Regional Data Academy


The Regional Data Academy is intended to help individuals in local governments make sense of public sector data, effectively use the data and develop clear and appropriate presentations of civic data. Courses may be taken individually or as part of the Regional Data Academy certificate program. 

Data Academy Courses

Introduction to Public Sector Data

This is the entry course for the Data Academy program. We will focus on the need for Public Sector Data and why it is important to communities. More and more, employees of all types are being asked to use, manage and tell stories with data. All types of industries are moving toward "data-driven" or "data-informed" decisions making. But what is really meant by "data" anyway? How do we find it, make sure it's what we need, apply the right type of analysis and tell the story we're trying to tell? This intro course helps learners understand the difference between public, private, and "open" data, explores why data is important for decision-making, offers some examples of how data can help employees of any organization at any level, and provides some next steps in the journey toward using data more effectively in their work.

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Numbers in a spreadsheet
A person holding a paper with a variety of charts and graphs

Data Visualization

Data-informed decision-making is an important tool for any organization in strategic planning, but after you've collected all of the data…then what? This course discusses the basics of data and information visualization and goes over the various ways to visualize data - through charts, maps, graphs, infographics and combinations of these options. We'll also address things to consider when visualizing data and some common pitfalls to avoid when creating your visualizations to have the highest impact on your audience.

We will explore Data Visualization in four self-paced modules; The importance of Regional Data Visualization; Definitions and Data Types; Design Considerations and Developing a Data Visualization. 

After completing the course curriculum, the participant will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of Regional Data Visualization to decision-makers
  • Evaluate use cases for regional data from other organizations
  • Identify definitions and data types for data visualization
  • Identify appropriate visualizations for the type of data you have
  • Select appropriate style and themes for data visualization
  • Produce a simple data visualization example from your organization's data

This course includes an optional project and participants will be invited to a live session, to discuss applications of Data Visualization.

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Roads and bridge with data symbols overlaid

Data Storytelling

The art of storytelling is one that spans time and culture - but how do we apply these principles to data? This course will help the learner better understand how to tell stories with data in a way that meets audiences where they are, gives them the information they need (and nothing they don't!) and inspires them to take next steps with the information being presented. We'll cover some basic structures and types of stories, how to make sure you're telling the story your data says (and not telling anything it doesn't say) and help learners understand how to recognize and acknowledge bias when telling stories with data.

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