Developing a Data Analysis Toolbox

This course is a survey of available data analysis tools. You will be introduced to various data analysis and visualization software packages through demonstrations of, and exercises using, introductory functions. You will learn of the relative strengths and challenges of a given tool. This survey approach to software will help you determine which tools will work the best for a given project.

Microsoft Excel, and Esri's ArcGIS will be fundamental software packages for this course, and you will learn how to conduct advanced analysis functions with both of these programs. You will also explore how to migrate data between analysis tools. Class time will be set aside for participant-led, collaborative, and experiential learning which will help you develop the skills needed to tackle applied research problems relevant to your work.

Note: You will have up to three weeks to complete the post-course take-home assignment.


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, Vancouver 4 Craig E Jones
Lyn Bartram
Martin Monkman
$1412.00 19 Register

Schedule clarification: This course consists of two online sessions on Wednesday evenings (6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.) and four in-class sessions at the Vancouver campus on Fridays and Saturdays (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.).

What will you learn?

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

  • Identify major software packages and tools in community data science
  • Install data analysis and visualization software onto your computer
  • Manage quantitative data in Microsoft Excel
  • Perform core functions in various software packages
  • Choose an oppropriate software package or tool for a given task
  • Migrate data between data analysis and visualization software packages
  • Independently experiment with data analysis and visualization software packages
  • Locate and interpret online resources to get help answering procedural questions
  • Produce detailed methodologies that ensure transparency, justifiability and reproducibility

How will you learn?

  • Lectures with hands-on practice in Microsoft Excel, Graphical Information Systems, spatial data, and statistical software
  • Class discussions
  • In-class assignments

How will you be evaluated?

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

Hardware and software requirements

  • You are required to bring a PC laptop (with full administrative privileges) to each class.
  • Your laptop must have a recent install of Microsoft Excel.
  • Beyond 20/20 (an open-source data publishing, dissemination and analytics tool), installed during the CDSC101 course.
  • Esri ArcGIS (graphical information systems software), installed during the CDSC102 course.
  • R virtual online console (an open-source statistics and data science tool). Login instructions will be provided at the introductory online session on January 8.
  • Tableau (data visualization tool). Login instructions will be provided at the introductory online session on January 8.
  • Online sessions in 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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