This free course will teach you how to write your own computer programs, one line of code at a time. You'll learn how to access open data, clean it and analyse it and to produce visualisations. You will also learn how to write up and share your analyses, privately or publicly.
You will install free software (see Requirements below) to learn to code in Python, a widely used programming language across all disciplines, due to its support for scientific and engineering libraries and visualisation tools, and wide range of development tools.
You will write up analyses and do coding exercises using the popular Jupyter Notebooks platform, which allows you to see immediately the result of running your code and helps you identify - and fix - any errors more easily.
You will look at real data from the World Health Organisation, the World Bank and other organisations.
The course does not assume prior experience in programming or data analysis. Basic familiarity with a spreadsheet application will be an advantage.
The course does not require any knowledge of statistics, but you need to have basic numeracy skills, like writing arithmetic expressions, using percentages and understanding scientific notation. If you wish to brush up on your numeracy skills, we recommend the OpenLearn courses Basic Science: understanding numbers or Succeed with maths: part 1.
To study this course you will use specialist software. You can use the software online, via a free account on a website, or offline, by downloading and installing a free software package. The online solution requires a good internet connection and has some limitations.
The offline software has no limitations and is the recommended option. However, you will need access to a desktop or laptop computer on which you can install software. The software is free and there are versions available for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. You will need about 3 GB of free disk space to download and install the software, and to store datasets that will be provided in the course.
Whether you choose the online or offline software option, you will need to be proficient in basic computer tasks, like creating folders, downloading files and copying them to specific folders, etc. In terms of accessibility, you will be asked to use your web browser and to type code.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- understand basic programming and data analysis concepts
- recognise open data sources as a public resource
- use a programming environment to develop programs
- write simple programs to analyse large bodies of data and produce useful results.
The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations for the course. We welcome your feedback and suggestions to improve the course.
The postcards with the extra clue for solving The Code are no longer available, but you can still take the challenge...
Here are the six questions from the postcards.
(1) What is the seventh prime number?
(2) What is the fifth digit after the decimal point in the decimal expansion of π?
(3) How many regular tessellations are there?
(4) How many sides does the third shape in the von Koch snowflake construction have?
(5) In what year was Edward Lorenz’s presentation that gave rise to the phrase the butterfly effect?
(6) How many dots are there on a pair of dice?
The information on the back of the postcards will help you solve these problems. The solutions to these problems are six whole numbers. If any of the numbers has more than two digits then you should ignore all but the last two digits. For example, if one of the answers is 7395, then we strike through all but the last two digits:
7395, and we are left with an answer of 95. Highlight your six numbers in the grid below.
Now highlight the corresponding six positions in the letter grid below, and the clue, which is a six letter word, will be revealed!Highlight the corresponding six positions in this letter grid