The Applied Data Science & AI course (ADS&AI) at the Hogeschool Rotterdam this week received the go-ahead from the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO) to begin teaching its first classes in September. The new bachelor’s programme had previously received a positive assessment from the NVAO panel on the 6th of April. The panel considered the course to be highly valuable, and specifically singled out for praise the involvement and enthusiasm from the professional field in the programme.
Over the past year, the teachers tasked with developing the course have constructed an impressive programme of studies focusing on creating data scientists of the future. The Hogeschool Rotterdam is hoping to meet the increasing demand for experts in the field of data science, data engineering, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Together with the Haagse Hogeschool and BUAS (Breda), a nationwide course profile was drawn up and Hogeschool Rotterdam will be the first to offer a bachelor’s course of this kind. The teaching team are now ready to welcome the first batch of students in September.
ADS&AI proved instantly popular and received more than 200 applications. Course consultations were subsequently held with about 60 prospective students. The programme will now be aiming to start the next academic year with two classes.
Data scientist of the future
As society has become more data driven, organisations are having to deal with ever increasing quantities of digital data. More awareness needs to be created around the implementation of responsible technology. The ADS&AI bachelor was set up for students interested in the fields of data, programming and AI. By utilising a highly technical programme of studies with a focus on people and society at large, the goal is to train students to be responsible data scientists of the future.
The course focuses on the different ways in which responsible technology can be applied. Ethics lies squarely at its heart and forms the basis for responding to ethical dilemmas. Students are encouraged to think about and reflect upon technology from an early stage and learn how to ask critical questions when developing solutions (i.e.: Is something desirable even when it is technically achievable?) By using such lines of questioning, students are challenged to develop their ability to deal with ethical issues and dilemmas related to technology. Other topics related to responsible technology will also be explored, such as privacy and the protection of personal data, the relationship between man and machine, and environmental impact.
Studio education; an inspiring learning environment
The programme of studies has opted for integrated education, which means that students work in so-called studios. Studio education offers a practical learning environment that is contextual in nature. The emphasis lies on active and cooperative learning, as well as joint peer and teacher feedback. Students work as much as possible with realistic issues and real clients. Each class period also focuses on a central theme, such as:
- data-driven society
- smart & social cities
- data-driven logistics
- data-supported healthcare
In addition to studio education, students are taught core subjects such as mathematics, statistics and programming. The foundation is laid during the first academic year, which is divided into four periods. Students are then gradually introduced to the general field of study (data engineering, data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning). The aim is to create a safe and inspiring learning environment in which they can enjoy pursuing their studies with confidence.
The course profile for ADS&AI also encourages more girls to take part, as the field of study is both international and multidisciplinary. Research has indicated that girls generally gravitate towards multidisciplinary environments over courses which are purely technical in nature.
Experts from the field wanted
Many experts have already contributed to the development of the curriculum over the course of the past year. As cooperation with the industry is vital to the programme, ADS&AI intends to formalise this further and set up a committee for the occupational field. Any extra input is highly appreciated, so the course is looking for clients and partners who can contribute to the studio course. Examples of such contributions could include data-driven organisations which are able to share data sets for educational purposes, or experts from the field who are keen to share their knowledge and host a guest lecture.
If you’re interested in co-operating with the new bachelor ADS&AI programme, feel free to contact the education manager Nathalie Keurentjes at firstname.lastname@example.org.