Integrating Data Science into a General Education Information Technology Course

The National Academies recommend academic institutions foster a basic understanding of data science in all undergraduates. However, data science education is not currently a graduation requirement at most colleges and universities. As a result, many graduates lack even basic knowledge of data science. To address the shortfall, academic institutions should incorporate introductory data science into general education courses. A general education IT course provides a unique opportunity to integrate data science education. Modules covering databases, spreadsheets, and presentation software, already present in many survey IT courses, teach concepts and skills needed for data science. As a result, a survey IT course can provide comprehensive introductory data science education by adding a data science module focused on modeling and evaluation, two key steps in the data science process. The module should use data science software for application, avoiding the complexities of programming and advanced math, while enabling an emphasis on conceptual understanding. We implemented a course built around these ideas and found that the course helps develop data savvy in students.
Information systems, Information systems applications, Data mining, Computing education programs
Malcolm Haynes, Joshua Groen, Eric Sturzinger, Danny Zhu, Justin Shafer, and Timothy McGee. 2019. Integrating Data Science into a General Education Information Technology Course: An Approach to Developing Data Savvy Undergraduates. In Proceedings of the 20th Annual SIG Conference on Information Technology Education (SIGITE '19). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 183–188.