All resources in Use Open Data in Teaching

From open data to civic engagement

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Where does our money go? Who are the beneficiaries of public funding? Which projects get funded? When and how do publicly funded projects deliver concrete results? Are they effective enough? The Scuola di OpenCoesione (ASOC) is an educational challenge and a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course), designed for Italian high-school students. It has three main objectives. First, to find out how public money is spent in a given local area or neighbourhood; second, to follow the projects and investigate how they are progressing and what challenges are they facing and third, to involve local communities in monitoring the effectiveness of public investment.

Material Type: Case Study

Authors: Chiara Ciociola, Luigi Reggi

The acquisition of definiteness: Analysis of child language data

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This is a teacher-led activity within the field of linguistics, using child language acquisition as example. It can however be adapted to other disciplines. In this activity, students are given a two-part assignment whereby they shall analyse results on a given topic within child language acquisition, taken from different types of published research data. This activity is particularly useful for fields where data collection is diverse in nature. The activity aims at improving the student’s understanding of the field of research and how different types of data can complement each other. Also, it aims at furthering the student’s knowledge and skills regarding structuring and documentation of data.

Material Type: Homework/Assignment

Author: Helene N. Andreassen

Sampling distributions

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Activity introduces students to the concept of sampling distributions and point estimates, and to how the accuracy of point estimates are affected by sample size. Concurrently, it allows students to become aware of the existence of open datasets in their discipline, and to practice using dataset documentation, downloading and importing datasets.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Author: Torstein Låg

The Alan Walks Wales Dataset: Quantified self and open data

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This case study describes the educational use of an open dataset collected as part of a thousand mile research walk. The content connects to many hot topics including quantified self, privacy, biosensing, mobility and the digital divide, so has an immediate interest to students. It includes inter-linkable qualitative and quantitative data, in a variety of specialist and general formats, so offers a variety of technical challenges including visualisation and data mining as well. Finally, it is raw data with all the glitches, gaps and problems attached to this. The case study draws on experience in two educational settings: the first with a group of computer science and interaction design masters students in class-based discussions run by the first author; the second a computer science bachelor's project supervised by the second author.

Material Type: Case Study

Authors: Alan Dix, Geoffrey Ellis

Using Open Data as a Material for Introductory Programming Assignments

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This case study is retrieved from the open book Open Data as Open Educational Resources. Case studies of emerging practice. It explores why and how open data can be used as a material with which to produce engaging challenges for students as they are introduced to programming. Through describing the process of producing the assignments, and learner responses to them, we suggest that open data is a powerful material for designing learning activities because of its qualities of ease of access and authenticity. In two successive years, forms of open data were used to construct coursework assignments for postgraduate students at the University of Nottingham, UK. The rationale for using open data was to shift the focus towards an outward-looking approach to coding with networks, files and data structures, and to engage students in constructing applications that had real-world relevance. Python was chosen as the programming language. The assignment in the first year utilised e-book text files from Project Gutenberg1, and required students to build an e-reader application. In the next year, car park status data, which was made available in a regularly updated form by the city council through their open data initiative2 was used as the basis for an assignment in which students developed a city-wide car park monitoring application.

Material Type: Case Study

Author: Tim Coughlan

OER-UCLouvain: LPHY2131 data analysis lab using CMS open data

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This assembles material for the LPHY2131 data analysis lab at UCLouvain. The documentation covers the three sessions of the laboratory and provides some additional information. The results that are obtained in this lab can be compared to the published cross-section measurement for the Z and W at the LHC, at 7TeV, by the CMS collaboration: Measurement of the Inclusive W and Z Production Cross Sections in pp Collisions at sqrt(s) = 7 TeV

Material Type: Lecture Notes

Author: DELAERE Christophe

Biogeographic patterns and climate change – a teaching resource for university lecturers – Atlas of Living Australia

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This case study describes a practical exercise developed for students in the School of Geography and Environmental Science at Monash University. The exercise is based around simple bioclimatic modelling techniques and designed for first-year university students of biogeography, ecology and climatology. It incorporates aspects of past, present and future climates and their impact on species distributions, particularly in Victoria, but could be easily modified to suit any part of Australia. The practical exercise has three main parts: the first is on animal distributions under current and future climates; the second concerns plant distributions in the past and present; and the third part looks at how rare and endangered species may respond to future climate change in alpine environments.

