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LSBU informatics students hit the jackpot in assignment for Big Lottery Fund

LSBU's Computer Science and Informatics Department set students a challenge of analysing and interpreting grants data for the Big Lottery Fund
12 June 2015

First-year informatics students have used the latest in analytics technology for their first-year assessments, working with the Big Lottery Fund on a data interpretation challenge.

Students were given a raw set of data showing the dates, amounts and recipients of Big Lottery Fund grants from 2004 onwards. Their brief was to work in groups to create a visual dashboard for the Big Lottery Fund, illustrating the key findings, trends and breakdowns in the data that would provide the organisation with new business intelligence and insight.

Students used IBM's intuitive Watson Analytics technology to prepare their dashboards, which they then presented to a panel of industry experts, including Simon Marshall, Senior Policy and Learning Manager, the Big Lottery Fund, Andy Hamflett, Director, AAM Associates and Matthew Robinson, Solutions Architect at IBM.

Following the dashboard presentations and a student vote, three teams were selected as challenge winners. These and two other high scoring teams will visit the headquarters of the Big Lottery Fund later in the year to present their findings to key staff.

Matthew Robinson, IBM, commented: "What's interesting is how all the groups approached the task in different ways, using their imagination to draw some powerful conclusions. Data science is a big growth area and these students' skills can help businesses make better use of the data they've got, quickly and easily." Andy Hamflett, AAM Associates, continued: "Connecting data science students with real-world problems is great because it encourages fresh thinking," to which Simon Marshall, Big Lottery Fund, added: "I was impressed by how well the students understood what the data meant, they really knew how to join the dots."

The challenge was designed to help students to make connections across all that they had learnt in their first year of study and forms part of the first-year informatics assessment process.