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SAS launches free data literacy resources to build essential life skills

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SAS, the leader in analytics, is launching free data literacy resources to help people navigate and thrive in a world awash in data. Data literacy is the ability to consume, interpret and understand data, and is an essential skill for success in today’s world and workplaces. Through a new course and a free tool for educators, SAS says it is making data literacy accessible for all.

“SAS understands the power of data to help us understand our world, to do good, and to solve problems,” said SAS CEO Jim Goodnight. “In our connected and data-rich society, the ability to apply and use data in everyday life is essential for everyone, not just data scientists and mathematicians.”

From social media content to smart watches to home health monitors, data has become a fundamental part of our lives. This has been particularly true during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Data literacy course rooted in today’s misinformation challenges

Over the past year, the pandemic has highlighted the critical and urgent need for data literacy skills in ways we haven’t seen before. Faced with a tidal wave of information – some true, some false, a lot of it biased and occasionally misleading, many people found themselves overwhelmed and underprepared to make meaning of the data they were encountering.

The new SAS data literacy course, Data Literacy Essentials, introduces data basics, as well as what it means to be data-literate. It teaches strategies for seeing the usefulness in data, interrogating data, discovering meaning, making decisions and communicating data. The course follows the journeys of a concerned parent, a small business owner and a public health expert, who each use data to navigate and problem-solve through the pandemic.

The course also focuses on the ethical challenges of working with data. Data ethics refers to how we seek out, interpret and present data responsibly, including the moral judgments we make when working with data. The course covers how biases influence the ways we interact with and communicate data. It will help people gain the confidence and skills to question the stories people tell with data, and also provide guidance on ways we can work with data more responsibly.

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