Encouraging results from the first generation of Program in Data Science students | MIT J-WEL

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Encouraging results from the first generation of Program in Data Science students

The J-WEL team, together with Uruguayan CoLAB alliance, is developing a Program in Data Science tuned to the Latin American context that is producing encouraging results in the early stages.

The effort, the CoLAB Program in Data Science, includes online courses (MOOCs) from the MITx MicroMasters® in Statistics and Data Science and virtual weekly sessions facilitated by MIT, other online courses offered by MITx and Uruguayan universities, on-site MIT-run workshops, and career-oriented events. The Program in Data Science is also a component of a Master’s program through the Universidad Technológica del Uruguay (UTEC).

This August, the first generation of learners enrolled in the CoLAB program completed the first MOOC with 57 of 58 learners successfully meeting the course requirements. During this course, Probability - The Science of Uncertainty and Data, the J-WEL team held weekly facilitated sessions in parallel with the course’s content to support the learners’ learning process.

“This shows the power of using high-quality MITx courses coupled with context-specific supports,” remarked J-WEL Assistant Director for Higher Education Julia Reynolds-Cuéllar in discussing the early results. “This is a big step toward the overall goal of building data science capacity and knowledge transfer in Uruguay.”

This group of learners is the first of three slated to move through the program during the period of J-WEL’s engagement with CoLAB, and while a formal evaluation of the program effectiveness has not been completed to date, the extra support and structure of the program suggests promising results highlighted by the almost perfect completion rate as opposed to the traditional low completion rate in MOOCs.

CoLAB is an alliance between Plan Ceibal, the Universidad Technológica del Uruguay (UTEC), and ANII (the Uruguayan National Research and Innovation Agency). Plan Ceibal joined J-WEL as a Charter member in November 2018. Through J-WEL membership and the new Program in Data Science, CoLAB aims to develop instructor capacity to teach data science and machine learning, build new curriculum, and create a community of data scientists in the region to promote new lines of business for companies and lead decision-making processes in their teams.