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Machine Learning in the classroom: Training the next generation of data analysts

by on July 21, 2014

The next generation of business analysts will be required to not just understand advanced analytics, but to utilize them as part of their job function. While this traditionally has been impossible due to the complexity and cost of advanced statistical packages, BigML now makes it very viable. And we’re very excited by the fact that many universities are bringing BigML into their classrooms as part of their curricula — thereby helping educate tomorrow’s business leaders on the power and benefit of predictive modeling.

Two such universities that are using BigML are the University of Georgia and the University of Maryland University College (UMUC).

Creating Analytics Bulldogs at University of Georgia

Dr. Hugh Watson is a Professor of MIS at University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, and has a deep professional and academic history of working with statistics and analytics. UGADr. Watson has taught various classes on Information Systems for over thirty years so has excellent perspective on how IT tools have evolved–as have the expectations of employers for matriculating students.

Starting with this year’s Spring Semester, Dr. Watson brought BigML into his undergraduate class on Business Intelligence. The typical incoming student has familiarity with information systems and data models, but likely hasn’t utilized machine learning and/or built advanced predictive models. Over the course of the semester, Dr. Watson used BigML along with related BI tools such as MicroStrategy and Tableau. For the BigML portion of the class, the UGA students walked through several use cases based on models and datasets published in BigML’s gallery, with the aim of learning how to build models and gleaning predictive insights from data. By the end of the class, Watson’s students were able to complete a project that required the students to build their own models and run predictions in BigML.

Draft quote from Hugh Watson: “A deep understanding of data systems and analysis is becoming an imperative in today’s job market, which is why MIS is a key focus area for our program at the Terry College of Business. BigML helped my students understand how historical data can be utilized to predict future outcomes–all in a fun and easy-to-understand workflow.”

BigML helping power Master’s Degree in Data Analytics at UMUC

Dr. Steve Knode is a professor at UMUC’s Graduate School who specializes in instruction in emerging technologies, decision support systems and artificial intelligence. UMUCUMUC offers a Master’s Degree in Data Analytics, which has seen a huge spike in interest over the past few years as more and more professionals in the workforce are seeing the benefit of bolstering their analytics skill sets so as to enhance their productivity and marketability.

Dr. Knode is using BigML as part of UMUC’s Decision Management Systems class with a focus on combining decision making with the use of analytics tools. BigML’s ease of use makes it a great fit for the course as students can spend time implementing decision models rather than trying to learn a new software package. For Dr. Knode’s class, students uploaded data that was generated from decision requirements models and quickly were able to perform a variety of predictive analyses. In future semesters Dr. Knode plans to leverage BigML’s newest features, including our cluster analysis functionality.

Draft quote from Steve Knode: “Students in UMUC’s Master’s Degree in Data Analytics are typically full-time professionals who want to learn and leverage the latest tools and methodologies for making data-driven decisions and analyses. BigML has been a hit with our students as it clearly shows them predictive relationships in data, and its ease-of-use is a huge benefit to students and instructors alike. I suspect that many of my students will utilize BigML in their jobs in the immediate future.”

Bring BigML into your classroom today!

Aside from these business-oriented programs, BigML’s API and wealth of underlying functionality makes it ideal for the next generation of developers and computer scientists.

In addition to BigML’s ease of use for undergraduate and graduate students alike, BigML has the added benefit of being a hosted solution–meaning that students can simply open a web browser or command line shell rather than having to install software on disparate systems. BigML works with professors to grant their students complementary subscriptions, and is also available to help out with appropriate course ware, lesson plans and syllabi.

If you’re interested in bringing BigML into your classroom, please contact us today!

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