Workshop for Graduate Teaching Assistants for Courses on Data in Social Context
Directors: Tom Ewing and LaDale Winling, Department of History, Virginia Tech

This summer workshop for graduate teaching assistants will prepare them to teach courses on Data in Social Context, including Introduction to Data in Social Context (iDiSC) as well as upper level courses on related themes. The goal will be to train a cohort of GTA’s who will be prepared to serve as instructor of record or a teaching assistant for HIST / STS / SOC 2604 Introduction to Data in Social Context or to teach upper level courses in these departments. The workshop will devote particular attention to addressing how questions of equity and diversity intersect with data analytics and how these themes can be developed in undergraduate classrooms, These courses, once approved, will meet Pathways requirements, which means they will be open to enrollment for students across majors. Introduction to Data in Social Context has been taught by co-directors Ewing (spring 2017 and fall 2017) and Winling (spring 2018), with three sections scheduled for fall 2018. The workshop for Graduate Teaching Assistants will serve as a pilot for developing applications for external funding. A track record of directing a successful workshop that enhances skills and broadens participation will strengthen proposals for external funding.

Schedule: Workshops meet twice a week, May 16-June 20, all participants must attend all sessions, except as arranged previously with the workshop directors. GTA’ must attend the Data Visualization workshop coordinated by the library on May 29-30. GTA’s will complete relevant readings that might be used in courses. Tutorials will be arranged to introduce relevant programming languages and skills, arranged through the Athenaeum / Data programs in Library.

Participating Graduate Teaching Assistants
Nicholas Bolin (History), Samantha Fried (STS), Jing Geng (Sociology), Whitney Hayes (Sociology), Kristen Koopman (STS); Mario Khreiche (ASPECT), Emma Stamm (ASPECT), Kathryn Walters (History), Damien Williams (STS)

Remote connection (Zoom): https://virginiatech.zoom.us/j/368175175

Assigned Readings:
Jordan Ellenberg, How Not to be Wrong
Nate Silver, The Signal and the Noise
Safiya Umoja Noble, Algorithms of Oppression
Virginia Eubanks, Automating Inequality
Orwell, 1984

Outcomes:

Each GTA will contribute to developing syllabi for classes listed below. The syllabi must be designed to allow various faculty, instructors, and graduate teaching assistants to teach the course. Syllabi need to meet designated Pathways requirements while also advancing the goals of the Data in Social Context program: 1) Introduction to Data in Social Context; 2) Data and Diversity in Historical Context; 3) Topics in the History of Data in Social Context; 4) Capstone Data in Social Context. GTA’s will also contribute to a pool of resources for Data in Social Context, including tools, data sources, problem sets, discussion questions, etc. GTA’s will present at a forum on June 18, open to invited guests.

Links: Syllabus iDiSC: Fall 2017 (Ewing), May 15 session