The ‘Age of Data’ continues to thrive, with data being produced from all industries at a phenomenal rate that introduces numerous challenges regarding the collection, storage and analysis of this data. To address this problem, the European Data Science Academy (EDSA) will establish a virtuous learning production cycle for Data Science, and will:
- Analyse the sector specific skillsets for data analysts across Europe’s main industrial sectors;
- Develop modular and adaptable curricula to meet these Data Science needs; and
- Deliver training supported by multiplatform and multilingual learning resources based on these curricula.
Throughout the project, the curricula and learning resources will be guided and evaluated by experts in both Data Science and pedagogy to ensure they meet the needs of the Data Science community. The sections below outline some of the activities that are being carried out to help meet these goals.
EDSA is monitoring trends across the EU to assess the demands for particular Data Science skills and expertise. We are leveraging a vast network of European data providers, consumers and intermediaries to “track the pulse” of the European data landscape. This allows us to align our criteria with the latest demands of the community.
Using interviews with Data Science practitioners, an industry advisory board representing a mix of sectors and automated tools for extracting data about job posts and news articles, we are building dashboards to present the current state of the European Data Science landscape, with the data feeding into our curricula development.
EDSA is developing a core Data Science curriculum based on topics extracted from the demand analysis. The first version of this curriculum is available here. We are producing high-quality, multilingual and multimodal training materials to cover these topics, utilising existing resources available in the public domain and the internal expertise of the EDSA consortium. As one of the most innovative distance education institutions in the world, The Open University’s outstanding knowledge in delivering eLearning will be leveraged extensively.
All learning resources produced by the project adhere to the EDSA values and are made available via the EDSA online courses portal. The curricula design will arrange these resources into pathways that can be customised to suit the different needs of individuals, and the requirements of self-study and tutor-led training formats.
Training Delivery and Learning Analytics
Key parts of our curricula will be delivered through eBooks, MOOCs, webinars, video lectures and face-to-face training. Several members of the EDSA consortium are already established as high-quality training providers in core Data Science topics. As part of EDSA, these initiatives will be structured into integrated learning pathways, translated into European languages, and expanded to meet the requirements for specific sectors as indicated by our demand analysis.
We are primarily using VideoLectures.NET and FutureLearn – the largest European MOOC platform, founded by The Open University – to maximise outreach and uptake of our materials. Engagement with learners and Big Data stakeholders is key to our training, and therefore monitoring and analysis tools will be utilised to assess learner progress – rather than by simply listening to academics or technology evangelists.