Kaggle In-class Essay-Scoring Competition, Think Piece on Data Science & Education

Dear Students,
This final project will be an investigation of the relationship between Data Science and Education from two perspectives: (1) The application of Data Science to the education sector and (2) Data Science in a university setting.  You will:

  • Apply machine learning algorithms to education-related data sets
  • Investigate and recommend ways in which Data Science could or should be applied in the Education Sector
  • Explore two central hypotheses of the course:
    • It is possible to “train” data scientists in the classroom
    • Data Science should and can be defined as an academic discipline

These objectives are woven throughout the final project, which is divided into two parts: Competition and Cooperation.

Part 1: Kaggle Essay-Scoring Competition
You will participate in a predictive modeling competition hosted by Kaggle. You will be provided access to hand scored essays so that you can build, train and test an automatic essay-scoring engine. Your success depends upon how closely you can deliver scores to those of human expert graders. This is a private invitation-only competition. Only students in this class will compete. You should have received an invitation from Kaggle to participate. Check your in-box for the invitation. More details are here on the Kaggle website.

Part 2: Class Collaboration to publish a Collective Think Piece
The basic premise is the entire class as a whole is responsible for the final product: a Think Piece on Data Science and Education aimed for publication in Wired Magazine. You will work together and cooperate to produce this by the end of the semester. You will contribute in different ways depending on your skill set. In this class there are a range of interesting skills (marketing, managing, big picture, details, writing, research, reading, summarizing, coding, talking, finding patterns in data, data munging, policy, domain expertise in education, statistics, machine learning….) and if you bring what you are good at to this project, you could accomplish something amazing collectively. I expect you to contribute by doing something you enjoy. I expect very high caliber work. You should have received an invitation to join the class wiki page. Check your in-box for the invitation.

A student asked whether the teams you work on have to be the same for the Think Piece and the Kaggle competition. Both parts allow for teamwork. For the Kaggle competition you can work individually or you can merge onto teams of your choice. The Think Piece requires you to create a pitch with a discussion group, and you’ve been assigned to that discussion group. Beyond the discussion group, you will join teams depending on your interest. More details are in the document given to you in class.

Yours, Rachel

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