Theory and Practice

This professional development course focuses on the collection, analysis, visualization and dissemination of information derived from structured public datasets.

You will develop a basic toolkit for navigating public datasets containing socio-economic, demographic, land-use and real estate data. You will not only develop a familiarity with core datasets like the Census, municipal business licenses and property datasets, but also a basic ability to understand and use most structured public datasets. While you will not necessarily fully master these datasets in this single course, you will learn a set of skills and conceptual understandings to analyze and share information.

The focus will be on Canadian datasets typically used by professionals in fields such as urban planning, real estate, development, transportation, public policy, government, the non-profit sector and other related disciplines, whether in urban, suburban or rural communities.

The course provides a balance of "how," "what" and "why" of working with data and understanding its possibilities and limitations in the development of evidence-based decisions.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online - Craig E. Jones
Andy Yan
Samuel Walker
$1412.00 17 Register

Schedule clarification: This course consists of six online sessions on Monday and Wednesday evenings (6:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. PT) and three Saturday morning online sessions (9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. PT for the first two, and 9 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. PT for the last one).

What will you learn?

By the end of this course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Describe the fundamental elements of data
  • Explain the structure and importance of the Canadian Census
  • Acquire Canadian Census data and open data for B.C. at provincial and municipal scales
  • Assess a basic dataset
  • Form a research question that requires the use of public structured datasets and pragmatic approaches to research design
  • Describe best practices in data management
  • Perform the most commonly used operations in data analysis
  • Understand the inherently philosophical and political nature of data and its limitations
  • Understand the basics of communication and mobilization of knowledge generated through data analysis

How will you learn?

  • Lectures
  • Class discussions and applied exercises
  • In-class assignments

How will you be evaluated?

You will receive a post-course assignment, guidance and feedback.

Hardware and software requirements

  • Your computer must have a recent install of Microsoft Excel.
  • You will need basic competency with core Microsoft Excel functions. Need a refresher? We recommend Excel 2010 Fundamentals on YouTube.
  • You will be required to install and use Beyond 20/20 (an open source data publishing, dissemination, and analytics tool). Installation instructions will be provided.
  • This course will be delivered through SFU's online course management system, Canvas. You will receive course details and Canvas access instructions on the first day of the course. You can check if your browser is compatible with Canvas here.
  • New to online learning? See Online Programs and Courses for helpful videos and additional information.

Textbooks and learning materials

We will provide custom course materials.

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