Undergrads + 7 weeks = Semantic Web Mashups

The VU University Amsterdam computer science department has been a pioneer at putting structured data and Semantic Web into the undergraduate curriculum through our Web-based Knowledge Representation. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching the class for the past 3 years. The class is done in a short block of 8 weeks (7 weeks if you give them a week for exams). It’s a fairly complicated class for second year undergraduates but each year the technology becomes easier making it easier for the students to ground the concepts of KR and Web-based data into applications.

The class involves 6 lectures covering the major ground of Semantic Web technologies and KR. We then give them 3 1/2 weeks to design and hopefully build a Semantic Web application in pairs. During this time we give one-on-one support through appointments. For most students, this is the first time they’ve come into contact with Semantic Web technologies.

This year they built applications based on The Times Higher Education 2011 World University rankings. They converted databases to RDF, developed their own ontologies, integrated data from the linked data cloud and visualized data using sparql. I was impressed with all the work they did and I wanted to share some of their projects. Here are four screencasts from the applications the students built.

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