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    Archive for the 'Digital literacies' Category

    New Digital Skills Development dates

    By Caroline Norris, on 7 February 2017

    PhotoFunia-1486390268ISD Digital Skills Development has released new dates for the second half of term.  As usual, we are offering a wide range of courses covering Excel, Photoshop, RStudio, Matlab, LaTeX and more.

    After a successful pilot last term we are pleased to be offering a Data Visualisation in R course again for those with a basic knowledge of working with datasets in R.  Looking ahead to next term we have scheduled our hugely popular Python course led by Research IT Services.  It starts in early May and runs for five consecutive Friday mornings.

    For a full list of courses and a link to the booking system visit the student course catalogue or the staff course catalogue (you will need to follow a further link to get to the actual booking pages).  Dates are currently available up to and including 24 March.

    Don’t forget….

    IT for IOE offer training in a wide range of digital tools including screencasting and video editing, blogging and Twitter, mind mapping and presentation tools, with some sessions specifically aimed at Mac users. New sessions this term include one focusing on video sharing tools and a new advanced Endnote workshop.  There is still some availability on this term’s sessions.  Sessions are now available to book until March.  For a full list of courses and access to bookings visit IT for IOE IT Course Booking.

    We have a vast range of high-quality video-based courses available at Lynda.com. These cover technical skills but also business, personal and creative skills as well.  Visit the UCL Lynda.com page to find out more.

    Not sure what you need or have a more specific issue you would like help with?  Come along to one of the Digital Skills Development drop ins if you want more individual support.

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    Walking in a data wonderland

    By Samantha Ahern, on 9 January 2017

    So where do we begin? Straight down the rabbit hole or some contextual rambling?

    The contextual rambling.

    I have recently been thinking about the logic puzzles, syllogisms, of Charles Dodgson and the literary work of his alter-ego Lewis Carroll – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  This and discussions with my colleague Dr Steve Rowett lead me to explore Anastasia Salter’s project Alice in Dataland (http://aliceindataland.net/).  Alice in Dataland is an experiment in critical making, an exploration guided by the question: “Why does Alice in Wonderland endure as a metaphor for experiencing media?”

    Down the rabbit hole.

    Exploring Anastasia’s project has generated some questions of my own; What if data is Alice and data analysis is Wonderland?

    It has been noted that each new representation of Alice has showed her in a new and different way, it has been argued that these changes have added to our interpretation.  Is this also true of our analysis of data, or do we see “different truths” through different lenses of our analysis? In other words, do our analysis of data add to understanding by providing insight or do we alter the narrative told by data by how we choose to analyse or visualise it.

    In August 2016 theNode (http://thenode.biologists.com/barbarplots/photo/) reported on the kickstarter campaign #BarBarPlots! with the focus of the campaign being how to avoid misleading representations of statistical data.  This follows on from a 2015 ban on null hypothesis significance testing procedures by the journal Basic and Applied Social Psychology, which was discussed in an article by the Royal Statistical Society (https://www.statslife.org.uk/features/2114-journal-s-ban-on-null-hypothesis-significance-testing-reactions-from-the-statistical-arena).

    Do these analyses constitute re-imaginings of the data and like the use of Photoshop and other media tools described by Salter re-imagine Wonderland or data analysis as a remediation of reality through a different lens?

    When data is collected over time to create user profiles, and potential in learning analytics creating identities through narratives (data analysis and visualisation), again noted by Salter: “it is through narrative that we create and re-create selfhood” (Bruner, Jerome. Making stories: Law, literature, life. Harvard University Press, 2003.).  Are these generated identities subject to “defamiliarization of perception”; threatened by time as new data received alters our models and the story told? I am not sure, but it is an interesting thought.

    white rabbit

     

    Digital learning opportunities for the New Year

    By Caroline Norris, on 9 January 2017

    PhotoFunia-1478191983Did you know that as a UCL member you get a fantastic range of learning opportunities for free?  These include face-to face courses and workshops, demonstration sessions and online learning.

    Digital Skills Development

    We offer a wide range of courses covering Excel, Photoshop, RStudio, Matlab, LaTeX and more.

    This term we are introducing a new style of session.  Our ‘workshops’ take a new approach to learning by presenting you with a problem to be solved and encouraging you to use your prior experience, web searches, in-application help and fellow participants to find a solution to the task. By the end of the session you will have improved problem-solving skills, an increased knowledge of the topic, a ‘suggested solution’ to the problem you worked on and some resources and guidance for further learning. Our first workshop is in Excel Charting later this month.

    For a full list of courses and a link to the booking system visit the student course catalogue or the staff course catalogue (you will need to follow a further link to get to the actual booking pages).  Dates are currently available up to and including Reading Week.

    IT for IOE IT Training

    IT for IOE also offer training in a wide range of digital tools including screencasting and video editing, blogging and Twitter, mind mapping and presentation tools, with some sessions are specifically aimed at Mac users. New sessions this term include one focusing on video sharing tools and a new advanced Endnote workshop.

    Sessions are now available to book until March.  Visit the IT for IOE IT Training pages for more details and a link to the bookings page.

