FAMU Awarded $320K for Research on Adaptive Distributed Learning of Data Science

October 17, 2022
Dr. Clement Yedjou, Ph.D.
FAMU Awarded $320K for Research on Adaptive Distributed Learning of Data Science

Clement G. Yedjou, Ph.D., associate professor of biological sciences at FAMU, is the project leader.

Florida A&M University (FAMU) has been awarded $320,000 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of a collaborative research project that aims to improve undergraduate data science education using adaptive distributed learning methods.

The project involves faculty and students at three other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Clement G. Yedjou, Ph.D., an associate professor of biological sciences at FAMU, will lead the project at FAMU and oversee the project activities with three co-principal investigators, including Raphael Isokpehi, Ph.D., at Bethune-Cookman University (BCU), Felicite Noubissi, Ph.D., at Jackson State University (JSU), and Shaneka Simmons, Ph.D., at Jarvis Christian College (JCC), based in Texas. 

“The research project has a significant impact on our data science program at FAMU and broadens the participation of underrepresented minority students in STEM disciples,” Professor Yedjou said. “Student participants will learn different aspects of scientific investigation by interacting with the faculty mentors and earn scientific knowledge that will increase their understanding of basic research by using artificial intelligence and machine learning applications to solve real-life problems.”  

Other FAMU collaborative institutions with separate awards from the National Science Foundation include the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) and the University of North Texas (UNT).

The consortium is grouped into three organizational clusters headed by ERAU, FAMU, and UNT. Institutions within each cluster include BCU, California State University at Los Angeles, Hampden-Sydney College, JSU, JCC, Lane College, Morgan State University, and Simmons University. Each institution will teach one or two data science courses online through the use of ADL, Yedjou said. 

The proposed project aims to use distributed learning (DL) technology to combine resources in 11 diverse universities and construct a pipeline to recruit, educate, and graduate data science (DS) mini-bachelor certificates (MBC), minors, and majors by June 2025.  

FAMU College of Science and Technology Dean Richard Alo, Ph.D., said Professor Yedjou’s grant and its focus on big data science and engineering and the artificial intelligence (AI) tools that go with it is an exciting opportunity for engaging and bringing our students to the frontiers of today’s workforce needs. 

“The College of Science and Technology is at the helm of providing new collaborative and distributed, interactive learning environments.  Today’s workforce requires this as the cyber and data-enabled sciences are the foundation for our advancing digital professions, for example, in the high-demand cybersecurity field, etc,” said Alo.  “Data Science, with its impact on every discipline, is fundamental for all our students’ education.  Moreover, his data science focus on the biology domain provides our students with a foundation to study the emerging new frontiers in biology.”

As part of the project, the team will: 

*Create a decentralized infrastructure for sustainable inter-institution collaboration and use data-driven competence-based learning assessment to identify best DL practices.    

*Develop a data hub and an artificial intelligence (AI)-augmented learning management systems (LMS) with the courseware for DS courses to transfer the DL standard and technologies from the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative of the U.S. Department of Defense to personalized learning at an academic setting.

*Deliver faculty training courses for DL pedagogy and a hybrid annual conference for students and faculty members to give presentations and publish findings. 

*Offer 10 courses to the coalition’s students, a two-week summer research workshop to the selected students with faculty representation, and award MBC. The two-week workshop focuses on the analysis of data generated during the academic year in network DS courses. Each student participant will receive a stipend of $1,750.