• “Introduction to Data Science” Was Made Compulsory in All Faculties!


“Introduction to Data Science” Was Made Compulsory in All Faculties!

    On April 5th, 2022, the common course, “Introduction to Data Science,” was made compulsory in all faculties. It is being taught both in Japanese and English. This spring semester, the course is being taken by approximately 700 first-year students in five faculties (Faculties of Nursing, Law, Business Administration, Education, and International Liberal Arts) and about 35 second-year students. Data science education is promoted at Soka University to foster capable people who can create value in society.

    This subject taught basically in a flipped classroom, is a mix of on-demand learning and in-person active learning. Students study video teaching materials respectively, then gather once a week for in-person sessions. At in-person sessions, a pair of senior SAs (Student Assistants) takes on about 50 students and conducts data analysis exercises, LTD (Learning Through Discussions), and other activities.

    SAs are trained seniors who provide education assistance to juniors together with professors to promote their learning. Twenty-four SAs are actively participating in this subject. Most in-person sessions are held by SAs.

    In the first session, they checked the syllabus after breaking the ice, and let students discuss the significance of data science studies. A study group that engages in out-of-class studies was also formed by volunteers.

    The following comments were made by students who took this course.
    ●It was very homey and fun! The explanation of data science in the online video was easy to understand. I was bewildered at first because there were many technical terms I was not familiar with, but I deepened my understanding gradually as I watched it for the second and third time! I’m looking forward to the next class. (Department of Primary Education, first-year, Female)
    ●I was surprised and delighted that “strangers who came to take the same class” became “friends I study with” after having had an opportunity to introduce ourselves. (Department of Law, fest-year, Female)
    ●By participating in the study group, I met people from the same faculty with whom I can support and encourage each other and I am truly happy about that! At first, I was hesitant about whether or not to participate, but now, I am glad that I have. (Department of Business Administration, first-year, Female)

    One of the SAs (Department of Business Administration, third-year, Male) who held an in-person session as a senior said, “It was so fun that I felt becoming an SA was the right decision. The time flew by so fast. I was anxious and nervous about various things before the class started, but the students taking this class all participated proactively, and the class ran more smoothly than I had expected. It went really well. I was also very surprised that the class atmosphere became a lot more cheerful when the class began. Seeing the students loosen up and engage in the class with gusto cheered me up a lot. Working as an SA increases my motivation for other classes. Classes will soon be in full swing, and I think the course content will become more difficult, but I intend to support the students so that no one gets left behind.”

    This subject complies with the “Mathematics, Data Science, and AI (Literacy Level) Model Curriculum (Japan Inter-University Consortium for Mathematics & Data Science Education).” The efforts for the data science education taken by Soka University are certified by the Mathematics, Data Science, and AI Smart Higher Education Programs Certification System (Literacy Level) promoted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology.