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Paper: Practical Informatics: Training the Next Generation
Volume: 475, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XXII
Page: 3
Authors: Brunner, R. J.
Abstract: A commonly discussed yet infrequently addressed problem in the scientific community is the inadequate training our students receive in dealing with large data, a subject more popularly known as informatics. Yet as presented by the late Jim Gray, we now have a fourth paradigm for scientific research, namely data intensive science. Over the last few years, I have tried to address this educational deficiency at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Initially, I added relevant informatics content into the standard Astronomy curricula in order to increase the student's exposure to this new paradigm. Realizing that this was merely a band-aid solution, I next created and offered a new course, entitled Practical Informatics for the Physical Sciences that was warmly received by undergraduate and graduate students in several science and engineering disciplines. More recently, I have been tasked by the University with expanding this material into an online course to introduce informatics concepts and techniques to a wider audience. In this paper, I present my initial motivation for adopting informatics material into the Astronomy curricula, my thoughts and experiences in developing the Practical Informatics course, lessons learned from the entire process, and my progress in developing a new, online informatics course. I hope that others can make use of these lessons to more broadly improve the training of the next generation of scientists.
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