Knight Center
Knight Center


"Data-Driven Journalism: The Basics;" Register now for Knight Center’s new MOOC taught by team of experts

Watch below two videos with a brief description of the course and an introduction to the instructors.

In its latest effort to push the boundaries of massive online training in journalism, the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas has brought together five experts, including practitioners from The New York Times, ProPublica, NPR and the Houston Chronicle, to teach the Massive Open Online Course (or MOOC) in English, “Data-Driven Journalism: The Basics.” Click here to register.

This is the first time the Knight Center invites a team of instructors to teach a massive course, offering students a unique chance to interact and learn from top practitioners in journalism in the same class. Like all the Knight Center’s previous MOOCs, the course will be open to anyone in the world with an Internet connection.

"It is a privilege for us to count on this excellent team of experts in data-driven journalism to help people around the world learn about this new genre of reporting that takes advantage of the huge number of data sets that are available everywhere," said professor Rosental Alves, founder and director of the Knight Center at the University of Texas at Austin. "Experts in data journalism from leading news organizations like The New York Times, Propublica, NPR and the Houston Chronicle will share their knowledge and skills in this massive online course."

The five-week course, from Aug. 12 to Sep. 16, will have a different instructor leading the class each week. The instructors and the topics they will cover are:

Click here to learn more about the instructors and the topics.

The MOOC will give participants an overview of what data-driven journalism is and how it is practiced in newsrooms in the United States. Besides learning about the basics of this increasingly vital discipline, students will learn how data is used in the media industry today, where to locate data, how to clean and analyze it critically, and how to optimize the presentation of information for maximum readability and interactivity. 

Amy Schmitz Weiss Lise OlsenDerek Willis Jeremy Bowers Sisi Wei

“This is an experimental and innovative new approach. I think we’re breaking new ground in this area,” said Schmitz Weiss, the overall coordinator of the course. “These journalists are at the top of their game and have so much expertise to share. It’s a great opportunity for students to learn from more than one instructor and be exposed to their different approaches and perspectives.”

“Data-Driven Journalism: The Basics” responds to the growing international interest in data journalism and follows the Knight Center’s highly popular MOOC in Spanish, “Introduction to Data Journalism,” with instructor Sandra Crucianelli. The course concluded last month after attracting nearly 4,000 people from 62 different countries.

The course will be beneficial for both journalists who have not ventured to do this kind of work before and practitioners with more experience looking to brush up on the basics of the field.

The course will also be open to people in any field – from designers, developers and public information officers to citizens simply interested in knowing more about these research skills – and it may be particularly useful for editors and managers in the newsroom looking to communicate more effectively with their staff regarding data-based projects.

The course will include videos, tutorials, reading materials, exercises and quizzes. Just like the Knight Center's other MOOCs, the course will be divided in weekly modules and will be completely asynchronous, meaning there will be no live lectures. Even though students can take the course at the times of their choosing, each weekly module will have deadlines for submitting the quizzes and participating in the forums.

As opposed to the Knight Center's regular online courses, there will be no application or selection process. Anyone can sign up online and, once registered, participants will receive instructions on how to enroll in the course. Enrollees will have immediate access to the syllabus, introductory information and a video from the instructor explaining how the MOOC will work.

Although the course will be free, if participants need to receive a certificate, there will be a $30 administrative fee, paid online via credit card, for those who meet the certificate requirements. The certificate will be issued only to students who actively participated in the course and who complied with most of the course requirements, such as quizzes and exercises. The certificates will be sent via email as a PDF document. No formal course credit of any kind is associated with the certificate.

MOOC is a new type of online learning program that was designed to reach a large number of students. In general, most MOOCs are college courses that have been recorded on video and adapted to be shared over the Internet.

The Knight Center became a pioneer in massive journalism online education when it launched its MOOC program in Oct. 2012. Unlike most MOOCs, the Knight Center's massive courses are created specifically for this program and seek to encourage the largest amount of student-to-student and instructor-to-students interactions as possible.

Before Crucianelli's “Introduction to Data Journalism,” the Knight Center offered the MOOC “How to Improve Electoral Coverage," which was taught in Spanish by acclaimed Colombian journalist María Teresa Ronderos and concluded on April 2013. The course had 1,772 participants from 45 countries.

The first Knight Center MOOC was "Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization," taught last year by instructor Alberto Cairo with more than 2,000 students. The course was so well received that the Knight Center offered a second edition this year, identical to the first. It concluded in February with 5,000 students from 133 countries.

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas was created in 2002 by Professor Rosental Alves at the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism thanks to a generous donation from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which has been supporting it continually. The Center also receives major contributions from the Open Society Foundations and The University of Texas at Austin. The Center's main goal is to help journalists in Latin American and the Caribbean to improve the quality of journalism in their countries.

Watch the following videos with a brief introduction to the course and more information on the instructors.


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