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DAT222x - Essential Statistics for Data Analysis using Excel

Call me a nerd, but statistics are fascinating and useful. I'd had quite a bit of course-work years ago in school, and was looking forward to "Essential Statistics for Data Analysis using Excel" as a refresher course. Unfortunately, the experience of this edX course might be tag-lined "Sadistics." Completing this was a painful experience. I hope the notes here will make the experience a bit more tolerable for others.

Essential Statistics for Data Analysis using Excel

There is a huge amount of content being presented. In terms of coverage, it is worthy of a full semester college course in statistics.

DAT222 Course Instructors

The vast majority of topics are delivered in two alternate manners. First by Liberty Munson, a Microsoft presenter who narrates from a pre-written script. The visuals on her presentations are pretty basic, and it quickly becomes tedious hearing her rattle through the topics. The second presenter is an Indiana University professor named Wayne Winston who typically restates the same topic in a complementary wa and then works out the examples within Excel. He's got a really dry delivery. I suspect his in-person lectures are well received. Of the two -- I often got more meaning out of his presentations.

This course will be tough-sledding if this is your first exposure to statistics. For those with prior exposure it will be a reasonably good refresher, but overall I'd say the delivery of topics is not very inspired. It would benefit from more deliberate emphasis of the use of these statistics in the real-world, and from a more thoughtful script from Liberty. Factoring in the homework, the 170+ videos (1-5 minutes in duration), the quizzes and final test -- there is a lot of work involved  to complete this. I tallied over 60 hours. Here is a link to the course curriculum.

Worked Examples in Excel

The quizzes account for 50% of the total grade, the final exam accounts for 40%, and the homework (including the course surveys) accounts for the final 10%. As with all courses so far -- you must achieve an overall score of 70% to pass the course.

There is a lot of critical feedback about the subjectiveness of quiz/test questions and for the number of typographic and scoring inaccuracies. This all surfaces on the class forum where participants can ask questions. This should be visited regularly as you are taking the quizzes and tests. Many clarifications to the questions are in the forums but (as of the time of writing) had not made their way into the questions themselves. A pretty clear opinion comes out in the forums that this class was not ready for publication.

As a coping strategy for how much time is required -- I would recommend that you work the homework, quizzes and tests in parallel. There is no time limit and nothing in the class delivery that prohibits this. If you are pressed for time -- you might choose to focus on the areas you are not familiar, complete those sections and when you've topped the 70% barrier -- mark the class done.

Two written resources that may be helpful: