Coursera recently named Christopher Brooks, assistant professor at the School of Information, a winner of its Outstanding Educator Award for Innovation for his teaching strategies in the online Applied Data Science with Python Specialization. His approach allows students are to use actual data in a low-stakes environment to solve problems that are relevant to their own communities, such as using weather data to predict record breaking values in the following year.
By doing this, learners gain real world experience and data science skills through python coding. Based on the data collected from these learners, the course team was able to test the effectiveness of these teaching strategies on a diverse group of learners. In the future, this research, and the specialization, has the potential to impact a broad group of learners and address their needs and difficulties.
Brooks, who is also director of Learning Analytics and Research in the Office of Academic Innovation, conducts research on how learning analytics can be applied to human computer interaction to better the teaching and learning experience in higher education.