Instructor Notes

Instructor notes

Lesson purpose

The purpose of this lesson is not to teach how to do data analysis in spreadsheets, but to teach good data organization and how to do some data cleaning and quality control in a spreadsheet program.


Concluding points

  • Now your data is organized so that a computer can read and understand it. This let’s you use the full power of the computer for your analyses as we’ll see in the rest of the workshop.
  • While your data is now neatly organized, it still might have errors or missing data or other problems. It’s like you put all your data in the right drawers, but the drawers might still be messy. The next lesson is going to teach you OpenRefine which is great for data cleaning and for some of the quality control that we touched on in this lesson. It also has the advantage that it automatically keeps track of the steps you take.

Technical tips and tricks

Provide information on setting up your environment for learners to view your live coding (increasing text size, changing text color, etc), as well as general recommendations for working with coding tools to best suit the learning environment.

Potential issues

Excel looks and acts different on different operating systems

The main challenge with this lesson is that Excel looks very different and how you do things is even different between Mac and PC, and between different versions of Excel. So, the presenter’s environment will only be the same as some of the learners.

We need better notes and screenshots of how things work on both Mac and PC. But we likely won’t be able to cover all the different versions of Excel.

If you have a helper who has experience with the other OS than you, it would be good to prep them to help with this lesson and tell how people to do things in the other OS.

People are not interactive or responsive on the Exercise

This lesson depends on people working on the exercise and responding with things that are fixed. If your audience is reluctant to participate, start out with some things on your own, or ask a helper for their answers. This generally gets even a reluctant audience started.