. Document and present (using written, oral, and visual means) the process and results from a solution to a data science problem.
  6. Evaluate or assess a solution to a data science problem, and compare it with alternative approaches.

Organization of the Course

The general steps involved in this capstone course are:

  1. After the Capstone fair, you will rate/rank the project proposals. You will then be assigned to a project/team. These assignments will be based mainly on the ratings but the instructors may influence the assignments in order to create teams that we think will work together effectively.
  2. Meet with your MDS mentor and the Capstone partner (before the course start date). Establish regular meetings.
  3. Propose the data product and approach. (~2 weeks)
    1. Work with your team, colleagues, and mentors to develop an approach in a 2-day hackathon.
    2. Orally present the proposal at UBC, to solicit ideas and feedback.
    3. Write the proposal. This will be passed to the capstone partner to check that your approach and (mostly) your proposed product is indeed in line with the capstone partner's needs.
  4. Develop the data product (~6 weeks). This involves:
    • Regular meetings with the mentor.
    • Regular meetings with the mentor and capstone partner.
  5. Polish the data product for delivery to your capstone partner (~2 weeks).
    1. Present your final data product and approach to the class.
    2. Deliver the data product after incorporating feedback from mentors and colleagues, along with a final report.
    3. Briefly present your product(s) in an end-of-program celebration (not graded).
  6. Reflect on the project in a short individual report.


The deliverables are listed below:

Topic Submission Due date Weight
Proposal presentation Group Friday April 26, 2019 2-4pm 5%
Proposal report Group Tuesday April 30, 2019 12:00 -- to mentor

Friday May 3, 2019 12:00 -- To partner

Final presentation Group Monday and Tuesday (June 17-18, 2019) 20%
Final report Group Friday June 21, 2019 18:00 -- To mentor

Wednesday June 26, 2019 18:00 -- To partner

Data product Group Wednesday June 26, 2019 18:00 -- To mentor

Wednesday June 26, 2019 18:00 -- To partner

Teamwork Individual Thursday June 27, 2019 12:00 noon 20%
End-of-year presentation Your choice Thursday June 27, 2019 at the end-of-program celebration N/A

For more information on each deliverable, see the descriptions in the deliverables directory.

Scheduled events on UBC campus

Date Event Location
Tuesday-Wednesday April 23-24, 2019 Hackathon ORCH 3018 and ORCH 3074
Friday April 26, 2019 from 2-4 pm Proposal Presentations ORCH 4018 and 3074
Fridays from 2-4 pm Capstone Seminar Series DMP 301
Monday-Tuesday June 17-18, 2019 from 9am - 3pm Final Presentations DMP 301 (Monday) and ORCH 4074 (Tuesday)
Thursday June 27, 2019, 5:30pm - 7:30pm End-of-program celebration and mini-presentations ESB atrium


The regular policies hold during the capstone course. Especially pertinent is the expectation that you work on the capstone project full time.



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