Leeds School of Data launches beginners course

The folks at Leeds Data Mill are launching a course for those people whose first thought is that Data is an android out of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

For me The Leeds School of Data: Beginners’ Course is particularly welcome. It’s the brainchild of the fab Leanne Buchan of Leeds City Council – follow her on twitter @leannebuchan – and follows a recent chat we had over a coffee about the need to demystify exactly what all this talk about open data is about, why it’s important and how it can be used in Leeds.

The idea behind it is that there are a lot of people who don’t really know what ‘data’ is and how it can be used. I’ve met people who are scared of it, who don’t see what all the fuss is about and one who recently told me that it was all a case of ‘the emperor’s new clothes’.

By the end of the course students will:

  •  Know what data is
  • Where you can get data from
  • How you can use data
  • Where you can use data
  • How you can use data

The lessons will teach students about:

  • What is data?
  • Storing data on computers
  • Analysing data

The course costs a tenner and runs over four Tuesday evenings at Carriageworks Theatre in Millennium Square from September 16. You can book here.

I’ve already booked to attend. From my own journalism point of view, data is becoming ever more important, with more emphasis on data visualisations in articles and the trailblazing work of the Guardian’s Data Blog showing how data can be used to back up facts in articles or inspire new stories. I’ve done some basic data stuff while working for The Guardian myself, but it’ll be interesting to see how properly understanding open data can help me learn more about my city and help my storytelling.


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