European Journalism Centre’s Free Data Journalism Course Starts May 19

"Doing Journalism with Data: First Steps, Skills and Tools" is a free online data journalism course with 5 leading experts.
“Doing Journalism with Data: First Steps, Skills and Tools” is a free online data journalism course with 5 leading experts.

If you’re anything like me, your data skills are rusty (at best). So, when I heard the European Journalism Centre (EJC) was going to sponsor a summer course on data-driven journalism, I was all ears. EJC and its subsidiary Data Driven Journalism recognized a need for a mass learning opportunity when big data is all the rage, and when a limited number of reporters have extensive experience sifting through public records to produce great journalism, like, say, what ProPublica does so well.

I got the email last week reminding me that I had enrolled in the “Doing Journalism With Data: First Steps, Skills and Tools” MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) and am super excited to get started.

The class, intended to teach professional journalists how to interpret data and create data journalism efficiently and effectively, is broken up into five modules which should take about 4-5 hours to complete. The module content is below:

  1. Week 1  – Module 1 – Data journalism in the newsroom
  2. Week 2  – Module 2 – Finding data to support stories
  3. Week 3  – Module 3 – Finding story ideas with data analysis
  4. Week 4  – Module 4 – Dealing with messy data
  5. Week 5  – Module 5 – Telling stories with visualization

Each module will feature a variety of learning tools: video lectures, tutorials, assignments, readings and discussion forums. Instructors for the course make up a great roster, including Twitter Data Editor Simon Rogers, Knight Chair in Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication of Arizona State University Steve Doig and Nicolas Kayser-Bril, co-founder and CEO of data journalism startup Journalism++.

As per usual with MOOCs, the course is totally free, and even the recommended reading, “The Data Journalism Handbook“, is open-source. All you need to enroll is a basic understanding of journalism, a computer and familiarity with spreadsheets.

One thing I like about the class is that organizers offer students the chance to meet up with locals to discuss course material through Local Learning Groups. Depending on what side of the world you’re on, you can have a face-to-face experience to supplement the online learning. This, to me, is crucial to the success of MOOCs.

Aside from the benefits of what I learn in the course, it’s a resume booster and an international experience.

The class runs from May 19 to July 31. Click here to register and learn more about course material.

What MOOC would you enroll in if not “Doing Journalism With Data?” Tell us below in the comments or tweet us @10000Words.