Imperial College London

Huge turnout for our first Online Data Science Winter School


Snapshot of the screens of students attending the Online Winter School

Students attended the Online Winter School over 3 weeks in February

The DSI and CPD partnered again with Hangzhou Yulin Technology Education to deliver a rich 3-week programme of talks, group projects and discussions.

After the success of last year’s first online Summer School, the Data Science Institute grew its offer even further. In partnership with the Centre for Continuing Professional Development at Imperial and Hangzhou Yulin Technology Education we delivered a rich programme of online lectures, group activities and interactive sessions for a cohort of 91 students, currently based in China.

The programme

The Winter School took place over 15 days, 1 -10 and 15-23 February, allowing students to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The programme was co-led by DSI researchers Chengliang Dai and Jingqing Zhang, with the support of Xiaoyu Zhang and Yuting Xing as assistant supervisors. The students – almost all undergraduates, a few just graduated, studying maths, computer science, engineering or even English – had a chance to learn from Imperial’s researchers and academics about data science and its applications.  

The programme kicked off with a fun ice-breaker data science quiz followed by a series of interactive talks covering a variety of topics such as data privacy and ethics, data economy, artificial intelligence, exploratory data analysis, machine learning and data visualisation.

During the programme, students were allocated into small groups, each with a dedicated supervisor, to work on specific projects that were presented to the entire cohort at the end of the course. They also had a chance to engage with Imperial students and researchers to discuss opportunities that a career in data science offers as well as what it is like to study at an international university in London.

Feedback and future plans

Betty Yue“It was great to see this online Winter School attract such a huge number of students from the top 10 universities across China – says Betty Yue, Head of the Centre for Continuing Professional Development (in photo).

Not only students had the opportunity to engage and interact with Imperial researchers and professors in the live online sessions, they also experienced team-based learning through the technical group projects and developed valuable professional skills to advance their studies” .

“This is the first Winter School that we developed fully online. At Imperial we are working hard to ensure that the online learning experience is as rich and engaging as in person. The high quality of the teaching was confirmed by the commitment and dedication of our students”– says Ping Huang, Programme Director and Coordinator for the Winter School at the DSI.

The students attending gave very positive responses “I have learned a lot through the programme. Thanks to all the researchers and supervisors for their help!” – said a student from Shanghai Jiaotong University, echoed by a student from Zhejiang University “Wonderful course. It enhanced my understanding of data science. It was great to listen and discuss with the professors”.
Another student from Zhejiang University is considering career opportunities in data science “This programme opens a door to the world of data science for me! Brilliant!”

Both the DSI and the CPD are gathering students’ feedback which will be used to improve the offering of the next Online Summer School, already scheduled to take place in August 2021.


Anna Cupani

Anna Cupani
Faculty of Engineering

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China, Big-data, Education
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