By ALYSSA HOLCOMB
I’ll admit – initially, I was pretty nervous to take a masters-level course with “analytics” in the title. I’ve never been a numbers-minded person – I’d much rather take the reins with my words when explaining things. But after taking Agnes Horvat’s Culture & Arts Analytics class as part of the MSLCE program, I realized that there’s a way to combine both words and numbers when it comes to analyzing and discussing trends and patterns in the industry.The class served as an introductory course on all things analytics – no calculator required. Instead, it modeled itself as more of an overview of how anyone can analyze data in their given profession or position. As someone focused on creative development, I was able to apply skills discussed in class including decision trees/linear decision-making to topics that I was interested in, from film and television to music.
One of the aspects of the class that I found most interesting was the Gephi platform, which is a data-driven tech piece that covers multiple forms of analysis and presentation of vast data sets. We used this platform for several assignments and I chose to utilize a form of it in my final presentation. My classmates and I were encouraged to experiment with the program in terms of interpreting data of our choice that aligned with our personal and career goals. This resulted in many interesting presentations and subsequent discussions that covered a lot of ground in terms of arts and entertainment. From a full-fledged analysis of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to comparing fashion trends in the market, our class was able to focus on our personal interests while applying key class concepts in a user-friendly manner.
As a professor, Agnes provided an open and inviting environment that allowed all students the opportunity to question where they saw fit. In addition, Agnes was constantly available to help students with assignment queries, particularly with tech-heavy components. She was friendly and fun and always had a great video to demonstrate main ideas in each class.
Overall, I enjoyed this course more than I anticipated. I now have a better appreciation for analytics as a field and how I can apply certain aspects of it to my own work.