What is the Instructor Advisory Board (IAB)?
DataCamp’s mission is to democratize data science education and improve data fluency around the world. To achieve this mission, we need the guidance and expertise of the global data science community. We are very fortunate that so many within the data science community are DataCamp instructors. DataCamp is establishing an Instructor Advisory Board (IAB) to engage and learn from DataCamp instructors as well as build and strengthen our community together in the years to come.
As described in this blog post, part of the initial focus for the IAB members will be to review and provide feedback on the findings and recommendations of the independent third-party review and provide input to DataCamp's Board of Directors.
DataCamp's long term vision for the IAB is to leverage its unique position to advise DataCamp on developing the best possible data science learning experience and community for learners worldwide. Discussions with many instructors on the IAB confirmed this vision.
The IAB should strive to strengthen DataCamp's curriculum so that both the teaching and learning experiences are continuously improved and optimized. The hope is that the IAB will become a valuable partner to both DataCamp and its learners in this capacity. Through this partnership, the IAB can help ensure that DataCamp stays at the forefront of the most advanced thinking in data science and analytics.
The IAB will regularly provide valuable feedback and recommendations regarding DataCamp’s curriculum roadmap and pedagogical approach. It will also focus on improving communication with the instructor community and ensuring long term alignment between DataCamp and the instructor community.
It will be comprised of active and diverse members of our instructor community who are focused on working with DataCamp to improve the teaching and learning experience, that operate under principles that reflect the inclusiveness of the community, as well as move the company and the community forward together.
How Does the IAB Work?
In its first year, the IAB includes eleven instructors who are active and respected members of the data science community at large and represent the diverse and varied interests of DataCamp’s learner and instructor community.
In terms of cadence and governance, the IAB will meet quarterly or on an as-needed basis. The meetings may be held in-person or virtually. We expect the IAB to meet a minimum of four times per calendar year.
The IAB will select a chair who will help facilitate direct communication of the board’s work and recommendations to DataCamp’s CEO, VP of Content, and VP of Product, and the instructor community at large. The IAB Chair will be able to communicate with any of these DataCamp constituents freely and openly. The IAB Chair will have access to other DataCamp constituents, including the Board of Directors, as necessary.
It is also expected that our VP of Content and VP of Product will attend IAB meetings to provide relevant context and/or information as needed, but the IAB Chair will reserve the right to determine that certain topics are to be discussed with IAB members only.
The IAB may choose to provide reports and public minutes to the instructor community after every IAB meeting. Since the IAB may discuss topics that discuss personal or commercially-sensitive information that may have legal implications for communication and that may not be suitable for sharing publicly, the exact communications will be decided by the chair in consensus with DataCamp’s VP of Content.
In addition, the IAB Chair together with DataCamp’s CEO, VP of Content, and VP of Product will share a full report after each meeting with the IAB's insights and recommendations to the entire DataCamp leadership team and Board of Directors.
Finally, since the IAB is new, we are open to input and feedback as we move through our first year with an IAB. We realize that we may need to make changes down the road, and we thank you in advance for your patience.
IAB Member Selection Criteria
The IAB is comprised of active and respected members of the data science community at large, experts in their fields, and who represent the diverse and varied interests of DataCamp’s learner and instructor community. With these in mind, we sought to create a balanced IAB that represents a cross-section of our instructor base including:
- Diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity, national origin, age, and life experiences
- Diversity of thought and background
- Domain focus / expertise / technology
- Top DataCamp content performers
We have done our best to ensure a balanced and inclusive IAB. Our goal has been to have 1-2 representatives from the major technologies and topics we offer (R, Python, SQL, spreadsheets,...). If in the future we add more technologies, we expect those to be represented as well.
Why were interviews used to select IAB members?
DataCamp’s mission is to democratize data science education. Our Instructor Advisory Board is an important partner in that mission. We, therefore, want a board that is fully reflective of the expertise and experience of the instructor community, and diverse along many different dimensions (domain of expertise; pedagogical and/or process development experience; background and demographics; and other factors such as workplace and membership in community groups).
Based on consultation with the instructor community, an interview process would be the best way to bring in a rich and diverse board and account for the perspective and experience of applicants. Several instructors expressed that they would not be comfortable if the selection process turned into a popularity contest via voting.
This is the first year of the IAB, and will be a learning process with the IAB and the instructor community. We are open to using alternative selection mechanisms in future years based on the input received.
Why was the full list of applicants not published?
Initial feedback from several instructors indicated that a public application process would discourage some people from applying. DataCamp does not feel that being publicly named should be a requirement of applying. If instructors want to be visible, they are free to publicly announce that they have applied.
Interaction with DataCamp Employees
Will DataCamp employees join IAB meetings?
Yes, the VP of Content and VP of Product will attend meetings. The IAB Chair can decide that certain topics can be discussed with IAB members only.
