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Oct 19: Data Literacy – The Chainsaw Case

“In the age of Big Data we often believe that our predictions about the future are better than ever before. But …in the real world, we often get better results by using simple rules and considering less information.” (From a review of Gerd Gigerenzer’s Data Savvy)

The Introduction to Data Literacy course, taught by Veronica Carlan, is your entry into the world of fundamental analytics. In this course, you will learn:

● How to collect, store and analyze data in Excel
● Understand and appropriately use variable and data types (quantitative, qualitative)
● Depict basic displays of data in Excel
● Understand and apply rates and ratios
● Produce and analyze summary statistics
● Identify and correct common problems with data and data visualization
● Perform basic data cleaning

Jan 28 – 25, 2022: Introduction to Data Literacy

See you in class!

– Peter Bruce
Founder of The Institute for Statistics Education at


News You Need to Know

What’s happening in the field of Data Science, Analytics, Statistics?

Data Literacy – The Chainsaw Case

A famous Harvard Business School case on forecasting chainsaw sales dramatically illustrated the limits of statistical models when common business sense and clear-eyed thinking are missing. This “data literacy” is still vital even in the era of powerful AI methods. In the chainsaw case, []



In deployed machine learning pipelines, “drift” is changes in the model environment that cause the model performance to degrade over time. Drift might result from data quality changes. For example []



Veronica Carlan

Ms. Veronica Carlan holds a Masters of Science in Mathematics and Statistics from Georgetown University, and is a PhD candidate in Mathematics Education at the University of Maryland. She teaches the Data Literacy course at and related training programs at Elder Research, where she has also worked on text analytics, anomaly detection and app development and maintenance.  She was previously a professor at Northern Virginia Community College where she taught calculus, differential equations and statistics both online and in person.