Curricular Innovation

Precollege and Undergraduate Science Education Program Award to Macalester

Paul Overvoorde
Program Director
Olin-Rice 211

In a multidisciplinary undertaking, faculty will infuse computational principles and data fundamentals into the science curriculum, encouraging students to take on the challenges of Big Data. Faculty development and curricular innovations will gestate through the Computation and Visualization Consortium (CVC), led initially by science faculty at Macalester and Calvin College. An inaugural workshop took place at Calvin College June 12-14, 2013.  Macalester faculty and their counterparts at five other liberal arts colleges comprise the consortium. During the summer of 2014, the Consortium will host an "introductory" workshop for first-time participants and an "advanced" workshop for last year's participants.

Building on the activities of the CVC workshops, Macalester faculty will design a flexible framework for curricular innovation to insure that students encounter core principles of data structure, computation, and visualization multiple times in a variety of disciplinary settings. These principles will be introduced in Data and Computation Fundamentals (DCF course), a freestanding, one-credit course. The common vocabulary and basic computational principles introduced in this course will anchor subsequent data-related activities in disciplinary courses.  Dr. Danny Kaplan and Dr. Libby Shoop piloted this course in the spring of 2013 and will be offering two sections of it in the spring of 2014.  You can explore the syllabus at this link.