The potential for Australia to meet the demand for data aware business entrepreneurs, innovators, creative thinkers and thoughtful contributors to society will become increasingly important in a world where data is central to research, teaching, government and business. Australia, like the rest of the world, will need new skills and new roles to meet the growing demand for a data savvy workforce: data scientists, data librarians, data analysts, but also a 'data infused' workforce who can tap into, and take advantage of, data opportunities.
Skilling Australia for data
New employment paths associated with data have created the need for high-level skills in a number of areas. Online self directed courses, MOOCs, and other courses which include data as core elements in the course as readily available. Over 90 university level courses are now available in Data Science and Data Librarianship/Information Studies. Thing 23 from 23 (research data) Things program has an extensive list of data skills options.
Resources for educators
Australian research data used in active outreach programs designed to encourage community contribution to, and use and reuse of, research data include:
- Research Data Australia
- SE Qld Ultraviolet and Cloud Measurement Data: teaching materials are provided, including downloadable student worksheets, and online animations for both students and the general public.
- Pulse@Parkes (CSIRO): students can control the Parkes Radio Telescope and do real science in real time to make real differences!
- Census at School (Australian Bureau of Statistics): Resources for school students from Kindergarten to Senior
- Atlas of Living Australia (ALA): sharing biodiversity knowledge about Australia's species
- RedMap: spot, log and map marine species that are uncommon in Australia, or along particular parts of our coast
- School of Ants: Admit it; you have a great ant story just waiting to be told, don't you?
- Microblitz: contribute soil samples in WA
- Fungimap: so little is known about Australian fungi you could even be helping to document and describe a species that is new to science!
- GovHack: innovate, collaborate and apply your creative skills to open government data in an annual open data competition. For 'web and application developers, open data & visualisation gurus, user experience folk, graphic artists, data journos, augmented reality-ists, mobile maesters, and open government enthusiasts' both Australian and, more recently, New Zealanders
International research data repositories which contain teaching materials include:
- Teach the earth: the SERC portal for GeoScience educators: includes general collections; teaching with data resources; classroom and lab activities; Geochemical and Geophysical Instrumentation, Analysis, and Facilities
- UK Data Service: Demonstrating how data can be used in teaching
- Teaching with Data and Data in the News: links to teaching tools, often within days of an incident being reported in the news
- Oceans of Data Institute (ODI): designed specifically to prepare students for a big data intensive world plus services for teaching institutions, teachers and students
- National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON): impacts of climate change, land-use change, biodiversity and invasive species through a continental-scale ecological observation system
- The Genomics Education Partnership: course syllabi and curriculum materials for genomics research - DNA sequencing, gene annotation, genomic analysis and other elements of genomics
- Gapminder: activities, guides, games and tools for students to learn how to manipulate and understand statistics relating to social, economic and evironmental development at local, national and global levels
- SAGE Research Methods Datasets: selected larger national and international datasets to support the teaching of quantitative and qualitative analytical methods used in the social sciences
- ZooTeach: Sciences, maths, humanities and arts
The value of using real data in teaching
Mather, Glyn (Ed) (2011) Research Enhanced Learning And Teaching: Learning through scholarship. Macquarie University, ISBN 978-0-9805685-7-8
Green, Alison (n.d.) Research-Based Learning: Strategies for successfully linking teaching and research Griffith Institute for Higher Education: A good practice guide.
Baldwin, G. (2005). The teaching-research nexus: How research informs and enhances learning and teaching in the University of Melbourne Melbourne: The University of Melbourne.
UNSW Learning Analytics & Data Science in Education Research Group: An interdisciplinary group consisting of UNSW and local (Sydney area) academics and professional staff interested in the area of learning analytics and data science in education.