New Data Science course helps all students harness the power of data

Data Science CourseTemple’s Fox School of Business is offering a new, University-wide GenEd course that’s geared toward any student—tech-savvy or not—who hopes to hone his or her data skills. This first-of-its-kind course, titled “Data Science,” will be taught by MIS Associate Professor David Schuff. It offers an accessible look at data use and interpretation, teaching students how to read, organize, analyze, and wield data in order to solve real problems in their future careers and day-to-day life. 

As students are poised to enter the work force, noted Professor Schuff, the vast majority will need a working knowledge of data in order to succeed. “Almost every organization uses data, and the ability to work with it is an essential skill,” he said.

And it’s not just for those working in technology. Today, data is directly consumable by the average employee, from Google web traffic statistics to civic-oriented public information published by the government. Furthermore, emerging disciplines such as data journalism, digital humanities, digital epidemiology, and personalized medicine (to name a few) are predicated on the idea that large, widely available data sets can help transform an industry.

Learning to critically evaluate information in the twenty-first century is a crucial skill in any career.  Like information literacy, I see data literacy as an important component of an undergraduate education.  Professor Schuff’s GenEd Data Science course fills this critical gap in the undergraduate curriculum.  

Istvan L. Varkonyi, GenEd Program Director

Professor David Schuff

David Schuff

The course itself will comprise hands-on, experiential problem solving through the use of computer-based data tools employed by virtually every organization. Students will try out these tools using a diverse collection of data sets, ranging from NBA player statistics to high school dropout rates to corporate sales data. Students will also learn to make impactful and persuasive arguments through visual data presentation.

When asked about the course’s goals, Schuff commented: “We want students to complete the course with a new set of tools and skills they can immediately apply, whether it is in their current coursework, their summer internships, or their jobs.”

As data skills extend to nearly all spheres—from the workplace to smartphones to credit card bills—those enrolled in the Data Science course will gain valuable technical know-how, and learn to harness the power of data for the benefit of their personal and professional lives.

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