"Fit for Big Data" - Fellowship for innovation in digital teaching methods

  picture of code Copyright: Wellmann Schematic concept for the use of Jupyter Notebooks with different levels of abstraction.

Prof. Wellmann received a fellowship on "Innovation in Digital Higher Education" in 2018. With this support we extended digital teaching methods for our own courses, and provided methods to introduce advanced teaching concepts for numerical methods in the entire department.

The motivation for this project lies in the increasing availability of large amounts of data in the geosciences. With this increasing flood of data, it is also necessary to be able to process it in a scientifically sound and efficient manner.

However, quantitative data analysis and scientific programming have hardly gained a foothold in the geosciences at RWTH Aachen University. The CGRE, as a scientific interface between geosciences, computer science and mathematics, unites the core competences of the different disciplines in order to teach the students of the geosciences scientific programming.

The Fellowship "Fit for'Big Data'" helps us to develop methods that enable students to gradually learn programming languages and concepts interactively. For this purpose we use "Jupyter Notebooks", which have been used in the teaching of the institute for some time. Experience shows that students are initially particularly deterred by the programming language itself, i.e. the writing of code.

"Meet students where they are": According to this guiding principle, we develop a learning and programming platform in which (a) the inhibition threshold for students is reduced by a gradual entry with interactive programming methods, (b) the students have the possibility to work directly together on projects through cloud computing. The important aspect of innovation is that the latest methods around "Jupyter Notebooks" are adapted and optimized especially for teaching - with the aim that students learn the meaning and potential of scientific programming in a playful way.

The whole Proposal for the Fellowship is available here.