By Aisha Tepede

The continued growth of the Data for Social Good (DSG) movement provides an opportunity to increase student motivation and persistence within courses and degrees in data science. To help accelerate faculty use of data for good projects in courses, the Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub (MBDH) is hosting a free workshop in partnership with Trinity Christian College on June 2–3 near Chicago. Some travel support is available, including for early-career faculty and those from primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs).

The Workshop on Data for Good for Education (D4G4ED) aims to provide professional development opportunities for instructors seeking to engage their students through meaningful social good projects within a classroom setting and to learn about the latest developments in this field.

The workshop is meant to inspire, educate, and most importantly, allow faculty to share and prepare materials for use within their teaching context. The workshop will support faculty in developing their teaching to better incorporate the DSG movement, which provides a natural connection to relevance with grassroots-level improvements in our society while promoting the broad applicability of data science. This important component of increasing persistence and success for our current generation of students is connecting their coursework to meaningful change or outcomes.

The workshop aims to create networking opportunities for students, faculty, schools, and social good organizations, relating to nonprofits and governments with data science and analytics needs. This event facilitates a venue for sharing successes from projects and courses that use DSG while acting as an onboarding and support platform for faculty and schools interested in including DSG within their schools.

The two-day workshop will consist of facilitated sessions to highlight existing teaching practices around data for good, including Plenary Talks, structured workshop sessions, a “Marketplace of Ideas and Innovations,” group working time, and a networking session.

Guest speakers at the workshop include Dr. Dharma Dailey from the eScience Institute at the University of Washington and Dr. Richard Blumenthal from the Computer and Cyber Sciences Department at Regis University. Each speaker has a unique background surrounding data-intensive research and Artificial Intelligence (AI) research. Drs. Dailey and Blumenthal will be leading workshop sessions on embedding DSG activities in course curricula, and how to engage with external clients to develop real-world projects that are appropriately scoped for student work. The speakers and the workshop session aim to increase knowledge and interest in research, social good, and curricular-innovation goals.

This workshop is supported in part by the National Science Foundation through the MBDH Community Development and Engagement (CDE) Program, through a proposal developed by Karl Schmitt, Data Analytics Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Data Analytics at Trinity Christian College.

Get Involved

Contact the Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub if you’re aware of other people or data science education projects we should profile here, or to participate in any of our community-led Priority Areas. The MBDH has a variety of ways to get involved with our community and activities.

The Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub is an NSF-funded partnership of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Indiana University, Iowa State University, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, and the University of North Dakota, and is focused on developing collaborations in the 12-state Midwest region. Learn more about the national NSF Big Data Hubs community.