Nearly 400 students from 58 countries learned about data journalism in a special Knight Center online course


Students of the most recent data journalism course at the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas left with an arsenal of free tools and the skills to use them in their reporting.

Almost 400 people from 58 countries have registered for “Practical data journalism: analysis and visualization techniques”, which was taught by John Keefe, senior data and visual editor for climate coverage at CNN.

John keefe

The special program, called Big Online Course (BOC), ran from May 31 to June 27, 2021. Unlike Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), BOCs are designed for advanced level training and limited to a few hundred students. ‘students. They also allow for greater interaction between the students and the instructor.

Students learned to query the data and make it a source for their reports using free tools. Keefe provided hands-on tutorials using the New York City Dog Licensing Database as an example, and students were also encouraged to practice the techniques learned using their own sets of data.

“I was so impressed with how quickly the students were [programming] SQL language and applied it to their own datasets, ”said Keefe, a leading expert and pioneer in data journalism in the United States.

“Many also made impressive charts with their data, some adding impressive sophistication that went beyond lessons,” he continued. “I had a great time teaching this course and really enjoyed seeing everyone’s progress. “

“John has created a very welcoming and comfortable place to learn,” said one student during the final assessment. “He was nothing but encouraging to the students and obviously having fun teaching, and wanted us to have as much fun with the data as he did. He broke down some fairly complex concepts so that they could be understood by everyone. He is a born teacher and I hope to be able to study with him again.

Other students admired Keefe’s teaching methods and style. A popular instructor, Keefe has now taught three courses for the Knight Center.

“His video explanations were so clear, so detailed, and he anticipated so many places a clumsy person could get lost,” said one student. “He took stock of what we had learned and kept coming back to basics. In short, he was clear, he encouraged, he helped us get over the bump. As a teacher-trainer myself, I admired his methods.

Although Keefe’s course is over, you can find resources for continuing journalism education on the Knight Center’s distance learning platform, JournalismCourses.org.

About Janet Young

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