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Communicating COVID: Using Data & Visualizations to Build Trust and Cause Action


Units: 3


Dates:  October 23, 30 & Nov 6.

More people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. than in any other country. Even adjusting for population, the US death rate from COVID was higher than almost all other industrialized nations.  Why was the U.S response to COVID-19 so ineffective, when relatively simple precautions that could have contained the spread were known early on?   Did we not have the right data,  or did we just not effectively communicate the story the data told, so that people were misinformed, disinformed or unable to make sense of what was going on? Most experts believe COVID-19 was not the last pandemic; how can we do better the next time that this happens?
This micro-course will look at data -- its analysis, visualization, interpretation, and communication -- and explore better ways to get people to trust data and science, and then act in responsible ways. Using the many datasets that we now have around COVID -- everything from origins and transmission to response and resistance -- we will look at topics such as information visualization, data science, behavioral design, and policy making, by using exercises in data exploration, predictive analytics, and presentations to multiple audiences.
"Trust the science" is a phrase that is only meaningful if you actually understand the science, and can explain it simply to others. This course, which features accomplished practitioners, a panel of experts, and intense lab work, will help you do both. Your deliverable will be structured as an actual, evidence-based, data-rich, and effectively-visualized recommendation.