Big Data science education: A case study of a project-focused introductory course

Jeffrey Saltz, Robert Heckman


This paper reports on a case study of a project-focused introduction to big data science course. The pedagogy of the course leveraged boundary theory, where students were positioned to be at the boundary between a client’s desire to understand their data and the academic class. The results of the case study demonstrate that using live clients within a team-based, project-focused course provides a useful platform in which to teach an introduction to data science course to graduate students across a range of backgrounds. While more work needs to be done to compare different possible pedagogies for teaching an introduction to data science course, the results of this study indicate that one successful approach is a project-focused class that puts students at the boundary between the academic context of the course and solving a real-world problem for their client.


Data science, big data, project-based learning, graduate education

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