Tulane will develop a center—The Data Hub—that will serve as a central home for interdisciplinary, data literacy, and data science programming across the University. The Data Hub will create opportunities for all students—undergraduate, graduate and professional—to engage in the study of some of the world’s most complex issues while elevating their capacity in data literacy and science.
Through its work, The Data Hub will build a campus culture that acknowledges and values the critical role of data in today’s world and recognizes data literacy as an essential skill for being an active, engaged, and informed citizen.
Data literacy will provide our students with new tools with which to explore, discover, understand, and communicate about the world—the competencies that form the foundation of a liberal education. Crucial components of student learning will also be the real-world application of data, a connection to industry, and preparation for life after Tulane. In addition, The Data Hub will work to make all members of Tulane’s community and beyond more conscious of how much data is being collected about our personal behavior, and how this data is being used to personalize our experiences and opportunities—including the news we receive, the way we shop, the entertainment we consume, and the healthcare we have access to.
New Course Development & Supporting Integration into Existing Courses
The Data Hub will develop and offer Introduction to Data courses accessible to all students—undergraduate, graduate, or professional—regardless of their intended major or program. Full-time faculty in multiple departments across the University will be invited to lead the development of these courses in order to emphasize the differing perspectives across disciplines.
Data Visualization in R
- The courses will be designed to teach the basic elements of data literacy: interpreting data, learning the power and limitations of data, and recognizing misrepresentations.
- The courses will include a strong focus on data visualization and will introduce the data computing language, R, so that students can carry out their own analyses.
- The courses will use the data sets tied to the annual data theme to support a project-based curriculum.
- The courses will explore the current ubiquity of data collection, especially of personal identity and behavior, and how data is being used to personalize digital experiences, so that students can better understand how data is shaping their environment.
Develop Curated Materials to Support Integrating Data Literacy into the Academic Experience
A cross-disciplinary group will identify specific skill sets and learning objectives critical for Tulane students to use and deploy data more effectively. The group will then build a curated collection of asynchronous materials focused on these areas and accessible to faculty and students in the Learning Management System. Synchronous workshop opportunities will be made available as well.
- Materials will be developed specifically for students with self-paced, individualized learning as a parameter.
- Materials for faculty that do not use data in the core area of their teaching or research.
- Workshops, both synchronous and asynchronous, for faculty seeking to add or develop data-based assignments and activities into the classroom experience.
- Training and practice activities to help students and faculty learn how to use recent technologies and programs to use and manipulate data more effectively.
The Data Hub will organize co-curricular activities related to the annual data theme. Activities will include data visualization challenges, data hackathon competitions, poster competitions, and other student-based activities, all in support of creating a culture of data literacy and celebrating student accomplishments. Events like hackathons provide a structured time for instruction as well as opportunities for application and project-based learning in an immersive setting. In addition, an annual “Data Week”, sponsored by The Data Hub in collaboration with the Schools will include presentations by students and faculty about their research and class projects related to the annual data theme.
Short Form Learning
The Data Hub will lead workshops and bootcamps for faculty and students to develop basic skills or learn more about the curated databases supporting the annual data theme. In addition to the educational benefits, small, highly engaged learning experiences build connections among participants and create collaborative networks of students and researchers with shared interests.
Research Engagement & Applied Activities
The Data Hub will provide support for undergraduate and graduate student research projects and other opportunities to work with faculty on data analysis projects. It will also work with Tulane’s Center for Public Service to coordinate potential application-based learning in the community for faculty developing service-learning courses with a focus on data analytics and for advanced students seeking data-based internships in the community. In all instances, the student research grants will prioritize the use of real-world data and, as feasible, facilitate partnerships with local organizations and businesses.
The Data Hub will host events for the University community and beyond, including a speaker series and oncampus exhibitions, to raise awareness about the growing role that data plays in shaping our environment.
Everyone should be conscious of how much data is being collected about individual behavior, and how this data is being used to personalize experiences and opportunities—including the news we receive, the way we shop, the entertainment we consume, and the healthcare we have access to.
These speakers will also explore the many moral and ethical questions surrounding the collection, use and ownership of personal data.
Beyond a speaker series, the highlight of The Data Hub’s public programming will be the annual celebration of Data Week with an emphasis on the annual data theme. Dedicated to spreading awareness of data, data research and management, and the achievements of our students and researchers, Data Week will include posters and other kinds of presentations of student and faculty work, highlighting both curricular and scientific innovations and achievements.
Annual Data Theme
To help build data literacy skills across the Tulane community, Tulane will establish a data theme each year and provide a data set that will allow for exploring the topic from the lens of multiple disciplines. The data set will be available to all faculty, staff, and students, with additional resources for faculty to support integrating the annual data theme and data set into their courses.
Develop and offer new courses, and support faculty in modifying existing courses, to integrate the development of data literacy skills into the curriculum.
Develop and offer workshops to increase student and faculty capacity in data science, analysis, and literacy, and create learning modules that faculty can integrate into existing classes.
Develop and support co-curricular opportunities designed to build students’ data literacy skills.
Host programming that builds broad awareness of the increasingly significant role that data plays in shaping our environment.
Research Engagement & Applied Activities
Provide resources and grants for student research in support of increasing data literacy in the Tulane community.
The variety of programming and activities available through The Data Hub will provide all members of the Tulane community to get involved both in and out of the classroom. For example, the Hub will offer introductory data science courses, sponsor events such as hackathons and data visualization competitions, award grants to support the work of faculty and students, and provide resources such as workshops for faculty to help integrate data into their courses and resources for staff looking to build their data literacy and analysis skills.
Help Desk and Support Staff
Tulane will build a help desk and offer support staff for The Data Hub:
- TA help desk is structured to answer basic questions such as, “How do I…” to make data and data literacy more approachable.
- A reference librarian directing users to resources or reference materials, as well as a matchmaker that refers users to experts with specific skill sets or to potential collaborators, either at Tulane or beyond.