Increase Your Digital Literacy with a Fall Course!

Learn to Program

Programming with Python

Multiple instructors
(U82 CIM 133)

An introductory course for students with little or no programming experience. Topics include the software development process, documentation, debugging, and testing within the commonly used Python environment. At the end of the course students should be able to write and debug basic programs to display and interpret data using accepted programming conventions and styles.

Introduction to Data Science with Python

Mark Pedigo
(U20 Math 230)

A continuation of Programming with Python, students apply their skills to data science examples. The course will start with a brief review of Python and then shift to technical topics such as working with the numerical library NumPy; data manipulation with pandas; and creating graphics with matplotlib, Seaborn and other data visualization libraries. The final project will be an application of machine learning using the scikit-learn library. Prerequisites: U20 133 or permission of the instructor


Understand Statistics and Data

Introduction to Data and Information Management in Health Sciences

Sundari Balan
(U86 HCARE 318)

This course presents the basic principles for understanding the design, conduct, analysis, and endpoints of clinical trials. We will review statistical terminology and explain trial design from a clinician's point of view, including theoretical and practical aspects of randomization, stratification, blinding, and single center versus multi-center trials. Additional topics include hypothesis formulation, commonly used research designs, statistical significance, confidence intervals, and statistical tests.

Introduction to Statistics

Rob Culverhouse
(U20 Math 1011)

This course covers basic concepts of statistics, including data collection (sampling and designing experiments), data organization (tables, graphs, frequency distributions, numerical summarization of data), and statistical inference (elementary probability and hypothesis testing). Prerequisite: high school algebra.

Applied Statistics

Dave Dixon
Michael Yingling
(U20 Math 205)

This is a first course in statistics with examples and applications from a variety of disciplines, and emphasis on the social, behavioral, and natural sciences. Students learn about key topics and statistical methods that may be applied to areas such as economics, mathematics, psychology, business, and health sciences, to name a few. The course provides a foundation in descriptive and inferential statistics, and in probability. Students learn numerical and graphical methods of describing data and study some of the more common distributions. Topics include hypothesis testing, confidence-interval estimation, correlation, regression, analysis of variance, contingency tables, quality control, and nonparametric statistics. This course may be applied to University College majors in economics, managerial economics, mathematics, and political science. This course is entirely web-based, with all course components online. U20 Math 205 and 305 may not BOTH be taken for credit. Prerequisite: college algebra.

Introduction to Data Analysis for Public Policy and Politics

Joseph Frank
(U25 PolSci 3232)

The goal of this course is to establish a baseline understanding of the qualitative and quantitative techniques, tools, and processes used to wield data for effective decision-making in government, politics and the nonprofit sector. Its approach focuses on pragmatic, interactive learning using logical methods, basic tools, and publicly available data to practice extracting insights and building recommendations. It is designed for students with little prior statistical or mathematical training and no prior experience with statistical software.

Data Analysis and Visualization in Tableau

Manan Shroff
(U44 Bus 206)

In this course, students will create interactive visualizations in order to gain meaningful insights about a dataset. Students will learn the basic functions of Tableau, including filtering, sorting, formatting common chart types, and visualization aesthetics. Advanced topics will include dashboard actions, calculation functions, and parameters. Students will also learn to explore, dissect, and reproduce existing visualizations created by Tableau experts. A variety of datasets will be provided but students will also have the opportunity to bring in their own datasets for analysis. This course is ideal for students who have an understanding of descriptive statistics and have analyzed datasets using other data tools (Excel, R, SPSS, SAS, etc.).


Transform Spatial Data into Maps

Introduction to GIS

Jennifer Moore
(U90 GIS 200)

This course introduces students to the fundamental principles and applications of geographic information systems (GIS), their underlying geospatial science and spatial thinking. This problem-based course explores applications of GIS to spatial questions in the areas of social science, business, the humanities and earth sciences. Example topics include understanding spatial data types; map coordinate systems and projections; basic spatial data analysis; acquiring, editing, creating and managing geospatial data; and processing and visualizing data using GIS. This hands-on course works through problems using (mainly) ESRI ArcGIS software (including ArcMap and ArcCatalog), but other open source tools will also be introduced. Students who complete this course should be able to apply skills to think through a spatial problem and employ GIS tools to address it.

Advanced GIS

Mollie Webb
(U90 GIS 300)

This course is designed to move the student beyond fundamental data presentation and map production skills. Lectures will introduce key concepts and lead into hands-on exercises to reinforce understanding and provide more depth. Topics are selected to help familiarize the student with advanced GIS analysis tools and techniques. A semester project will provide experience in the planning and execution of real-world projects using geospatial technology. Course objectives include applying fundamental GIS concepts, performing spatial analysis, developing proficiency with core ArcGIS software and selected extensions, resolution of problems, and efficient delivery of results. Completion of an introductory level GIS course is a prerequisite.

