Addressing Open Challenges in Data Science Education

Addressing Open Challenges in Data Science Education

Presentation given at Smith College on April 18, 2019.

Abstract: In this talk, I will address some open challenges to data science education. Despite unprecedented and growing interest in data science education on campuses, there are few courses and course materials that provide meaningful opportunity for students to learn about real-world challenges. Most courses provide unrealistically clean data sets that fit the assumptions of the methods in an unrealistic way. The result is that students are left unable to effectively analyze data and solve real-world challenges outside of the classroom. To address this problem, I am leveraging the idea from Nolan and Speed in 1999, who argued the solution to this problem is to teach courses through in-depth case studies derived from interesting scientific questions with nontrivial solutions that leave room for different analyses of the data. I will share a set of general principles and offer a detailed guide derived from my successful experience developing and teaching graduate-level, introductory data science courses centered entirely on case studies. Furthermore, I will present the Open Case Studies educational resource of case studies that educators can use in the classroom to teach students how to effectively derive knowledge from data derived from real-world challenges.


Stephanie Hicks

April 18, 2019