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Content and Format

The summer school will take place from August 22 (beginning of activities at 1:30 pm) to August 26 (end of activities at 4:00 pm) 2022. It will take the form of a retreat at the Jouvence Resort in Orford in the heart of the Eastern Townships.

Presented by Dominique Gravel and Vincent Beauregard (University of Sherbrooke) as well as several invited experts and partners.

Official 3-credit course from the Faculty of Science of the Université de Sherbrooke
ECL 707 (Master) - ECL 807 (PhD)

OR Non-credit continuing education

General objective

Massive, complex and sometimes real-time data offer new opportunities for biodiversity monitoring. Data science uses a variety of methods to extract knowledge from multi-dimensional information systems to address a wide range of applications and disciplines. The increasing availability of information on biodiversity and its changes also comes with a challenge of communication and representation, not only to scientists but also to policy makers and the general public. Biodiversity science is no exception and quantitative ecologists are called upon to develop communication techniques and tools to assist decision making. This process, often referred to as business intelligence, relies on a set of skills that range from consulting with partners to the production of interactive applications, through the creation of data models and analysis schemes.

At the end of this course, students will be able to conceptualize and develop a communication strategy based on biodiversity data to meet the needs of a partner.

Specific objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Formulate an intervention plan based on business intelligence principles
  • Identify the information needs of a partner
  • Characterize the profile of data users
  • Set up a data model specific to the communication strategy
  • Conceptualize an interactive dashboard in the form of a model

Pedagogical approach

The course is based on a strategic communication mandate for a partner organization. Students will conduct a consultation to identify information needs and develop the appropriate data model. Sessions will consist of short lectures on theoretical concepts presented by specialists from different disciplines, interspersed with specific exercises designed to practice the elements taught and apply them to their consulting problem. The projects will be based on data organized and distributed by Biodiversité Québec.

Detailed content

Monday, August 22

  • Introduction to the course
  • Presentation of partners
  • Consultation workshop

Deliverable: Schematization of the consultation mandate

Tuesday, August 23

  • Business Intelligence Principles
  • Mike2.0 methodology
  • Elements of design
  • Development of persona and user journey

Deliverable: User characterization grid

Wednesday August 24

  • Data and information systems architecture
  • Essential biodiversity variables
  • Case study: Living Planet Index and Biodiversity Distribution Index
  • Data journalism and digital storytelling

Deliverable: Conceptualization of the data and indicators model

Thursday, August 25

  • Dashboard design
  • For an effective visualization
  • Visualization tools and technologies
  • Model design using Figma

Deliverable: Interactive dashboard model

Friday, August 26

  • Figma workshop (continuation and end)
  • Presentation of the models
  • Exchanges with the partners


The evaluation will consist of short steps carried out each day and briefly presented to the whole group. Four deliverables will be developed:

  • Day 1: Outline of the consulting mandate
  • Day 2: User characterization
  • Day 3: Conceptualization of the data model
  • Day 4: Dashboard model

The dashboard model will be presented and discussed in groups on the last day of the summer school. The emphasis is on participation and a final grade of Pass or Fail will be assigned.