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  5. An investigation into the way Jupyter Notebooks enhance learning and teaching on TM351

An investigation into the way Jupyter Notebooks enhance learning and teaching on TM351

Project leader(s): 
Sharon Dawes and Chris Thomson

TM351 (Data Management and Analysis) has used Jupyter (2019) notebooks for practical work from its inception in 2016. This web based tool enables students to embed program code and associated discussion in a notebook in the style of a lab book (Appendix B) so that they can explain what they were doing and why. Teaching materials include notebooks in the same style, to explain a concept and then show its practical application such that the example can be run. In this way students can return to a project at a later stage and if their notes were sufficient, they or another researcher can repeat the work and study how valid their assumptions were as well as whether their conclusions in a report were justified.

The project will investigate how students divide their time between theoretical reading on the TM351 module website and practical work using notebooks, both as a part of their learning, and then practice for their final report. It will explore to what extent their use of the notebooks reinforces their learning or extends their knowledge. It will look at  whether there is any relationship between  where they are currently studying and  what computing devices they have available when the student works at home, at work or on the go that might affect their ability to undertake practical work using notebooks as opposed to theoretical reading using other provided materials.

The research questions the project will answer are:

  • Does the use of notebooks effectively support students in their studies of the module learning outcomes?
  • Do notebooks allow the students to integrate theory and practice?
  • Do students have technological problems in using notebooks?
  • Does the use of notebooks dictate when and where students are able to study?
  • Is the use of notebooks restricted by accessibility constraints?

Dawes, S. and Thomson, C. (2019) project poster (PDF)