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Jennifer Turns

Autumn 2021

Supporting critical capacities in data science through online interactions

Note: This DRG is at capacity for autumn and no longer accepting applications.

In today's increasingly data-driven world, the ability to ask and answer questions with data is incredibly important. Effectively working with data requires both technical skills like programming and statistical knowledge as well as non-technical skills like the ability to ask good questions and form arguments. However, formal training programs and resources often emphasize technical skills but only rarely support the development of non-technical capacities. How can we design to help people learn these skills via informal, participatory, and creative online interactions? 

In this directed research group (DRG), we will study the practices and challenges in online data science hobbyist communities and explore design solutions to support question-asking, exploration, and communication with data. Over the course of the autumn quarter, we will: (1) conduct research interviews with members of online data science hobbyist communities, (2) analyze interview data and contribute our findings to HCI and learning science literatures, and (3) brainstorm design solutions. Although plans are not firm, we plan to continue the group in winter and spring quarters for those that are interested in continuing.

This DRG will be led by PhD student Regina Cheng with guidance from Dr. Jennifer Turns in HCDE and Dr. Benjamin Mako Hill in Communication. The group will be run for 3-6 dedicated masters or advanced undergraduate students. The course will provide UW 400 or 500-level course credit in either COM or HCDE. Participation in the group will provide 2-5 credits with the expectation that students will spend approximately 3 hours per week on the course per credit. We will meet at a time that is convenient for all the participants. This DRG will be completely virtual and the meeting link will be sent prior to the first meeting. Please contact Regina Cheng at if you have any questions. 

Note: This DRG is at capacity for autumn and no longer accepting applications.

Dr. Turns' Research Group archive