Who is the DataCamp liaison for the IAB?
DataCamp’s VP of Content will be the primary liaison for the IAB, but the IAB Chair will have direct access to DataCamp's CEO, VP of Content, and VP of Product.
In addition, the IAB Chair will be given access to communicate with other DataCamp constituents, including the Board of Directors, as necessary.
Who governs the IAB?
The IAB is an independent advisory group that will advise DataCamp on engaging and partnering with the instructor community effectively and building the best possible data science learning experience. The IAB will help DataCamp better understand and integrate the concerns of the instructor community. The IAB will be led by a chairperson or chair, selected by IAB members.
To whom is the IAB responsible?
The IAB is responsible first to DataCamp’s instructor community and then ultimately to data science learners around the world. The IAB has been established to allow the instructor community to provide input and perspective on the best way DataCamp can support instructors, to build and strengthen the long term alignment between DataCamp and the instructor community, and to help DataCamp to create the best experience for data science learners around the world.
Reporting and Confidentiality
To whom will the IAB report their ideas and recommendations?
IAB ideas and recommendations will be shared with the DataCamp’s CEO, VP of Product, and the VP of Content. The IAB Chair will be given free access to communicate with any of these DataCamp constituents. In addition, the IAB Chair will be given access to communicate with other DataCamp constituents, including the Board of Directors, as necessary.
The IAB Chair will share together with DataCamp’s CEO, VP of Content, and VP of Product after each meeting a full report with the IAB's insights and recommendations to the entire DataCamp leadership team and Board of Directors.
How will IAB communication with the broader Instructor Community work?
The IAB may choose to provide reports and public minutes to the instructor community after every IAB meeting.
Since the IAB may discuss topics that include personal or commercially-sensitive information that may have legal implications for communication and that may not be suitable for sharing publicly, the exact communications will be decided by the Chair in consensus with the DataCamp VP of Content.
Why do the IAB members have to sign an NDA?
IAB members will be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to have access to relevant information such as commercially-sensitive product and content information.
Time and Compensation
How much money will IAB members receive?
8,000 USD per year for standard members, and 10,000 USD for the chair.
How much time will the IAB members be expected to commit to over the year?
We expect 8 to 16 hours of work per quarter per IAB member. The chair position will require some additional administrative work.
Why are IAB members compensated?
We believe it is fair and just to compensate IAB members for their time and commitment. In addition, we hope that compensation will make it possible for all instructors to apply. DataCamp believes that the IAB’s input and feedback will be critical to the company’s mission and long-term success.
IAB Responsibilities and Deliverables
What projects might IAB members work on?
The IAB members will have the freedom to choose the projects they are interested in. Some potential examples include:
- Providing feedback on DataCamp's curriculum roadmap.
- Review, feedback and participation in the independent third-party review.
- Developing tools and guidance for instructors to better market their content.
- Advising on ways to improve the instructor experience.
- Creating innovative learning environments, such as new exercise types.
- Exploring ways for trainers and lecturers to integrate DataCamp into their live teaching.
- Contributing to a mutual Code of Conduct for interactions between instructors and DataCamp employees.
This list is for inspiration; there are many additional interesting and useful things that the IAB members can work on.
What if an instructor is only interested in some of the tasks to be performed by the IAB and not all?
The IAB is looking for members who care about the IAB’s long-term mission of teaching and learning of data science around the world as well as improving the interaction between DataCamp and the instructor community. We recognize that providing pedagogy advice, improving content development processes, and helping to integrate the findings of an independent review are three very different tasks which require three very different skill sets.
IAB members will not be expected to contribute to areas that they feel are out of their areas of expertise. However, it is our hope that IAB members will feel comfortable sharing their views on a wide range of issues that impact the data science learner and instructor communities.
How will the IAB be involved in the third-party review?
The third-party reviewer will present its findings and recommendations to the IAB. The IAB will then review and provide feedback on those findings and recommendations to DataCamp's Board of Directors. The IAB will then play an important role in helping DataCamp implement the findings and recommendations moving forward.
We recognize that reviewing the findings of an independent review might be out of the traditional comfort zone for many instructors and the other work done by the IAB, but together with the third-party reviewer, we will ensure the appropriate support is in place.
How will the IAB help address concerns from the instructor community?
The IAB will review the findings and recommendations of the third-party review, which may result in recommendations to DataCamp that the IAB can follow up on, and help to integrate.
The IAB may also, at its choosing, work on projects to improve collaboration between DataCamp and its instructors. For example, the IAB may provide input on a mutual Code of Conduct regarding interactions between instructors and DataCamp employees and design a mechanism to report issues.
How will the IAB evolve over time?
This is the first year of the IAB, and DataCamp expects that the board will evolve and improve over time as we work closely with our instructor community.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].