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Course introduction

Meet your Educators, Chris Wild and Tracey Meek, who introduce you to the philosophy of the course and the topics covered.
Welcome to Data to Insight. I’m Chris Wild. I’m a statistics professor from the University of Auckland and lead educator for this course. And I’m Tracy Meek. I also teach statistics at the University of Auckland. And I’m the other main educator on the course. Each week we’ll introduce you to a new set of concepts and show you how to use our graphical software to illustrate and observe patterns in our changing world. This course is an introduction to statistical data analysis. But it’s unlike any other introductory statistics course because of the extensive skills it can give you for finding and extracting the stories from large, complicated data sets. Chris often uses the term “diving into data.”
When we dive into data, we’re searching for the pearls of wisdom beneath its surface. We’ll explore features, patterns, and relationships in data to find stories and arrive at insights which improve our understanding of the world. This will enable us to make better decisions and operate more effectively. What lets us get further into data faster is free software called iNZight. We’ll be able to find relationships involving several variables, types of measurement, or group-membership information, using very simple visualisation tools. iNZight’s been designed to maximise the range of data you can work on for the minimum in new learning. The software instantly delivers useful pictures and summaries.
Your main concerns are about deciding what variables you want to look at– the sorts of things you can see, and what lessons you can extract. We also teach you not to jump to conclusions too fast. Because what we see is never exactly the way it really is. But if your real life intervenes and you can’t devote time to hands-on skills– if you just want to learn key data concepts and how to interpret graphs– then there’s still a pathway through this course for you. This course assumes you’ve had very little exposure to statistical ideas.
But it’s structured so that if you’ve already done an introductory statistics course, you can get to what’s new and valuable quickly, without wasting time going over old ground. We do expect, however, comfort with proportions and percentages, some exposure to the use of Microsoft Excel or a similar spreadsheet programme, and access to either a Windows or Macintosh computer on which you can install and run our software. The course falls naturally into two halves. In the first half we get fast into the nuts and bolts of data analysis, showing you what it can do. Then in Weeks 5 to 7, there’s a sea change, and it becomes much more philosophical. Exploring the limitations of what we can know and dealing with uncertainty.
We finish in Week 8 back in data analysis mode with time series and forecasting. The time series module is independent of Weeks 5 to 7, so you can do it at any time after Week 4. This week, data professionals will share their stories. We’ll introduce you to the main data sets we use in the course. You’ll learn about data organisation and get the software installed, up and running. It’s a week about getting motivated, organised, and packed up so you really for Boot Camp in Week 2. We’re excited about it. Hope you are too. So let’s get started.

Meet your Educators, Chris Wild and Tracey Meek, who introduce you to the philosophy, flow and topics covered in this course.

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Data to Insight: An Introduction to Data Analysis and Visualisation

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