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Getting to know technologies of future knowledge work

The Academic Initiative programme makes IBM’s technologies and course materials available to teaching and research at the university for free.
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There is a huge amount of information available today, but it is often fragmented in different systems. To understand and analyse the information, we need comprehensive expertise and knowledge architecture, a uniform foundation on which information management and analytics systems are built.

Now that Aalto University has joined IBM’s Academic Initiative programme, tools and course material from several areas of information management from compiling statistics to analysing and reporting information are available to students and researchers.

‘IBM is a global operator, whose products people know everywhere, and it is therefore useful also for students to have an understanding of them,’ says Dean Jouko Lampinen. ‘In addition, the other possibilities provided by IBM, such as different grants and awards, are available to students in a whole new way thanks to the collaboration.’

Through the programme, IBM can participate in the education of future experts and research collaboration in areas in which it shares technologies with the university.

‘We want to support universities by making our expertise available through lecturers, course material and technological solutions,’ says Maarit Palo, the executive responsible for University Relations at IBM Nordic.

‘It is in everyone’s interest that students have the best possible knowledge work skills and the most recent knowledge when they move to the world of work. As regards research, bringing together our staff and the researchers is also valuable’, says Maarit Palo.

Advanced analytics tools for students to use

The course material provided by the Academic Initiative programme can be used for inspiration or the material can be used as a part of a course.

For example, in the Management Information Systems course at the bachelor’s level in the School of Business, students complete the certificate for IBM’s Watson Analytics programme on the open online course of BigDataUniversity.com. The software enables independently producing and processing analytics of large datasets.

‘The user interface in Watson Analytics understands natural language. It has been designed for regular business users and students are not required to have any programming skills to be able to conduct analyses, either,’ says Senior University Lecturer Johanna Bragge, the leader of the course.

Analytics tools are in wider use in the master’s level course Data Science for Business, which is open not only to master’s students of Information and Service Management, but also to all master’s students minoring in Analytics and Data Science at Aalto University. Both the cloud-based IBM Bluemix application development platform and the more traditional SPSS Modeler, which introduces students to the basics of data mining and predictive modelling, are used in the course.

Visiting lecturers from IBM, introducing the most recent examples of applications in data-analytics, cognitive information processing and the Internet of Things, have for years played an important part in both courses.

‘The working life perspective provided by the Academic Initiative programme will further increase the understanding, working life skills and intellectual capital of the students – the future experts,’ adds Johanna Bragge.

Also, read the article Digi knowledge from an online shop to data analysis
 

Photo: Lasse Lecklin

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