Learn More About Data, Design, and Tech at Wintersession!

For the first time in Princeton University’s history, and in response to student surveys and interest, the 2020–2021 academic calendar will include a University-wide Wintersession that will take place over the winter break from January 18 to January 31, 2021. Princeton’s Wintersession is a two-week experience in which the entire Princeton community—including undergraduate students, graduate students, staff, and faculty—is invited to participate in non-graded learning and growth opportunities. In this inaugural year, proposals for Wintersession courses were submitted by faculty and student groups across campus, and ranged from intensive workshops that meet everyday to single session events. Below, you can find a list of Wintersession offerings that are relevant to the work we do at CDH, including sessions on design, data visualization and databases, innovative research strategies, coding, and digital activism. Registration is open until November 20.

screenshot from Wintersession websiteDesign for Good

This Wintersession course will explore ethical design methodologies using social media as a case study. Participants will learn why straightforward technological solutions to social problems are often not just ineffective at their stated goal, but may actually harm the communities in which they are deployed. Participants will be introduced to design justice principles, which aim to create effective and ethical solutions to social problems. Participants will then apply these methodologies to design a social media platform that promotes equity and community while avoiding the pitfalls of existing platforms.

This is an intensive five-day workshop, facilitated by the student-led group Technology for a Just Society (JuST).

Data Analysis and Visualization for Beginners

These are hands-on workshops intended for beginners; no prior experience with data analysis is required. The workshops intend to achieve the following goals which are part of the “Anatomy of Data Analysis”: 1) Remove the fear of using a statistical package; 2) Learn how to upload data to the software; 3) Learn how to deal with raw data (collect, clean, prepare, organize); and 4) Learn how to make sense of data. The journey to achieve those goals will be through the collection and analysis of data in both numeric and text form. We will go over some basic descriptive statistics, data visualization, and basic models. The plan is to dedicate two days to R, two days to Python, and one day for Stata. 

This is an intensive five-day workshop, facilitated by Oscar Torres-Reyna (PUL).

May I Join You?: Database 101

In this course, you will learn the basics of databases and how they structure your data. You will learn about tables and how linking them with relationships will deliver so much meaning to what you collect. At the end of the course, you will have constructed your own data schematic that you can take to any database platform, even if it’s simply multiple sheets in an Excel file.

This is a double two-day workshop, facilitated by Jeff Heller (East Asian Studies).

Democratizing Data Through Open Research

In this session, we’ll share stories of progress in research through open practices and data that took on lives beyond their original projects. We’ll talk about some of the challenges of good data stewardship and the tools and practices that researchers use to help overcome them. This session is for anyone interested in open data—either because they’ve heard about it and want to know more, or they are already passionate about the power of sharing open data.

This will be a lecture style session (webinar format) with the opportunity for audience participation via mentimeter. The presenters will share open data success stories and challenges and invite participants to provide input and stories of working with data. This session is presented by members of the Princeton Research Data Service (PRDS), a new initiative to provide Princeton’s diverse research community with the expert services and infrastructure to support the open data practices and the effective management, curation, and preservation of digital research data.

Digital Demands: Media and Protests

With the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement this past summer, discussions of activism and civil rights movements once again dominated American political discourse. In this Wintersession immersion program put forward by Breakout Princeton, we will grapple with these issues, their historical underpinnings, and their political implications in a discussion-based setting. We will hear from individuals ranging from activists to academics who study protest and social equity movements. Additionally, while focusing heavily on the BLM movement and its predecessors, we will also take a look at student activism and protests at Princeton and other universities and international protests in countries such as India and Belarus. Finally, we will also focus on looking at social movements and protests through the lens of media, including through television shows and video games. In the end, participants will walk away with a new community of activist friends and an actionable framework to learn and engage more in activism in their own communities, including Princeton.

This is an intensive five-day workshop, facilitated by Breakout Princeton Board.

Raspberry Pi Kit Workshop

In this beginner friendly workshop, we'll cover the basics of how to use a Raspberry Pi and offer a peek into its history. You'll receive a kit in the mail to follow along the tutorials with us. After the initial welcome presentation on January 18, you can continue to explore the range of activities available through the operating system and the kit on your own. The organizers will continue to provide support via Slack, Zoom, and email for any questions you may have about the kit.

This workshop is facilitated by Brendan Byrne, StudioLab, and the Council on Science and Technology.

Exploring Medieval Art with the Index

Have you ever wondered what representations of cats or dragons looked like in thirteenth-century England? What kinds of images might one see in a Hebrew illuminated manuscript? Or what stories are told in images on late antique tombs from Rome or the walls of Byzantine monuments? For the past century, the Index of Medieval Art, a research center in the Department of Art & Archaeology, has been developing a thematic archive and database aimed at answering these questions. This workshop will show participants not just what types of art historical data can be found in the database, but how to locate and interpret the Index’s records to learn more about the Middle Ages. It offers the opportunity to learn about visual traditions and to think creatively about medieval themes and topics, all while building new research skills and discovering a resource on the Princeton campus that they might have never heard of.

