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Data analytics curriculum for the classroom

University of Illinois-Deloitte Foundation Center for Business Analytics

​The University of Illinois-Deloitte Foundation Center for Business Analytics provides free online data analytics curriculum to help advance business education.

University of Illinois-Deloitte Foundation Center for Business Analytics

The University of Illinois-Deloitte Foundation Center for Business Analytics (The Center) was launched through a grant from the Deloitte Foundation to advance business analytics education by helping provide students with the data knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to become highly-trained business leaders. With curriculum designed by faculty at University of Illinois, Gies College of Business, The Center is a collaborative effort that brings together representatives from all of Deloitte’s businesses and the Deloitte Foundation to provide guidance through a practice lens and strengthen the connection between academia and the profession.​

Corporations around the world recognize that one way to stay competitive in the marketplace is to hire more employees with a business analytics education. Gies College of Business and the Deloitte Foundation are taking leadership roles to help other schools incorporate business analytics into their curriculum and help students from across the country be better equipped for success.

–Robert Brunner, director of the University of Illinois-Deloitte Foundation
Center for Business Analytics and associate dean for Innovation
and chief disruption officer Gies College of Business

The modern world of accounting and business is changing rapidly. Data is everywhere, and that data is constantly changing. Accounting and business professionals use business analytics to answer complex questions. The data analytics curriculum can help prepare students to use data effectively today, but also help prepare them for a dynamic future.

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Courses in Foundations of Data Analytics

​The first course in Foundations of Data Analytics, released in April 2019, is free, online, and accessible to anyone who wants to leverage it for their educational mission. Each module contains multiple lessons and was designed by faculty at University of Illinois, Gies College of Business. The course consists of 60 hours of curriculum broken up into eight modules that can be used on their own or integrated into existing curriculum:

  • Module #1: Foundations (6 hrs, 30 min)
  • Module #2: Introduction to Python Programming (8 hrs, 30 min)
  • Module #3: Introduction to Data Analysis (6 hrs, 30 min)
  • Module #4: Statistical Data Analysis (8 hrs, 30 min)
  • Module #5: Introduction to Visualization (6 hrs, 30 min)
  • Module #6: Introduction to Probability (7 hrs, 30 min)
  • Module #7: Exploring Two-Dimensional Data (8 hrs, 30 min)
  • Module #8: Introduction to Kernel Density Estimation (7 hrs, 30 min)

The eight modules in the second course in Foundations of Data Analytics, released in December 2019, will build a practical foundation for machine learning by teaching students basic tools and techniques that can scale to large computational systems and massive data sets. Topics include algorithms, overfitting and regularization, clustering, anomaly detection, and more.

  • Module #1: Introduction to Machine Learning
  • Module #2: Fundamental Algorithms
  • Module #3: Practical Concepts in Machine Learning
  • Module #4: Overfitting and Regularization
  • Module #5: Fundamental Probabilistic Algorithms
  • Module #6: Feature Engineering
  • Module #7: Introduction to Clustering
  • Module #8: Introduction to Anomaly Detection

Each of eight modules consists of multiple lessons, which each contain a video explaining the lesson content, external reading(s), and included course Jupyter notebooks. Each module also includes a quiz (or assessment) that tests basic mastery of the lesson contents, and a programming assignment that tests synthesis of the lesson contents.

Content and materials were designed by faculty at University of Illinois, Gies College of Business. To learn more and access the course information, visit the Courses page on The Center’s website. For more information on the Center, contact Kristy Chernick.

The curriculum is free and
available online.

Case Studies

Data Analytics Case Studies
The Center offers three case studies developed by faculty at the University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business which are designed to identify and address applications of data analytics in today’s business environment. The cases can be inserted directly into data analytics curriculum and offer students the opportunity to use data in important and practical ways.

Topics covered in the case studies include customer segmentation, introduction to databases for accountants, and data analysis.

Mini-Case Studies
The Center has also released five mini-case studies, which are designed to build up students’ understanding of a management control system (MCS) and their data analytics skills in investigating MCS-related issues. The five mini-case studies focus on the following areas:

Control Tools

  1. Holding people accountable for results – “Results control”
  2. Identifying, selecting, hiring, promoting the right employees – “Personnel control”
  3. Promoting the right type of cultures and norms – “Cultural control”

Data Analytics Skills

  1. Operationalizing a big control issue and disaggregating into specific data questions
  2. Properly asking managers or employees to answer these specific questions
  3. Designing a data structure to collect archival records to answer specific questions
  4. Critically evaluating the meaning of the data pattern
  5. Clearly communicating your results to decision makers in the organization

Content and materials were designed by faculty at University of Illinois, Gies College of Business. To learn more and access the case studies, visit the Case Studies page on The Center’s website. For more information on the Center, contact Kristy Chernick.

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