Sears Bascom Professor of Learning Analytics
School of Education | Department of Educational Psychology/Epistemic Analytics Lab/Wisconsin Center for Education Research
Hometown: New York City
David Williamson Shaffer is the Sears Bascom Professor of Learning analytics at the University of Wisconsin in the Department of Educational Psychology and a Data Philosopher at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. Professor Shaffer studies ways of merging statistical and qualitative methods to construct fair models of complex and collaborative human activity.
Human Science in the Age of Big Data
How do we take advantage of the mountains of data that are generated every day to understand how people think, learn, and make decisions? And more important, how do we do that in a way that doesn’t reduce people to numbers, and that lets us understand people in all of their complexity?
The new field of Quantitative Ethnography goes beyond the old dichotomy of “qualitative” and “quantitative” research, of stories versus numbers, of statistical significance versus meaning. This unified approach to understanding how people make meaning of their lives is a powerful approach for researchers, businesses, and educators.
The Role of AI in Research
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about ChatGPT and the other new advances in artificial intelligence. These tools have the potential to change work, education, and the way we think about what it means to analyze data and even to “know” something at all.