    Online video tutorials

    We have a vast range of high-quality video-based courses available at Lynda.com. These cover technical skills but also business, personal and creative skills as well.  Visit the UCL Lynda.com page to find out more.

    One-to-one help

    Not sure what you need or have a more specific issue you would like help with?  You can also come along to one of the Digital Skills Development drop ins if you want more individual support.

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    Data dialogues – new data, old data and respect

    By Samantha Ahern, on 19 December 2016

    Somewhat unsurprisingly, some would say, over the last two weeks I have been preoccupied with data.

    More specifically, the notion of data having a life of its own.

    This is was the key theme of Prof. Charlotte Roueché’s talk at the Science & Engineering South event The Data Dialogue – At War with Data at King’s College on the 7th December. Citing a number of examples of data reuse such as archaeological maps by British Armed Forces and aerial photographs of Aleppo taken in 1916 for military used now being used as archaeological record, she argued that data develop a life of their own.  This means that we need to make sure that the data we collect is of the best possible quality and well curated. It should meet the FAIR principles: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable. However, once we have released our data into the wild, we will never truly know how it will be used and by whom. Unfortunately, history has shown that not all re-use is benign.

    This then begs the question: how open, should our open data be? Is there a case for not disclosing some data if you know it could do harm. e.g. In the current political climate, the exact location of archaeological sites of religious significance.

    This ties in to the two main themes of the National Statistician John Pullinger’s talk at The Turing Institute event Stats, Decision Making and Privacy on 5th December of respect and value.

    The key thing about respect is that data is about people and entities, this should never be forgotten.  People’s relationships with and perceptions of organisations who collect and process their data varies, as data analysts/scientists we should understand and respect this.  This means being alive to what privacy means to individuals and entities, and the context of how it is being discussed. Caring about the security of the data and demonstrating this through good practices. Additionally, thinking about what we should do, not just what we could do with data available to us. This is very pertinent with the rise in the use of machine learning tools and techniques within data science.

    This last point links into the second theme of value.  Data is valuable. It enables us to make better, more informed decisions and is a critical resource.  However, a balance needs to be drawn between extracting value from the data and respect.  So, is there a need to change the way in which we think about our data analysis processes?

    Dr Cynthia Dwork in her talk on Privacy-Preserving Data Analysis (The Turing Institute event Stats, Decision Making and Privacy) noted that statistics are inherently not private, with aggregate statistics destroying privacy.  Echoing the talk of John Pullinger, Dr Dwork raised the question ‘What is the nature of the protection we wish to provide?’. It is also important to understand who is a threat to our data and why. A move towards differential privacy (https://www.cis.upenn.edu/~aaroth/Papers/privacybook.pdf) was proposed. When an analysis is undertaken in this way the outcome of the analysis is essentially equally likely, irrespective of whether any individuals join, or refrain from joining, the data set. However, this would require a completely different way of working.

    We’ve all heard the old adage of ‘lies, damned lies and statistics’; a key factor in making sure this is not the case is the presentation of the data.  We need to ensure that the data is correctly understood and correctly interpreted.  Start from where your audience is, and think carefully about your choice of words and visualisations. We also need to help our audiences to be more data literate.  But to undermine good analysis and communication we need to invest in skills and develop a good data infrastructure.

    Support the Royal Statistical Society’s Data Manifesto: http://www.rss.org.uk/Images/PDF/influencing-change/2016/RSS_Data%20Manifesto_2016_Online.pdf

    and in the words of John Pullinger ‘step up, step forward and step on the gas’!

     

     

    6 top tips to help you build your Twitter following

    By Jessica Gramp, on 14 November 2016

    Last week as part of the UCL Doctoral Schools’ Digital Identity and Scholarship course, Jessica Gramp from the Digital Education team ran a Tweet for a Week activity to help staff learn to use Twitter (see #ucldias). One of the questions asked by the participants was how to build a strong Twitter following.

    Here are 6 top tips to help you build your Twitter following:

    1. TweetUpload a picture and fill in your Twitter bio with a bit about yourself – a mix of professional and personal interests is usual. You might link these to hashtags.
    2. Follow those with interests similar to your own.
    3. Use hashtags to attract more followers.
    4. Link to your Twitter from your other networks. E.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, email signature, business cards, websites.
    5. Tweet media, such as video and images.
    6. Track your most popular tweets using Twitter Analytics.

    See 10 ways to build a large, quality Twitter following…

     

    Have you got questions, ideas or experience here?

    If so, please do share them, either via the Twitter hashtag #elearningUCL or (for UCL staff and students) via the UCL Moodle Users forum.

    New Digital Skills Development dates now available

    By Caroline Norris, on 7 November 2016

    PhotoFunia-1478191983Dates are now available for courses in the second half of term.  For a full list and a link to the booking system visit the student course catalogue or the staff course catalogue (you will need to follow a further link to get to the actual booking pages).

    As usual we also offer a wide range of courses covering Excel, Photoshop, RStudio, Matlab, LaTeX and more.  We also have a new SharePoint course for staff.

    If you can’t find what you are looking for, we have a vast range of high-quality video-based courses available at Lynda.com.  Visit the UCL Lynda.com page to find out more.  You can also come along to one of Digital Skills Development drop ins if you want more individual support.

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