Planting the Seeds for Data Literacy: Lessons Learned from a Student-Centered Education Program

  • Jake Carlson
  • Marianne Stowell Bracke


There is an increasing need for graduate students to acquire competencies in managing and curating their data sets as a part of their education. Librarians and other information professionals are beginning to respond to this need by developing programming, but as of yet there are few models to follow and the impact on the practices of students is under-explored. This case study presents a student-centered pilot program on data literacy offered at Purdue University. The program was offered through the College of Agriculture and was structured to be flexible enough to incorporate each student’s particular field of study. Exercises and assignments were designed to incorporate the student’s own research data to create meaningful, authentic learning experiences. Formative and summative assessment was a critical component of the program, which included interviews with students six months after completion of the program to determine the extent to which the data competencies covered had taken root in students’ research practices. The structure of the pilot program, its strengths and weakness, its impact on students, and lessons learned by the instructors are discussed.

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