Integrating data science across undergraduate STEM curriculum

Series: CTLT Institute

Event Date & Time

  • May 25, 2018
    11:30 am - 1:30 pm

Event Description

Pillar: Transformative Learning

Our world is increasingly inundated with data; it amasses in spaces from social media to advertising to personal medicine. This is especially true in the life sciences where next-generation sequencing has revolutionized the way we study living organisms and results in more than 24 TB of new data each day. Thus, it is paramount that today’s undergraduate students engage in data science (often also called bioinformatics) in order to learn the computational and statistical skills necessary to tackle and leverage big data in current and future careers. The Experiential Data science for Undergraduate Cross-disciplinary Education (EDUCE) initiative at UBC seeks to fill this curriculum gap though modular instruction across several third- and fourth-year Microbiology courses. In this way, all microbiology students gain expertise in data science without the need for additional course requirements and within the framework of current course content.

In this workshop, we will challenge participants to view data science from both a student and an instructor perspective in order to identify when, where, and how to incorporate data science content into relevant courses. After a brief introduction to data science, participants will experience experiential data science education as students by completing a hands-on EDUCE module led by the workshop facilitators. Participants will then transition to an instructional role to work in small groups to critically assess this module and outline a similar introductory module for one of their courses. Facilitators will then lead a larger group discussion to identify challenges, potential solutions, and available resources for incorporating data science modules at UBC.

By the end of this workshop, you will be able to

  1. Identify if and where data science could be incorporated into your courses,
  2. Design an introductory data science module relevant to your curriculum using the microbiology module as a guide, and
  3. Locate additional resources on campus to further develop data science curriculum in your department.

Participants should bring a laptop or an Internet-capable tablet to engage in this workshop. Laptops are available for loan through the UBC library at


Kim Dill-McFarland, Postdoctoral Fellow, Microbiology & Immunology
Steven Hallam, Associate Professor, Microbiology & Immunology
Dave Oliver, Instructor 1, Microbiology & Immunology


  • Experiential Data science for Undergraduate Cross-disciplinary Education
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  • Freeman S, Eddy SL, McDonough M, Smith MK, Okoroafor N, Jordt H, Wenderoth MP. 2014. Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proc Natl Acad Sci 111:8410 LP-8415.
  • Kolb DA. 2014. Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. Pearson Education.