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Data Literacy: Why It Matters for Underrepresented Groups and How Public Libraries Can Help
An Infopeople Online Learning Course
PLEASE NOTE: This is a special offering of this course, sponsored by the California State Library as part of the 2019/2020 Metrics grant. Registration is now open for this course. There is no cost to registrants – but space is limited to the first 50 who register. This course is only open to individuals working in a California library.
Instructors: Maria Garrido and Chris Rothschild
- Are you interested in fostering data literacy in your community?
- Do you want to be involved in seeking solutions to social problems through better data?
- Would you like to engage diverse voices in data creation in your community?
In our data-driven world, there is increasing need for communities to produce and use data effectively to better inform policy making and engage in civic action and dialogue. Just as public libraries have worked to support reading literacy and technology literacy, we also can ensure that all groups have opportunities to participate in the production, analysis, and use of data to address issues affecting their communities. By providing community members with the skills and opportunities to participate in defining, understanding, and solving social problems through better data, libraries can enhance the role of these groups in informing policy-making, resource allocation, and overall assessment of communities’ well-being. In this course, public library staff will explore how they can support building community engagement to collaboratively develop programs that address social problems through getting better and more inclusive data.
Course Description: This four-week online course will provide learners with the opportunity to learn about data literacy and its importance from a public library perspective. Through assignments, discussions, and an online meeting, you will use data tools to understand different voices and communities and how to create spaces to bring these diverse voices together to engage them in data creation processes. You’ll create a plan to engage communities in collaboratively-developed programs that address social problems through getting better and more inclusive data.
The instructors will provide resources, best practices, and useful tips and techniques that can be applied immediately. You will apply the concepts learned to your own library and community.
Course Outline: When you log in to the Infopeople online learning site, you will see weekly modules with these topics:
- Week 1: Why is data important and why should we care?
- Understanding why data matters for community change and how data is constructed
- Skills to analyze whose story data represents and who is not represented
- Critical assessment of the data creation processes and how they impact the kind and quality of data collected
- Week 2: Data and Community Problems
- Define an issue/area of concern for your community (such as improving access to youth sports; addressing transportation issues; access to equitable wifi, etc.)
- Assessing what data are needed to address the issue
- Week 3: Engaging Diverse Voices in Data Creation
- Analyze and understand the representation of different types of voices in data and the implications for program development and policy design
- Factors that can prevent participation of relevant communities in data available
- Week 4: Address a social problem using data
- Why community engagement is important in the different phases of the data process (from data creation to analysis and use)
- Engaging communities in collaboratively-developed programs that address social problems through getting better and more inclusive data
Pre-course Assignment: None.
Time Required: To complete this course, you can expect to spend 2 1/2 hours per week, for a total of ten course hours. Each week's module contains readings and various options for assignments and discussions. You can choose the options most relevant to your work and interests. Although you can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night, it is recommended that you complete each week's work within that week to stay in sync with other learners.
Who Should Take This Course: Anyone who is interested in engaging their communities to understand and address social problems that can be solved with better and more inclusive data.
Online Learning Details and System Requirements may be found at: infopeople.org/training/online_learning_details.
After the official end date for the course, the instructor will be available for limited consultation and support for one more week, and the course material will stay up for an additional week after that. These extra weeks give those who have fallen behind time to work independently to complete the course.
Keywords: data, outreach