Open Data Challenge Series CC BY 2.0, uploaded by Open Data Institute.

Better Data | Better Decisions

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Want data to make an impact in your work?

This comprehensive online course is for people who want to work strategically with data, but don’t need or want to learn complex programming.

You will learn how to create value from data for your organisation, whilst avoiding harmful impacts. You will learn how better decisions can be made with data. You will develop both strategic and practical skills.

ODI People

This course equips you with the theoretical knowledge, practical skills and technical know-how to make better decisions using data. The course emphasises a hands-on approach to learning data skills, offering a number of interactive, online exercises that will let you try out many of the techniques and concepts covered in the taught material against real examples.

This course was created by and is © The Open Data Institute. It was developed with the help of funding from the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union under the Open Data Education project.

Testimonials

“It’s a really good course, really well designed, the people are good. I can’t really fault it. The people running it are very good, very passionate. For an online course it was very interactive.”

CRM Analyst, British Gas

“The assignments were the highlight of the course. They were well designed – it’s good to use real live data from a different sphere than I’m used to working in. And I really liked how they built on the previous assignment learnings.”

Digital Analyst, Boots

“What was useful was bringing an order and methodology. We haven’t necessarily gone about it in that process – before we’ve gone a bit more back and forth. This applied some logic to it, which was beneficial.”

Senior Manager, Ernst & Young

“The course would be good for people who have done basic or routine data analysis, who want to break out of that box. I know a lot of people who do management reports, and they’re stuck doing that monthly and that’s boring as hell. For them to learn to question what they’ve been told, how they can present that better and the stories they can tell from that data, is one of the biggest gains.”

Data Engagement Lead, DEFRA

Taking place online, over six weeks, each week will contain a mix of taught material, self-study, activities and practical exercises all carried out online. 

Week 1: Discovering open data

What is open data and what impact can it have? We will assess successful case studies of open data projects and look at how risk can be minimised through licensing and certificates.

Topics:

  1. What is open data?
  2. Unlocking value from open data
  3. Open data and open standards
  4. Understanding your rights to use data
  5. The data spectrum

Session 2: Copyright, licensing and open data

By the end of the session you will be able to:

  • Describe how copyright and licensing relate to open data
  • Identify instances of open licences and effective application
  • Build and use open licences
  • Manage third-party data and sub-licensing

Week 2: Health check – cleaning hospital data

You will begin your hands-on experience of data management with the first assignment, based upon a real case study of hospital performance data in Tanzania. This week focuses on how 80% of your time can be saved if data is collected, organised and cleaned in a consistent fashion.

Topics:

  1. The four step process of data science/journalism
  2. Organising data
  3. Cleaning data
  4. Choosing & designing schemas
  5. Annotating and describing data
  6. Open data and open standards
  7. Data formats and structures

Week 3: How can improve the performance of the London Fire Brigade? (Part 1)

In this week the major case study of the course is introduced. You will begin looking at a large piece of data analysis using real incident records from the London Fire Brigade, to review the decision to close several stations. This week looks at the data processing and analysis that can help reveal the impact.

Topics:

  1. Gathering data from a number of different sources
  2. Evaluate the quality and usability of data
  3. Establishing trust in data
  4. Filtering & pivot tables
  5. Introduction to quantitative data analysis
  6. Introduction to qualitative data analysis

Week 4: How can we improve the performance of the London Fire Brigade? (Part two)

Week 4 takes the result of the analysis and challenges you addressed in week 3, to tell a compelling story from data, that includes at least one visualisation. This week introduces the theory of data visualisation and how to create a compelling story where the message pops off your screen/page.

Topics:

  1. Data visualization formats
  2. Data visualisation best practice
  3. Mapping open data
  4. Narrating your story
  5. Practical data visualisation
  6. Visual deception

Week 5: Open data futures

Week 5 looks at the future of open data. We look at how data standards and open APIs enable services to talk intelligently to each other and how these are already in widespread use with cloud services and big data. We discover at how Transport for London has used open data and the cloud to deliver £130m of economic benefit a year and look at how an industry has grown around this open data. In a rapidly changing data landscape we examine the role for open data in business evolution. By creating a personalised travel planner, you will explore the area of business development from a management perspective whilst also considering the potential implications of data futures.

Topics:

  1. APIs and open data
  2. Working with live data
  3. Recognising and working with big data

Week 6: Open data and business development

We look at the future of open data in your discipline and how to overcome the cultural and management challenges in making more of data in your organisations.

Topics:

  1. Data myths
  2. Ethical challenges
  3. Open data: Threats and opportunities

Who is this for?

This course is for anyone working in organisations, who wants to make better decisions with data, or who is leading, or commissioning, data analysis and data-informed decision-making work.

Course prerequisites

No previous experience of data or programming is required. However, a good level of computer literacy is necessary.  In particular, you need to be comfortable using spreadsheets programmes, such as Excel.

Course requirements

You’ll need to an internet-enabled laptop or PC with Google Chrome installed. And you’ll ideally need to able to install new software.

About ODI courses

Co-founded by the inventor of the web, Tim Berners-Lee, the ODI offers courses that are friendly, supportive and fun. No question is a silly question in our classrooms, and our expert teachers will arm you with all the practical skills you need for applying what you’ve learnt to the real world.

All slides and exercises are made available for anyone to access, use and share under an open licence.