CoLAB launches effort to build data science capacity in Uruguay through J-WEL membership | MIT J-WEL

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CoLAB launches effort to build data science capacity in Uruguay through J-WEL membership

New blended learning program aims to build faculty capacity to teach data science and machine learning and involve up to 500 students over three years.

Data Science decorationAt an event today in Montevideo, Uruguay, CoLAB—an alliance of Uruguayan educational organizations—launched a new program to build data science capacity in Latin America that was developed through membership in the Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL). With a focus on the local universities and industries of Uruguay, the Program in Data Science includes online courses from MITx and several Uruguayan universities, synchronous online activities facilitated by J-WEL staff, and on-site workshops run by J-WEL and MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI). J-WEL, an initiative of MIT and Community Jameel, works with organizations around the world to promote excellence and transformation in education.

CoLAB is an alliance between Plan Ceibal, the Uruguay Technological University (UTEC), and ANII (the National Research and Innovation Agency). Plan Ceibal joined J-WEL as a Charter member in January 2019. Through J-WEL membership and the new Program in Data Science, CoLAB aims to develop instructor panelcapacity to teach data science and machine learning, develop new curriculum, and create a community of data scientists in the region. CoLAB will also support up to 500 students over the next four years to participate in a blended learning program in data science offered through UTEC. Graduates will gain the fundamental knowledge to master the essence of data science, develop new lines of business for companies and lead decision-making processes in their teams.

Dr. Virginia Robano, Director of the Program in Data Science, described the intent of the program. 'With the creation of CoLAB we aim to continue building solid institutions in Uruguay. Our Program in Data Science contributes to upgrading and transforming Uruguay's productive structure by providing skills at the frontier of knowledge. We are proud to have the support of MIT J-WEL in this initiative and today's launch represents another step to working with J-WEL, which started last June with the participation of faculty from Uruguayan universities in the Curriculum and Course Design workshop."

Education leaders from MIT and Uruguay join for program's launch

The Uruguayan government and participating organizations were represented at the launch event by Dr. María Julia Muñoz, Uruguay Minister of Education; Dr. Rodolfo Silveira, UTEC board member; Eng. Miguel Brechner, Plan Ceibal President; Eng. Fernando Brum, ANII President; and Dr. Virginia Robano, Director of the Program in Data Science. Mr. Morgan Doyle, Representative of the Inter-American Development Bank, also spoke. From MIT, J-WEL Executive Director Dr. M.S. Vijay Kumar and Prof. Munther Dahleh, Director of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS), addressed the gathering. On day five of the program, MIT Dean for Digital Learning and Physics Professor Krishna Rajagopal is slated to share relevant perspectives from MIT's experience developing digital learning projects including MITx, MicroMasters, and MIT OpenCourseWare.

Curriculum to include data analysis, entrepreneurship, future of work, and machine learning 

Students enrolled in the Program in Data Science will take courses from MITx MicroMasters® program in Statistics and Data Science, covering Introduction to Probability - The Science of Uncertainty, Data Analysis for Social Sciences, Fundamentals of Statistics, and Data and Machine Learning with Python: From Linear Models to Deep Learning. The program will also include courses addressing entrepreneurship and the future of work, as well as electives offered by Uruguayan universities. MIT will join UTEC to provide students with online synchronous facilitated sessions as they take the MicroMasters courses. 

J-WEL’s engagement with CoLAB and Plan Ceibal is part of a portfolio of activities through J-WEL aimed at fostering educational transformation. J-WEL—which is housed in MIT Open Learning alongside other landmark MIT education initiatives including MITx and MIT OpenCourseWare—brings together member organizations from around the world to focus on educational transformation efforts in the pK-12, higher education, and workforce learning domains.



Decoration at the Program in Data Science launch event.

Image: Brandon Muramatsu

Left to right: Dr. M.S. Vijay Kumar, J-WEL Executive Director; Mr. Morgan Doyle, Country Representative in Uruguay, Inter-American Development Bank; and Dr. Virginia Robano, Director of CoLAB - Program in Data Science.

Image: Andrés Felipe Salazar Gómez

MIT Dean for Digital Learning and Physics Professor Krishna Rajagopal presents on day five of the program launch workshop.

Image: Andrés Felipe Salazar Gómez