My phone has recently been reminding me that this time last year I was in the University of Namibia conducting a scoping review of the statistics support required there (more pictures than you would ever need are at the end of this post). That scoping review identified a few requirements, not dissimilar to those I recognised from my own institution. One of those identified was training in statistical software. So next weekend, Dr David Gillespie, Dr Paul Brennan and I will travel there again to deliver a three day introduction to R course for University of Namibia staff. This course has been a year in the making, with a core team including Dr Lilian Pazvakawambwa and Dr Nelago Indongo from UNAM and Dr Daniel Farewell and Dr Chao Huang from Cardiff University all contributing over the past 12 months.
Obviously we are massively excited about what this upcoming course brings. Our approach I think is quite interesting. Instead of starting off by building up the elements of statistical programming in R with objects and vectors, we plan on diving straight into what R can do. We will take datasets as our building block, and start with the premise that the problem most analysts face is that they have got data that they need to explore. This resonates well with online resources for teaching R like this and this.
We have got an ambitious schedule to get through, covering the basics of importing, manipulating, visualizing, analyzing and reporting data analysis (I will let you know how that works out!). And like all Phoenix projects there is an emphasis on sustainability so throughout we have ambitions to train-the-trainer. This includes making all of our materials available and accessible to all of our delegates to make sure that they can pass on the training to colleagues.
As ever it is a massive privilege to be able to contribute to this project. The Phoenix project is an enormous force for good, with wonderful opportunities for both Cardiff University and the University of Namibia. In addition, in the past 12 months I have taken up a senior lecturer position (in data science) at the University of Exeter so I am keen to make sure there are collaboration opportunities for my new University also. The last time I was there a fantastic undergraduate data science course was being developed and I am fascinated to find out how that has progressed.