This is a one-day workshop offered on January 21, and is facilitated by Art History Specialists Maria Alessia Rossi and Jessica Savage.

Archives for Historical Research

Are you planning to work in the historical professions? Are you planning to do research in an archive? Archival research skills are invaluable to a professional historian. Librarians from Firestone Library will be providing a systematic introduction to a variety of topics in archival research including: Identifying archives relevant to your area of research; Understanding finding aids, shelf lists, and other tools used in archives and special collections; Creating research plans to increase the efficiency of a visit to one or more archives or special collections; Finding funding opportunities for a research trip

This is a one-day workshop offered on January 19, and will be facilitated by Firestone Librarians Alain St. Pierre, Steve Knowlton, and Deborah Schlein.

Fixing Bugs in Democracy: Gerrymandering

We propose to break down the Wintersession into multiple classes: law, data, and policy. Predominantly, the sessions will focus on the unique data and legal problems which are present in gerrymandering. Among these: "How do we know if a district is gerrymandered?" "Can we prove that such a district would be better off with a different shape?" "How does the history of the Voting Rights Act interconnect with gerrymandering?" "What is the role of data in redistricting justice?" "What is the best strategy for systemic outreach in the problem of unfair districting?" Our outcome is to create informed, interested citizens who have the tools to fight gerrymandering. We propose a combination of hands-on and lecture pedagogy. Furthermore, we hope to run a simulation at the end of the class, a "boiler room," which would echo real-world redistricting situations.

This is an intensive 5-day workshop facilitated by Jason Rhode, the national coordinator for Princeton University’s Gerrymandering Project.

Intro to Machine Learning

This course will introduce students to the conceptual foundations of machine learning (ML) and will describe a range of modern supervised and unsupervised ML methods. We will discuss the advantages, limitations, and appropriate uses of each and learn how to implement them using the Python Keras ML library. This course is appropriate for students with some exposure to coding and will require a small amount of initial setup (installing Python and Keras). The material will be especially useful for students who want to implement ML methods for research or quantitative projects, but is open to all who are interested.

This is an intensive 5-day workshop facilitated by Savannah Thais, a postdoctoral researcher in Research Computing at Princeton.

Information Access, Wikipedia, and You

Wikipedia - you use it, I use it, and the world uses this rich resources for free access to information. Join this workshop to get an overview of the scope of Wikipedia, from portals to projects, Talk pages to assessment, and to associated groups like WikiData, WIkiJournals, and WikiEdu. Learn about how to engage with Wikipedia in your everyday life and consider the implications of having access to credible, free information, and who is creating this information.

This is a one-day workshop offered on January 25, and is led by the Biology Librarian at Princeton.

Bridging Science and Social Good

This session will challenge STEM majors and enthusiasts to explore the intersections of their field with social issues. What so many of us love about science is its potential to improve the world, but this can be threatened by the biases we bring to it as human practitioners, whether through the historic exploitation of disadvantaged bodies in medical research, the complex geopolitics of sourcing materials for cutting-edge electronics, or the risk of further codifying prejudice through machine learning. In this session, we will take a step back to reflect on scientific research as a human enterprise and to consider STEM in cultural context. We hope students will walk away thinking about questions and ideas that will ultimately equip them to do better science.

This is a double two-day workshop, facilitated by Nikita Dutta and Julienne LaChance, both rising 5th year PhD students in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering.

Multimedia Story-telling Basics

How do you tell a short visual story with minimal equipment? With smart phone camera technology getting better and better, we want to instruct on visual storytelling with a mobile device. There’s no need for fancy camera equipment to tell your story. This is a relevant topic since we as consumers are flooded with constant visual content on social media. We will show you how to create simple visual content whether for class, work or just for fun. You'll walk away from this workshop with a short multimedia package that runs under one minute.

This is a double two-day workshop facilitated by Danielle Alio and Denielle Avila from the Office of Communications.

Everything you wanted to know about Agile and were afraid to ask 

Originally invented as a project methodology for software development, Agile is now being used in organizations for a myriad of non-software projects. It is also used in school and home projects. The philosophy of Agile is to have a user centric approach, and work collaboratively in short time-boxed cycles. The focus is on transparent communication, and continuous improvement from all perspectives: deliverable/s, individuals, and relationships. Instead of spending significant time planning up-front, this methodology requires a shift in the mindset to embrace change at any point in time. A key to project success is the ability to quickly adapt due to changing requirements, resources, time constraints, and other factors. This session will give you an overview of the methodology and enable you to kick-start your project using Agile.

This is a one-day workshop offered on January 27th or January 29th, and will be facilitated by Eemaan Siddiqi from Princeton’s Office of Information Technology and the User Experience Office.

Code Profiling in Python and R

Looking for ways to improve the performance of the code that you write? This session will cover best practices for how to bottlenecks in the code that consume more than expected amount of resources. Join us for this intermediate level code profiling session, geared toward those who have had at least some exposure to coding. We will primarily focus on Python and R with some hands-on exercises.

This is a one-day workshop offered on January 29th, and will be facilitated by Abhishek Biswas from the Princeton Research Computing Bootcamp.

[graphic: Princeton Weekly Bulletin]

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