Material Type: Homework/Assignment

Author: Simon Connor.

Teaching with research data: report to the Australian National Data Service (ANDS)

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Teaching with Research Data by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) provides nine case studies of courses that incorporate data usage in teaching. These case studies cover various subject areas. Two examples activities are: History at the University of Melbourne: data creation and text analysis in the humanities The course includes an introduction to big data. The creation of vast textural databases means that it is possible not just to find information but to analyse and interpret in ways not previously available for teaching or for the general public. Students are encouraged to use databases of text such as Google Books (using NGram) or the NLA’s Trove newspapers (using QueryPic) to generate graphs of word use or phrase use frequency to see whether their findings accord with other evidence or to otherwise add depth to their assignments. Students are required to open a Zotero account, and use it to collect and present information they have collected. Use of Omeka is currently under investigation: this is an open source web publishing platform to display online exhibitions of scholarly materials and has been one of those resources publicised by the University of Melbourne Research Bazaar. Approaches to Research in Education at Flinders University: learning social science methodology using real data David Curtis is Associate Professor, Educational Research at Flinders University where he also teaches a number of subjects to do with statistical methods and research techniques as part of masters degree courses in education. One subject in particular, Approaches to Research (EDUC9761) has a focus on using authentic data, most often PISA data from the OECD19 and LSAY data collected by ACER20. The primary object of the course is to introduce both qualitative and quantitative approaches to research, including the identification of problems, literature review, developing questions and hypotheses, collecting and analysing data and reporting and evaluating research. In this context, use of authentic data provides an opportunity to explore real issues within the field and to integrate the students’ studies with their own research interest. Using real world data means that students confront issues such as incompleteness, measures which are ‘not quite as good as you might wish they were’ and other problems usually not encountered with manufactured data sets.

Material Type: Lesson

Authors: David Curtis, David Goodman, Margaret Henty

Teaching Data Analysis in the Social Sciences: A case study with article level metrics

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This case study is retrieved from the open book Open Data as Open Educational Resources. Case studies of emerging practice. Course description: Metrics and measurement are important strategic tools for understanding the world around us. To take advantage of the possibilities they offer, however, one needs the ability to gather, work with, and analyse datasets, both big and small. This is why metrics and measurement feature in the seminar course Technology and Evolving Forms of Publishing, and why data analysis was a project option for the Technology Project course in Simon Fraser University’s Master of Publishing Program. The assignment: “Data Analysis with Google Refine and APIs": Pick a dataset and an API of your choice (Twitter, VPL, Biblioshare, CrossRef, etc.) and combine them using Google Refine. Clean and manipulate your data for analysis. The complexity/messiness of your data will be taken into account”.

Material Type: Case Study

Authors: Alessandra Bordini, Juan Pablo Alperin, Katie Shamash

Template for example activities

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THIS TEMPLATE WILL HELP YOU TO SHARE YOUR OWN ACTIVITIES AND WILL SHOW YOU HOW TO FILL IN THE METADATA FIELDS. Provide a brief (100-200 words) non-technical description of the activity. Start by stating that this is a teacher-led classroom activity. Next, try to include the following: 1) What the activity is about, both in terms of open data related topics and other topics. 2) Why the activity is useful. You should be able to cobble together this abstract from what you have under the ‘In a nutshell’-heading from the main box on the ‘Write’-tab.

Material Type: Homework/Assignment

Author: Harrie van der Meer