During the past semester, students enrolled in CIS6650: Data Science, have worked with Toward Common Ground to develop proof-of-concept websites that could be used to help understand and track the health and wellness of the City of Guelph.
The goal of the course was to introduce students to the overarching process of data science – which necessarily pulls methods and expertise from computer science, mathematics and statistics, sociology and psychology, knowledge translation and transfer, knowledge mobilization, visual arts, and more. The idea was not to create individual students with expertise in all aspects of the discipline but to present the idea of data science as a team-based activity; one that requires multiple viewpoints, skills, and knowledge.
Throughout the semester, the students worked to identify industry standards and methods to collect, clean, visualize, and analyze data, before presenting it in a meaningful manner to the user. This included the identification of metrics and indicators that are currently in use to describe the various dimensions of public health and wellness, the data that are required to calculate said metrics and indicators, and the algorithms and methods needed to quantify each. More specifically, the students had to do this while considering the requirements and needs of our community partner – Toward Common Ground.
Thank you to Rob Amos, Tim Heyland, and Joseph Mudge of The Co-operators for taking the time to chat with the class about Data Science. And a huge thank you to Sarah Haanstra of Toward Common Ground for providing the students with an engaging application for which to apply their newfound Data Science skills.