7 Weeks, 7 DMPs: Iterative Learning around Data Management Plan Creation
This book chapter details a course-long assignment to build data management planning skills created for Discovering the Data Universe, a 7-week course taught at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) during the Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 semesters. Our framework for this assignment is useful for information professionals teaching foundational data literacy concepts in an academic library or anyone interested in how to leverage data librarians’ expertise to provide data literacy instruction and outreach. The activity involves assigning students to a predetermined data set, and asking students to imagine that they were the creators of that data set, walking them through the process of data collection, data analysis, and perhaps most importantly, data management. The assignment tasked students with creating a Data Management Plan (DMP) in their first week with their initial understanding of the data, and then updating every subsequent week. Working with students over the course of the semester on data management as applied to the same data set enabled them to contextualize different data management concerns while reaffirming previously learned material. As such, the assignment was iterative based on students’ compounding learning experiences in data literacy, reinforcing that data management is a journey in which DMPs are living documents, updated as the research progresses. We formally assessed our students based on how well they learned and applied recommended principles to develop a data management plan for these assigned data sets. We assigned grades to students based on their comprehension and application of data management concepts in their DMPs, including thoughtful assessment of potential metadata standards, selecting a repository to house the data, planning the creation of a descriptive README file, and choosing appropriate licensing and reuse guidelines.