Practical Machine Learning Course Week 1 Highlight; Get Started on Problem-Solving.

Hello, community!

On the 7th of March, the Port Harcourt School of AI had her first class for the Practical Machine Learning course. In our bid to democratize AI and data education and technology, making it accessible to anyone interested, we commit to releasing the highlights of each week’s classes to the general public on our blog and YouTube channel so everyone can benefit in some way from the otherwise limited-participants class.

Class Details

Lesson Title: Get Started Thinking Like an Engineer and Approaches to Problem-Solving in Artificial Intelligence.

Guest Facilitator: Richard Tamunotonye (Creative Director Nira Labs and a UX Design Mentor at Udacity) on “Building With Empathy: A Design Thinking Approach.”

You can read through our interview with Richard here, as we got to explore his genius mind on design thinking.

Class Instructor: Stephen Oladele (Data Science Consultant and Lead Volunteer for the Port Harcourt School of AI) on “What Makes a Modern Day Engineer + A Crash Course on Machine Learning.”

Class Slides:

  1. Design thinking workshop by Richard.
  2. A crash course in Data Science, Machine Learning, and AI by Stephen.

Class Project for Assessment: Students will write a community-helpful blog post on “Problem-Solving and Design Thinking in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.”

Class Date: 7th of March, 2020

Class Time: 11 AM - 4 PM

Class Venue: Loctech IT Training Institute, 4a Etim Okpoyo Close, Rumuobiakani, Bridge bus stop, Aba Express Road, Port Harcourt. You can locate it via Google Maps by clicking here.

Class Highlights

For every week, we have one of our students to volunteer to write a report for the class, as a means of improving their class awareness and writing skills. You can read last class’ report from Aquila Kalagbor, and you can read it here.

The class started off with Stephen Oladele giving an overview of the hosts (Port Harcourt School of AI community) of the program and other addresses, and what to expect from the class on that day.

Design Thinking

The guest facilitator for the day, Richard Tamunotonye, took the class on design thinking to help the class understand the concept of design thinking and how that spans through every one of our needs.

Main Point:

Design thinking is a 5-step process that helps us come up with meaningful ideas to solve difficult real-life problems for a particular group of people.

A man standing in front of the class explaining a concept to participants. “Design is Life” is projected to the wall Richard introducing the concept of design thinking to participants.

Richard then went on to the workshop session, engaging their class through the practical sessions. Participants formed a group of pairs after which they were given an exercise to draw each other on a piece of paper under 5 minutes…

The participants, still in a group of pairs, went on to put the design thinking concept into practice. The problem of course registrants not engaging with resources sent to them by the community (Port Harcourt School of AI) was posed to each of the groups to solve using the design thinking framework they learnt prior to the class, and during the class. This went on for 25 minutes, during which Richard went around supervising their activities.

A group brainstorming on a problem to solve using the design thinking framework Groups brainstorming on a problem to solve using the design thinking framework

Groups brainstorming on a problem to solve using the design thinking framework Groups reaching a discussing their solutions among each other to evaluate their various solutions.

At the end of the workshop, the groups presented their solutions to the class, which you can watch in our video highlights here.


Data Knight’s Data Science Journey and Career Tips

Emeka Boris (Data Knight) stands in front of the class to share with participants his career journey so far. Emeka Boris (Data Knight) sharing with participants his career journey so far.

Main points

While you are learning to become a world-class Data Scientist, you should make sure that you keep your focus straight… Knowing what particular sector you want to major on. You may want to either work as a generalist or specific to a discipline such as business, science, pharmacists, medicine, chemistry, and so on.

Different companies employ you for different things. You should not expect to write code all the time.


Introduction to Computational Thinking and a Crash Course on Data Science, Machine Learning, and AI.

We rounded up the class with a final session taken by the week’s instructor Stephen Oladele with;

  • An introduction to what computational thinking is,
  • How it interleaves with design thinking,
  • How an effective practice of both breeds the best of modern-day ML engineers.
  • And a crash course (broad overview) on Data Science, Machine Learning, and AI.

Main Points

Computational thinking is a 4-step process that involves; Problem decomposition/fragmentation, Pattern recognition, Data representation and abstraction, Algorithms.

While design thinking is human-centred, computational thinking is “computer-centred” in that it focuses on the developer or engineer thinking about problems and coming up with solutions in a way that can be easily passed to the computer for processing.

Design thinking + computational thinking = The most effective problem-solving process of a modern-day Software and Machine Learning engineer.

Machine Learning is a technology that thrives on building its own rules for answering questions based on data related to such questions.

The class ended with the instructor’s concluding thoughts on what the participants should know about ML to cut through the hype, and as well as what to expect in the next class.

Classes continue next week…

Next week, we will be starting off the class by 10 AM prompt (West African Standard Time), same venue, with a practical session to round up our class on “problem-solving as an ML engineer with design thinking and computational thinking, using standard workflows”. After which we will have another instructor introduce us through a practical session to data vectorization and linear algebra with NumPy.

Class Sponsors and Enablers

Thanks to LocTech IT Training institute for supporting us with their facility as the venue for last week’s class. You can visit their website here , for your professional and accredited IT certifications.

Thanks to everyone who showed up for the classes. See you next week.


Other Community Initiatives Ongoing.

You can still register for the course by clicking here and learn more about the course here. Registration closes in less than 2 weeks.

Call for community instructors and mentors is still on.

The call for impact-driven instructors and mentors from the community is still on. You can apply if interested or can recommend someone who might be. Find out more by clicking here.

We are seeking sponsorships to keep on running our classes.

We need funds to keep on running our classes and exploring new grounds. If you are interested in sponsoring us, please mail us portharcortschoolofai@gmail.com or send us a DM on twitter via @PHCSchoolOfAI.

You can now read our timeline for the month of March here and subscribe to our calendar by clicking here. If you do not use Google Calendar, you can click this link to access the calendar in your web browser.

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