Teaching Data Analysis with R

by cp2530 on May 6, 2010

Title: Teaching Data Analysis with R
Location: International Affaird Building, Room 707, 420 W. 118th St
Link out: Click here
Description: Mark Hansen — on sabbatical at the New York Times R&D Group from the Department of Statistics, UCLA — will talk about the use of R for teaching data analysis at both the undergraduate and high school levels. The talk will draw on recent experiences with the Los Angeles Unified School District and the design of a six-week data analysis unit within a year-long computer science curriculum. While the talk is framed around problems related to teaching, it involves themes and data types that are not typically discussed in an introductory statistics class.

Broadly, the unit is designed as a kind of “participatory sensing” exercise. Participatory sensing is a variation on traditional embedded sensing that enlists the efforts of the general public to collect and analyze data. In our case, Google has generously donated a number of G2 phones that students use to capture geo-tagged and timestamped observations. From a practical perspective, the talk surveys R packages for representing, visualizing and modeling data on time and location, as well as images and text. Students in the unit learn a kind of story telling with fairly complex data — An activity that is not entirely distinct from traditional statistics, but, given the unit’s position within a computer science course, emphasizes computation over mathematics, information technology and the “mechanics of data” over probability and analytical approximations.

Finally, Mark will discuss how this work has been extended to other outlets for this kind of story telling, and include a presentation of a number of public art works that draw on data feeds. These include Moveable Type, a permanent artwork in the lobby of the New York Times Building; and Terre Natale, and a recent commission by the Cartier Foundation on the theme of global migration.
Start Time: 06:15
Date: 2010-05-06

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