Digital Cartography

Scott Horn
(U90 GIS 303)

In today's world, it is imperative that students develop the necessary skills to communicate their ideas to a large audience in an efficient manner. Graphics and visual representations are one of the most effective ways to neatly convey complex data sets to readers. This course presents both theoretical and hands-on mapping and graphical problems to students. Students will learn to solve these problems with self-created solutions. The course teaches students the basics of GIS-based mapping for producing publishable work. Students will develop basic skills in computer-aided mapping and computer drafting primarily using the ArcGIS Suite of desktop software, ArcGIS and Google online web mapping, and other tools. Students will also be introduced to other mapping or statistical programs as needed.

Public Health Applications of GIS

Haley Becker
(U90 GIS 425)

Geographic information systems (GIS) are increasingly central to public health practice, and the goal of this course is to familiarize students with the principles, methods, and techniques necessary to apply GIS in diverse public health practice settings. Case studies will be presented to introduce the application of GIS technologies. Students will learn from examples that demonstrate the spatial characterization of social and environmental conditions. Hands-on exercises and a student project will provide practical experience in the use of GIS software tools and methods for organizing, investigating, and describing public health information and data. Prerequisite: Introduction to GIS (U90 GIS 200) or Applications of GIS (EnSt 380/580).

Apply Technology Across Fields

Communications Technology and New Media

Lisa Brown
(U48 Comm 378)

This course explores concepts, production, design, publications, strategies and practical applications of interactive media. The course focuses on emerging topics and technologies to help students develop strategies for addressing and resolving both basic and complex issues associated with interactive media. Case studies and guest speakers will be introduced to examine a range of interactive media topics including SEO, web advertising, social media marketing, interactive public relations, web design and development, media measurement, e-mail marketing, and games and entertainment.

Digital Communications Analytics

David Collett
(U48 Comm 385)

For the last quarter century, organizations, companies and brands have entered into an increasingly evolving world of digital communications - offering unbridled opportunities to reach and engage their key stakeholder audiences. This course delves deep into how to uncover and utilize data analytics and their related insights to better understand, plan and optimize communications within digital channels and platforms. It goes into detail on how the digital ecosystem has evolved, and still is evolving, due to technological advances, regulatory actions and other cultural impacts. It explores how to use digital data to better understand audiences and their behavior as well as for specific marketing and communications objectives, such as launching a new product and planning for a crisis.

Public Relations Principles and Social Media

Kara Boyd
(U48 Comm 350)

This course provides an overview of public relations and its social media and online components. We will consider theoretical and practical applications of communications with various publics: media, employees, consumers, the community, and shareholders. This course is fully online. Students enrolled in day classes at Washington University should review the policies of their home division on credit earned for online courses.


Wendi Fitzgerald
(U49 JRN 330)

This course introduces students to the tools, techniques, and concepts of visual journalism; the mechanics of photography and its uses as a language of communication. Students develop an awareness of visual literacy and establish a point of view through shooting assignments. The benchmark for success is understanding concepts, not photographic expertise. No darkroom work. Access to a digital or film camera and a flash is recommended. Cell phone cameras are acceptable.

Understand Virtual Currency

Virtual Money Makes the World Go Round: Paypal, Bitcoin, and the Global politics of De-Monetization

Winifred Poster
(U85 IA 5861)

Markets are shifting from paper to virtual currencies, but are the benefits experienced evenly around the world? This course will examine the transformation to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and mobile payment systems like Paypal. It will ask how state governments and policy-makers are responding and the impact for communities of the poor, ethnic minorities, and women in the global south. Can mobile money circumvent broadscale governmental corruption, or does it solidify the power of elites? Are farmers in Kenya able to use their phones to get better prices for their harvests, or do mobile payment apps submerge them in debt to financial institutions? Why does the de-monetization program in India, which removed lower currency paper bills from circulation, rob rural women of their life savings? Who are the hidden workers of these new industries, like villagers in outsourcing centers who process financial data for the global north? What is the impact on the environment, as Bitcoin servers around the world collectively consume as much energy as the country of Denmark? What does it mean that widespread cryptocurrencies are operating completely outside state regulations and oversight? We'll bring in financial and international development experts, as well as explore local debates in St. Louis, like the role of our tech hub in designing mobile payment apps, and the activist campaigns against payday lenders.