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With increasingly technology-driven workplaces and high data volumes, instructors across STEM+C disciplines are integrating more data science topics into their course learning objectives. However, instructors face significant challenges in integrating additional data science concepts into their already full course schedules. Streamlined instructional modules that are integrated with course content, and cover relevant data science topics, such as data collection, uncertainty in data, visualization, and analysis using statistical and machine learning methods can benefit instructors across multiple disciplines. As part of a cross-university research program, we designed a systematic structural approach–based on shared instructional and assessment principles–to construct modules that are tailored to meet the needs of multiple instructional disciplines, academic levels, and pedagogies. Adopting a research-practice partnership approach, we have collectively developed twelve modules working closely with instructors and their teaching assistants for six undergraduate courses.
We identified and coded primary data science concepts in the modules into five common themes: 1) data acquisition, 2) data quality issues, 3) data use and visualization, 4) advanced machine learning techniques, and 5) miscellaneous topics that may be unique to a particular discipline (e.g., how to analyze data streams collected by a special sensor). These themes were further subdivided to make it easier for instructors to contextualize the data science concepts in discipline-specific work. In this paper, we present as a case study the design and analysis of four of the modules, primarily so we can compare and contrast pairs of similar courses that were taught at different levels or at different universities. Preliminary analyses show the wide distribution of data science topics that are common among a number of environmental science and engineering courses. We identified commonalities and differences in the integration of data science instruction (through modules) into these courses. This analysis informs the development of a set of key considerations for integrating data science concepts into a variety of STEM + C courses.
Xia, K., & Naseri, M. Y., & Biswas, G., & Jha, M., & Henrick, E., & Kern, E., & Snyder, C., & Marston, L., & Dubey, A., & Vanags, C., & Aryal, N., & Jiang, S., & Hotchkiss, E., & Lohani, V., & McLoughlin, B., & Bhandari, S. (2022, August), A modular approach for integrating data science concepts into multiple undergraduate STEM+C courses Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. https://peer.asee.org/42010
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