We created our Data Community in 2023 to help implement a more data-led culture across the University and to enable our colleagues to improve their data literacy. This community is open to all colleagues at the University who are interested in learning more about data and shaping the current data practises within the University. You can find out more about our Data Community in this blog post.

Read this blog post written by Rebecca Jeavons, our Performance Analyst, to learn about our recent Data Community gathering.

Discussing the future of AI

We held our third Data Community gathering in March 2023, which was attended by 29 colleagues from across the University. It was a successful hybrid event where we discussed emerging AI technologies and the future of the Data Community, and worked together to define what a good data culture should be.

Conversation was flowing as we discussed the rapid growth in AI popularity since the rise of chatGPT, the difference between general and specific AI, and the opportunities and threats AI may pose. We did a Mentimeter poll where we asked the room ‘how do you feel about AI’, and the results showed that 91% of participants thought that AI presented more opportunity than threat. This was a super interesting conversation, especially linking it back to the University and how AI may be beneficial to us in different roles across the organisation. My biggest learning from this discussion was the benefits that AI can have on daily tasks, especially if you take the time to learn how best to use prompts to get the best quality answers. This is definitely something I am going to look into as there are lots of free AI courses online!

Discussing our data culture

We then split into smaller groups with the task of defining our data culture by discussing and answering these four questions/categories;

  1. What are the characteristics of a good ‘data culture’?
  2. What are the main challenges preventing us from working more effectively with our data?
  3. What opportunities are available for developing our ‘data culture’?
  4. Ideas for University Data Culture principles

This was one of my favourite parts of the event, as we were given the opportunity to meet and talk with new people from across the University. The most interesting finding for me was that the majority of attendees could relate to data being siloed and the uncertainty of the data access and availability within different teams. The group consensus on what a good data culture should be was everyone having good data literacy skills, access to data training, and having a better transparency and visibility when it comes to the data you are using.  

Data Talks

The benefits of our Data Talks were also discussed, as it is a great opportunity to pause, learn something new and connect with like-minded colleagues. These Data Talks are informal monthly online meet-ups in which we watch a data-related TED Talk (or equivalent) followed by a group discussion based on what we’ve seen. These monthly virtual meetings will take place on the 2nd Monday of every month at noon, the next one being Monday 8 April. Take a look below for info on how you can join the community to come along!

Who can get involved and how?

Membership of the Data Community is open to all University of Exeter staff. If you’d like to join us then visit our Data Community Sharepoint site and please complete the membership form.

If you have any questions about the Data Community then please contact Dan Isaac.

– Written by Rebecca Jeavons, Performance Analyst