I was approached by Bob Kolvoord and Jon Miles around the Fall 2007 semester about developing a course in Data Mining to be taught as a two-week unit in the developing MSISAT SERM program in Malta. Over the next two years I worked with Michel Camilleri and Chris Staff, both faculty at the University of Malta to select a text and develop a syllabus that would both be feasible in a two-week period and also be pitched at an appropriate level for students in the SERM program who have a broad range of technical backgrounds and expertise.
I have traveled to Malta twice, once during the Spring 2009 semester to meet with Michel and Chris to plan the course, and then again in the Spring 2011 semester to actually teach the course. My delivery of the course was so effective that I have been asked to take over the course on an annual basis instead of semi-annually as first conceived.
It is challenging to pack what is normally a full semester course into a two-week period, and still teach enough content to make the course practical and useful to students. Since several of the students in this year’s Malta program chose to add data mining components to their theses, I consider my efforts to have been quite successful. The final projects completed by the students in animal classification, tensile strength of concrete prediction, and classification of wines were truly interesting and fun to absorb.