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Data Literacy Foundations

This short course introduces participants to the world of data and the concepts required to work in a data-minded organisation. It can act as an on-ramp for further study in data science, analytics or statistics.

About this course

Data literacy comprises the basic ability to read, understand and represent data in a given context. It enables professionals to describe use cases, applications and resulting values, and communicate to stakeholders in a clear and appropriate way. Data literacy can be viewed as learning to communicate in a new, shared language of data and it has become a core skill required in any organisation working with data.

This short course covers that core element that all data analytics and machine learning projects start with - "data". It introduces the world of data and how to read, understand and represent it, in a given context. In addition, the essential concepts required to work in a data-minded organisation will be introduced.

Course structure

During this short course, you will meet and work with a dedicated course facilitator who will support your learning and engagement with teaching resources designed by the lead academic and team of experts from the Faculty of Engineering and IT.

The course is structured into four modules. Each module includes self-study materials and facilitated online sessions. The modules cover the following key topics and concepts: 

  • What data is and the key characteristics of data
  • The most common statistics used to describe data
  • An understanding of uncertainty
  • Correlation vs causation
  • Some common errors and biases
  • Basic ways to visualise data
  • How to communicate a data set and its relevance to different groups
  • Use cases of how different industries are using data.

The course is delivered in a scheduled format over five weeks.

For four weeks of teaching and learning, you will participate in an online session, where you will have the chance to apply what you've learnt, ask questions and hear from other participants who are taking the course with you. These workshops are led by the course facilitator.

Week five is planned to give you time to complete the short assignment, with support and a scheduled Q&A session provided.            

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of data literacy
  • Clearly communicate key concepts and relevant information from a data set to peers or colleagues.



  • To complete this online course you will need a personal computer with adequate internet access, web conferencing capabilities and an operating system with a web browser compatible with Canvas, Zoom and Microsoft Teams.


  • Some professional experience and organisational knowledge in your field or role is assumed, along with basic familiarity using spreadsheets (e.g. Microsoft Excel).

Enrolment conditions

COVID-19 response 

Who is this course for?

This course is an introduction to the world of data, designed for professionals with no formal experience or study in data or statistics.

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