The University of Florida’s College of Education has partnered with the University of Pennsylvania and Digital Promise to create a 16-week virtual course in Data Science Methods for Digital Learning Platforms. Supported by the Institute of Education Sciences through an educational grant, the course —Data Science Methods for Digital Learning Platforms Training Program — is being offered at UPenn as a certificate program. The program, which was awarded almost $800,000 in funds, is free to those who are enrolled in it. 

As digital learning platforms have grown, data analytics showing how users interact with these platforms has grown exponentially. However, there has been a learning gap between the education research community and the ability to decipher this data. This program is intended to provide these education researchers the tools and resources to extract large-scale process data and analyze it in a way that is beneficial to inform education practices and policies. This knowledge also allows education researchers to be at the top of their field and keep up to date with the latest educational advancements.  

“It is projects like this that set UF apart as a leader in the field of education,” stated IALT Director Tom Dana. “Ranking number one among all online education programs according to U.S. News & World Report and top 10 among all specialty areas, UF continues to find new ways to set itself apart in online learning.” 

Though as co-principal investigators on this project, our accomplishments could not have been done without the collaboration of our partners at UPenn. 

“We are thrilled to have partnered with such amazing collaborators at the University of Pennsylvania and Digital Promise for this project, and we are similarly excited to be able to bring together such highly esteemed experts to facilitate this training program,” stated Co-Principal Investigator Anthony Botelho. Academic partnerships between universities are crucial in promoting innovation, relationship building and gaining a competitive edge. As well-regarded universities, we have continued to push each other towards further growth and innovation in the field of education. 

Leading the program is UPenn’s professor Ryan Baker along with 4 co-PIs representing the collaborating institutions: Anthony Botelho, University of Florida, Bodong Chen, University of Pennsylvania, Elizabeth Cloude, Tampere University and Stefani Pautz Stephenson and Jeremy Roschelle, Digital Promise. 

This program is a novelty for education researchers, teaching how to leverage large-scale data using data science methods and augmenting education quality using said data.  The certificate will provide learners with a breadth and depth of skills that expand beyond existing courses.

The project includes a wide array of faculty researchers with extensive domain expertise, including: Bodong Chen, University of Pennsylvania, Anthony Botelho, University of Florida, Haiying Li, University of Pennsylvania, Jaclyn Ocumpaugh, University of Pennsylvania, Ryan Baker, University of Pennsylvania, Michael Mogessie, University of Pennsylvania, Seth Adjei, Northern Kentucky University, Wendy Chan, University of Pennsylvania, Alex Bowers, Columbia TC College, Manuel Gonzalez Canche, University of Pennsylvania, Walter Leite, University of Florida, Scott Crossley, Vanderbilt University, Jinnie Shin, University of Florida and Shamya Karumbaiah of University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Anthony Botelho, Ph.D.