'Data Literacy – What is it and why does it matter?' is an online course by several leading universities, part of the 4EU+ Alliance in Europe: the University of Copenhagen, University of Warsaw, University of Milan, Sorbonne University, and Charles University in Prague. Funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, this MOOC provides a good overview of the key principles behind data literacy and what this means in practice.
The whole course can be completed in less than 15 hours. It is suitable for absolute beginners in the field of data science, including those interested in data literacy and its impact on data-driven societies.
Topics and aims
The MOOC explores the topic of data - whether it is the data we create, store, or share with one another, and how it influences our values and assumptions to illustrate the importance of data literacy in today's world. Topics cover the opportunities but also challenges brought about by data in 3 perspectives (modules): data in personal life, data in society, and data in knowledge production.
Your life as data: this module dives into Google and other internet services, social media platforms and databases and the data these entities have on our online habits and behaviour. It looks at common threats like user tracking or information harvesting and the legal framework, existing to protect and process personal and sensitive data.
Networked data, truth and democracy: from international dissemination of good practices to improving technologies all over the world, this module traces the mechanisms and tools which enable data-driven technologies to actually add value to our lives. You will also learn how data can be used for malicious purposes, such as the spread of hate and radicalisation, and the main ways to protect yourself.
Data-driven Knowledge Production: this module looks at the evolution of big data and novel computation methods on the way knowledge is created. Topics include AI research, computational social science, machine learning and education and others.
By the end of this course, you will improve your ability to identify, understand and interpret the roles of digital technology in everyday life; as well as your ability to grasp when data-driven technologies bring benefits and are aligned with human needs and values. You will understand the basics of algorithms and how they are used to manipulate and work with data, as well as what their impact on our social lives may be.