SFU Data Fellowships: Towards Responsible Machine Learning


This part-time five-day course offers foundational Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning (ML) and Data science concepts that are applicable in the humanities and social sciences. Together with SFU's Digital Democracies Institute, this course will have you examine best practices to critically evaluate and mitigate unwanted bias from sources such as data, algorithms or users. Through collaborative hands-on labs guided by SFU experts, you will come away with the kind of data science experience and knowledge that organizations and recruiters value.

This workshop will be held from June 21-25 every day from 9am-2:30pm Pacific Time

What You Will Learn

  • Gain foundational knowledge in data science and ML concepts and techniques, as well as best practices to mitigate bias in ML.
  • Learn the limitations and possibilities of ML to address social science problems responsibly.
  • Learn how to bring together qualitative analysis (critical theory) and ML. 
  • Gain additional expertise with commonly used data science tools, making use of Python in Jupyter Notebooks within Google Colab.
  • Better understand how these tools and concepts can be applied to your work or organization.
  • Use best practices to identify and mitigate biases and risks throughout a project.

Register Now

Scholarship Opportunity

Our partner Athena Pathways is offering a $500 scholarship designed to lower barriers for women pursuing careers in the AI and data science fields. This scholarship will be awarded after completion of the workshop. Any person who identifies as female and resides in British Columbia will qualify. Please contact if you have any questions or visit the scholarship application page for more information. This scholarship cannot be combined with the Scale AI grant.

Apply for Your $350 Grant

You may qualify for the $350 Scale AI grant. Apply for the grant.

You will be sent a discount code for this course after applying. This grant cannot be combined with the Athena Pathways scholarship.

Why Choose SFU?

Taught By Leading Big Data and AI Experts

Our instructors, who have decades of experience in both development and state-of-the-art research, will teach you in-demand skills, approaches, concepts and tools.

Experiential Learning

Gain hands-on experience working on complex data science problems, ensuring the knowledge you gained in this course can be directly applied to the real-world.

Get Real-Time Feedback

This course is taught in a live learning environment, enabling real-time feedback and encouraging you to build connections with your peers.

Is this Workshop Right For Me?

It's no secret that the world is becoming increasingly data-intensive. As employers seek a more data-literate workforce, this workshop is for people who are want to explore a career in data or leverage data science tools and analyze their data using ML processes.

This workshop is also for learners who are studying or work in the humanities and social sciences and want to learn more about machine learning and critical data studies from leaders in the field.

Learn from Leading AI Experts

With decades of combined data science, AI and ML experience, our Simon Fraser University instructors provide hands-on learning and encourage you to connect with them on your specific data problems and career questions throughout the workshop.

Stephen Makonin

PhD, Computing Science
Adjunct Professor, School of Engineering Science, Simon Fraser University

Fred Popowich

PhD, Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science
Scientific Director, SFU’s Big Data Hub and Professor of Computing Science

Jillian Anderson

MSc, Computing Science, Big Data Concentration
Big Data Developer, SFU's Research Computing Group

Emillie V. de Keulenaar

PhD Student, Digital Democracies Institute
PhD Researcher, University of Amsterdam, OI Lab

Sina Nazeri

PhD Candidate, School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Research Assistant, SFU's Big Data Hub

Sam Shaftoe

Masters Candidate and Research Assistant, Ryerson University

Paige Tuttosi

PhD Candidate, School of Computing Science
Research Assistant, SFU's Big Data Hub

Zeerak Waseem

PhD Candidate, University of Sheffield
Post-Doc, Digital Democracies Institute

Course Syllabus

Download the course syllabus



  • Participants are not required to have previous knowledge of Python but some experience in coding would be beneficial. We will dedicate part of the first day of the workshop to develop or strengthen your foundational Python programming skills. 
  • Participants with a working knowledge of Python will be able to work on advanced problems during the introductory period. 
  • Participants should have field expertise in one area of social science or the humanities.


  • During this workshop, we will be using Google Colab, an online cloud-based environment to work with Python. Colab is a Google research project created to help disseminate machine learning education and research. 
  • The Colab notebook environment requires no previous setup to use and runs entirely in the cloud. It comes with the software, tools, and Python packages we will be using throughout the week. Please use the following link for additional information You are required to have a Gmail account to access Google Drive and Google Colab. 
  • It is also possible for participants to take the course without using Google Colab, but additional setup will be required in advance of the course. 
  • While not a requirement, it will make it easier if you have access to using two monitors, or an external monitor and a laptop as this will enable you to work on your lab while the instructors share their screen.


Please contact if you have any questions.


What is SFU's Digital Democracies Institute?

The Digital Democracies Institute at Simon Fraser University is a group of diverse scholars and stakeholders from around the world who collaborate across disciplines, schools, industry, and public sectors to research and create vibrant democratic technologies and cultures. The Institute is led by Canada 150 Research Chair in New Media, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun.

Will I receive SFU credit for this course?

This is a non-credit course for which you will receive a Certificate of Completion.

How do I know if this course is right for me?

This course is for those interested in switching or expanding their career in the data science and AI fields. Designed to be practical and application-focused, this course ensures you can apply what you learn in your work environment immediately. Whether you are just starting your career or are already a seasoned professional, this workshop will give you the knowledge and tools to train up your data science and artificial intelligence skills in order to apply more data rigorous methods or automated processes to your job.

Can I take this course at my own pace?

This course offers a live, structured learning environment with learning objectives and activities for each day. You will need to be available during the designated class times.

What is the refund policy?

There are no refunds offered for this workshop, however you may transfer your seat to another person free of charge. For questions about seat transfers please contact

Can I bring my own data sets?

Yes! You can work together with our instructors during some of the labs to explore your own data sets. This will be an opportunity for you to gain insight from our instructors to solve problems you currently face at your organization.

What time zone is this course within?

Pacific Time

What is SFU's Big Data Hub?

Simon Fraser University leverages the power of big data so Canada can lead in a digital world. With over a decade of leadership in the big data field, SFU’s Big Data Hub engages with our partners to fill critical talent shortages, generate new knowledge and contribute to an innovative economy. We connect government to industry and the community to deliver data-driven solutions to challenging problems. With 24 governmental partners and over 100 companies actively engaged, we are empowering people to use data for impact and social good to solve global challenges and transform society.

This workshop is part of a project that is funded, in part, thanks to funding from the Canada 150 Research Chairs Program, the Government of Canada, and the Digital Democracies Institute