Short-format workshops build skills and confidence for researchers to work with data

Kari L. Jordan, Marianne Corvellec, Elizabeth D. Wickes, Naupaka B. Zimmerman, Jonah M. Duckles, Tracy K. Teal

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Training for data skills is more critical now than ever before. For many researchers in industry and academic environments, a lack of training in data management, munging, analysis and visualization could lead to a lack of funding to support sustainable projects. Today's researchers are often learning 'as they go' and need the flexibility of short, or self-paced learning experiences. Research results in educational pedagogy, however, stress the importance of guided instruction and learner-instructor interaction, which contrasts the need for 'just in time' training. We've taken a distinctive approach to this problem, combining the power of guided instruction with the flexibility of short, focused learning experiences. Two-day, interactive, hands-on coding workshops train researchers to work with data, and have reached over 34,000 researchers, ranging from biologists to physicists to engineers and economists. Researchers have benefited from evidence-based teaching approaches to learning data organization (spreadsheets), cleaning (OpenRefine), management (SQL), analysis and visualization (R and Python). This paper presents the long-term survey results showing the impact that short-format workshops have for increasing learner's skills and confidence in their coding abilities. Results show these two-day coding workshops increase researchers' daily programming usage, and sixty-five percent of respondents have gained confidence in working with data and open source tools as a result of completing the workshop. The long-term assessment data showed a decline in the percentage of respondents that 'have not been using these tools' (-11.1%), and an increase in the percentage of those who now use the tools on a daily basis (+14.5%).

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 23 2018
Event125th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Salt Lake City, United States
Duration: Jun 23 2018Dec 27 2018


  • Assessment
  • Data science
  • Short courses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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