Delivering analytics and informatics-based education through a collaborative data science platform

As businesses across the globe become increasingly data-driven, data science is expanding and changing to become a core module on computing, scientific, business and economics courses. This new world requires a change in how educational content is created and delivered.

“It’s all about collaboration, innovation and creating new ideas… it works intuitively with teams and workspaces.” Hisham Arafat, Lead Data Analyst and Data Science Lecturer, EMC

AnalytiXagility workspaces provide the ideal environment to deliver course material and classes. The cloud-based platform offers easy, anywhere access to enable distance learning and facilitate collaborative working by delivering access to code, data and exercises in a controlled and governed environment. The ability to have pre-loaded data in students’ own workspaces, with access to the latest R and SQL interfaces in one environment, delivers efficiency for teachers, provides full visibility through the comprehensive audit tracking feature and enhances the learning experience for students.

As well as traditional mathematical modules, data science boot camps can be delivered, consisting of rapid data labs based on open data from industry, while course work can be delivered as data challenge events or hackathons.

Data hackathons offer a great solution to educate and prepare data scientists for today’s fast-moving informatics environments. Challenging students to work in teams and collaborate on analysing real data using commercial tools can be both engaging and challenging. Whether used at the end of a course, or part way though a module, these data challenge events can prove to be motivational for students and provide a focus for their studies.

These events also offer an opportunity for academic faculties to build relationships with industry by inviting companies to supply data and real world challenges, as well as taking part in mentoring and judging.

Aridhia has a wealth of experience in hosting data challenge events: examples include the WELC Care Collaborative data exploration day, the NIHR University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre data dive, and the University of Manchester Open Health and Social Care Data Dive.

There is no better way to learn than to “learn by doing”. Healthcare boot camps are a practical way to gain experience of data modelling and analysis, utilising tools deployed in commercial, healthcare and research environments. Our data science team have built a collection of healthcare use cases based on open healthcare data. Each use case addresses a healthcare analytics challenge and can be worked through as part of a team collaboration exercise.

Examples include the use of run charts in health informatics, risk stratification and hospital readmission rates, visualising (A&E) attendance, mapping hospital data to open city data, survival analysis, data quality and healthcare data linkage, general practice prescribing data, genomic annotation using pancreatic cancer data and integrated care across diabetes data.

EMC approached Aridhia because they wanted to improve the overall experience students received when undertaking their commercially available data science courses. Aridhia loaded the course data and models into an AnalytiXagility and provided a workspace for each student. The databases and datasets were cleansed and linked in preparation, enabling students to concentrate on the analytics.

It is estimated that throughout the five day course each student recovered an extra 1/2 day to work on actual course exercises, as opposed to setting up environments. In addition, students could also work on the data in the evenings due to the web-based nature of the platform. Having the material in a professional and intuitive user interface enhanced the experience further. Watch this video to hear testimonials from the delegates.

Get in touch to discuss your data science education requirements