In today's data-driven world, organizations rely heavily on big data for crucial insights and business solutions. With the advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence, data analytics has become an essential competency for organizations' viability. However, the use of big data and data analytics also raises ethical questions regarding privacy, surveillance, and responsible decision-making. Recognizing the significance of these issues, Radboud University has revamped its Business Administration Master’s elective course, "Data-driven analytics for responsible business solutions (DARBS)," to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate the complexities of the data-driven landscape.
Embracing the Power of Data:
At Radboud University, our commitment goes beyond educating students in technical knowledge; we aim to instill a sense of critical reflection and societal impact. To achieve this, we have integrated the Azure Edu Hub and PowerBI platforms into our revamped course. These interactive platforms provide students with technical information, realistic databases, and customizable learning experiences tailored to our objectives. Moreover, the platforms offer a gamified environment for students to practice their skills, explore advanced content, and even pursue accreditation. The course covers various topics, from technical artificial intelligence methods to ethical considerations across multiple business contexts, such as finance, marketing, and sales.
Course Structure and Objectives:
The course structure strikes a balance between theoretical understanding, mostly on ethical and societal implications of using data analytics for business purposes and hands-on experience. It begins with a crash course that offers a "big picture" view of data and algorithms, followed by weekly lab sessions where students individually engage in practical assignments. These assignments allow students to delve into data analytics tools and familiarize themselves with the techniques they will use for their final assignment – the Capstone Project. Throughout the course, students are encouraged to critically reflect on their data analytical actions, visualizations, learning process, business solutions, and ethical implications.
Key Learning Outcomes:
Upon completing the course, students can expect to:
Gain a comprehensive understanding of data analytics and data-driven decision-making.
Acquire knowledge about the social, economic, political, and ethical concerns surrounding data analytics.
Develop critical thinking skills to visualize and explain data analytics outcomes in an understandable manner.
Translate data analytics insights into responsible business solutions and recommendations.
Reflect on their own learning process and growth throughout the course.
Course Highlights and Topics:
The course comprises one lecture, two guest lectures by Microsoft officers, and five ’lab sessions’ (tutorials), covering the following topics:
Introduction to PowerBI and data analytics.
AI Strategy and Responsible AI: Exploring the transformational impact of AI in the financial services sector and ensuring trustworthy technology utilization.
Ethics for (Big) Data and Data Analytics: Addressing ethical dilemmas and considerations in the realm of big data and analytics.
Building Predictive Models with AutoML: Utilizing Azure Machine Learning Designer and AutoML to construct predictive models and navigate biases and responsible AI concerns.
Data Modeling with Structured Data Using Power BI Desktop: Mastering data visualization techniques to effectively communicate insights and considering ethical implications.
Data Modeling with Unstructured Data Using Power BI Desktop: Tackling the complexities of unstructured data analysis and its applications across different industries.
Final Assessment and Reflection:
For their final assessment, the Capstone Project, students are provided access to a simulated dataset of a fictious company named FitCapacity –a global company that sells bikes, components (parts), outdoor clothing and some other accessories. FitCapacity was once founded by Ken Sanchez, now CEO and CFO of the company. FitCapacity has stores all over the world. The students are tasked with addressing a specific topic of their choice, such as sales or supply chain management, and asked by FitCapacity’s Board to provide them with suggestions how to improve their business value. Students are required to produce a (Power BI) report utilizing their acquired knowledge. Additionally, students are encouraged to write a reflective blog, discussing responsible organizing, ethical issues that they have come across while creating a data-driven report, and to account for how these dilemmas were solved. The course emphasizes the importance of privacy (legislation), the limitations of classification models, tying outcomes to contextual understanding, and how the use of these outcomes in boardroom decision making processes can have ethical consequences (for example, particular customer groups being disadvantaged).
Positive Student Feedback and Future Prospects:
Feedback from students who participated in the revamped course has been overwhelmingly positive, particularly among those who have experienced PowerBI and the Microsoft ecosystem in industry settings.
Students appreciate the focus on responsible digitalization and ethics, feeling more confident in discussing and addressing related topics. Furthermore, exceptional blogs were rewarded with the opportunity to obtain the PL300 PowerBI Data Analyst certification.
Radboud University's commitment to providing students with the necessary skills and knowledge for their future careers is exemplified in the revamped course, "Data-driven analytics for responsible business solutions (DARBS)" By incorporating the Azure Edu Hub and PowerBI platforms, students are empowered to navigate the complexities of the data-driven landscape responsibly. The collaboration between Radboud University and Microsoft has been instrumental in shaping the course and optimizing the learning outcomes. As we continue to refine and improve the course, we look forward to fostering a long-term cooperation between the Microsoft team and Radboud University, ensuring a responsible and impactful data-driven future. More importantly however, we appreciate the tremendous support and patience we have received from the many officers at Microsoft. Namely, Lee Stott, Olanrewaju Oyinbooke, Someleze Diko, Anne Kockx, and Frank de Beer to name a few. They have been pivotal in helping us setup and shape the platform to optimize and align with the learning outcomes of course and those of the university. We look forward to sharing our student’s feedback about the course and to a long-term collaboration between the Microsoft team and Radboud University.
Berber Pas and Karim Sidaoui
Check out the Some Projects Documented by the Students