Fall 2017 Data Science Modules

data science modules

Enabling instructors to offer explorations into data science

Data science modules are short explorations into data science that give students the opportunity to work hands-on with a data set relevant to their course and receive some instruction on the principles of data analysis, statistics, and computing.

With help from the Data Science module development team, a module can be designed and taught in an existing course from any discipline or field.

What does a module actually look like?

Modules vary widely and are customized based on each instructor’s objectives and the type of course. A module might be simply one or two lectures about how to interpret data and statistics in news media reports, or it might be a multiple-session research workshop for students working on a data-centered project.

A module may also include a short introduction to programming. The development team can help instructors prepare to teach the module, and sometimes they can lab-assist in the classroom, too. Learn more by reading a recent article about modules.

What are the benefits of adding a data science module to a course?

Modules are a great way for students to have a smooth and supported introduction to computing, statistics, and the tools used in data science, which are increasingly relevant across academic disciplines.

Modules empower students to do their own research and pose their own questions using data and enable instructors to apply a new lens to their area of expertise.

What kinds of technology and tools are involved?

Students in modules learn to use the Python programming language and complete assignments in Jupyter notebooks, both gold-standard data science tools that are used in the Data Science Education Program. Instructors can share data with students, assign homework and write instructions in the cloud-based notebook (no software installation required), and then ask for students’ interpretation of the results, all within the same tool.

Who can help me with creating a data science module?

Instructors interested in adding a data science module to their courses can fill out this request form. Experienced student teams, which include undergraduate and graduate students as well as D-Lab instructional staff and Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS) fellows, meet with instructors to help them build a lesson for a current or future class, tailoring the module to the instructor’s teaching and research objectives.

What kind of technical skills do instructors need in order to offer a module?

None! Instructors need only be open to learning new methods and tools. The goal is for instructors to work closely with the development team so that they can teach the modules themselves in the classroom, but development team members will be available in class for assistance.

For more information on modules, please send an email to dspi@berkeley.edu or contact Professor Cathryn Carson.