By Suzan, SolarSPELL Fellow, Arizona State University

The accelerating improvements in research and technology, and the emergence of IoT (Internet of Things), have led to some popular idioms nowadays such as “data analysis” and “big data.” The availability of big data and data analysis tools has a huge impact in facilitating several aspects of our lives. There are no doubts about how big data, data analysis, and other technological improvements have facilitated a huge evolution and transitions in our learning means and materials, including making learning resources more accessible and the educational process more flexible. But only under the availability of one important condition, a connection to the internet.

While internet connection seems to be a trivial existence to many people, it is still an obstacle in a lot of places, which means accessing and developing learning resources is still a hard process in some areas. Fortunately, SolarSPELL has succeeded in omitting the “internet connection” condition from the learning development contract, by providing an assorted offline educational library for rural, unconnected areas. More interesting is that the SolarSPELL team develops SolarSPELL’s libraries to meet local information needs. There is no doubt that taking the best decisions in developing learning resources and libraries needs data analysis. More specifically, it needs analyzing the usage data, and the accessed library resources, and from there came the SolarSPELL need for a usage data analysis tool.

In March 2020, I attended the SolarSPELL exploreCSR workshop, and from this workshop, I joined the SolarSPELL team as a Fellow helping in developing a Usage Data Analysis Tool (UDAT). It was a new experiment, and I didn’t know that it would be the most valuable experiment in my life, as developing and designing the UDAT under the supervision of the expert team leader, Zeinab, has definitely taken my experience to a higher level. In addition, it has expanded my knowledge and abilities in goal achievement and task organization. We started the UDAT project from scratch by designing the structure of UDAT, moving to implementing and developing the analysis tool, and ending with presenting the final product to the SolarSPELL staff.

As a graduate student who is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Computer Science (Big Data Systems), I found this project to be prodigiously matching my ambitions and knowledge, and in addition to that, during my graduate studies, I have applied several projects in data analysis and data visualizations. However, I consider planting my knowledge in an innovative, talented environment, like SolarSPELL, has definitely ended up with a fruitful result, which encouraged me to continue on working with the SolarSPELL team for the fall semester as an intern, to proceed in improving the UDAT.

Usually, in the path of filling your experience and knowledge luggage, you will face distinct environments, cultures, and minds, each holding a unique and valuable lesson for you. My fellowship and internship with SolarSPELL have given me two valuable lessons. One: always think of how to use your abilities and knowledge to give and benefit others. Two: the goal is not just completing the tasks; it is about completing them perfectly. Thank you, SolarSPELL team for everything I’ve learned from you!