The well-known explosion in the volume (scale), variety (types), velocity (speed) and veracity (quality) of data that is being generated by governments, organizations and individuals creates opportunities, challenges and risks that affect our full participation as citizens as well as our lifestyles and standards of living every day. This encompasses financial decision making, decisions about healthcare, safety and security, urban systems, sports and entertainment, social media, etc. The Chicago-area is particularly fruitful for new initiatives centered on data competence and involving citizen participation at a range of levels of government. Chicago is a hub for firms relying on data science and analytics, and its major universities with data science and analytics programs in a range of fields. The City of Chicago has been a national leader in data driven governance, working with companies and academic institutions for innovation in this area.
The growing complexity of the public environment of sensors, data streams, storage, algorithms, visualizations and dashboards, offers a range of possibilities for research. This can lead to insights and inspire innovation, developing tools that help manage these processes, deriving value and minimizing unfavorable consequences to the individual, the economy, society and culture. Over the past few years, this sea change has been popularized through our economy and culture via the notion of big data. According to the McKinsey Global Institute (Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity, May 2011), Big data refers to datasets whose size is beyond the ability of typical database software tools to capture, store, manage, and analyze.
IPRO Team Project Learning Opportunity in the Context of Big Data Science. This IPRO section is inspired by the conviction that data science is the foundation field on which to introduce a progressive, developmental approach to building “data consciousness” into the fabric of learning. This includes learning how to make decisions based on the best available data, and to discern and understand the meaning of the data they may encounter. Issues of ethics, privacy and security also come into play in a variety of organization settings. The goal is to advance all learners toward higher levels of data competency: data literacy (understanding data and statistical concepts) begins in the early years, data science expertise (designing data science analyses) typically starts in the undergraduate college years, and data science mastery (building data science systems and performing complex analyses) is developed at the graduate school and working professional levels. This then extends to the responsibility professionals have as citizens and as leaders in a range of roles in society, the economy and government.
Multi-IPRO Team Open Government Data Project Approach. The specific big data science challenge theme for spring 2016 is to explore open government data from the State of Illinois, City of Chicago and federal government agencies. The interdisciplinary IPRO teams will develop insights from the large government data sets that they explore that leads to brainstorming of concepts for encouraging greater citizenship and improving the quality and access of information for our citizens. The most viable concept from each team will be prototyped and tested by the intended user populations, which will lead to feedback that can be used for refining the concept and prototype so that its value can be validated. Concepts may help inform thinking about new policies, services and products. The viability of concepts will be explored and validated through three lenses: technical feasibility, user desirability and business viability. The multiple student project outcomes will be presented to and evaluated by civic leaders and professionals with a range of expertise related to large open government data sets.
The Open Government Data Project IPRO gives student teams the opportunity to compete in a refereed way. The teams will be guided along their IPRO journey through the following process steps: conducting research (secondary and primary); characterizing user/stakeholder needs; developing specifications; creating a taxonomy; brainstorming concepts; documenting work.
There will be three juried critiques involving professionals from Microsoft, the City of Chicago and other key organizations in the critique process during the semester:
At the end of the semester, the team that has developed the most innovative concept in the realm of data science and open government data sets that inspire citizenship will be recognized. As appropriate, a viable concept may be proposed for further development, testing and refinement through a follow-on IPRO class focusing on advancing a given concept to deployment, adoption and diffusion.