The phrase Big Data refers to large volumes of diverse types of data, about such things as human locations, purchases, opinions, activities and medical conditions. Governments, corporations and biomedical researchers collect and analyze Big Data to gain insights that are not apparent from more restricted data sets.

Pandem-Data is an educational curriculum that introduces high school students to the concepts of Big Data and specifically how it is used to improve the prediction of the spread of infectious diseases, from local outbreaks to global pandemics. With Pandem-Data, students learn how to model disease outbreaks and then use professional epidemiological modeling software that accesses Big Data. Students learn about related career opportunities and what subjects to study in preparation.

Pandem-Data is an extension of Wheeling Jesuit University’s Pandem-Sim project that immerses students within various epidemiological roles to investigate disease outbreaks. Students analyze case reports, symptoms, epi-curves, patient histories and demographics to identify the disease and recommend how to contain and treat it. This live, online, role-playing simulation is complemented by the Pandem Disease Center which offers case-based and problem-based learning modules, career information and other resources that increase the project’s richness of content and approaches. We thank the National Institute of Health for funding for Pandem-Sim and Pandem-Data!