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New Specialization: Survey Data Collection and Analytics

The Survey Data Collection and Analytics Specialization, an inter-institutional collaboration between the University of Michigan and the University of Maryland, launches April 4. The six-course series of MOOCs provides learners with techniques to collect and analyze good data from various sources and effectively communicate results. With this new Specialization, the U-M Office of Digital Education & Innovation (DEI) continues to shape the future of learning by enabling personalized, engaged, and lifelong learning for the U-M community and learners around the world.

“We’ve entered an era where it’s now well understood that data analysis and visualization skills are incredibly valuable for professionals across fields and industries,” says James DeVaney, Associate Vice Provost for Digital Education & Innovation. “We are excited by our newest digital learning offering as it prepares learners not only to understand how to effectively analyze data and communicate results but also how to apply the best mix of techniques to collect good data in the first place.”

The Survey Data Collection and Analytics Specialization teaches the tools and techniques needed for professionals to source diverse types of data in order to collect information to be used for market research, evaluation research, social science, political research and official government statistics. Professionals in NGOs, government agencies and anyone whose work incorporates customer surveys and/or data collection on a regular basis will find this Specialization useful to understand the importance of collecting quality data and for implementing best practices that differentiate useful data from the large swathes of data available in order to curate useful and correct input.

The Survey Data Collection and Analytics Specialization builds off the success of the Questionnaire Design for Social Surveys MOOC, which has reached over 65,000 global learners and helped to establish a framework for creating well-designed surveys. The Survey Data Collection and Analytics Specialization expands upon the subject of survey design and delves into key aspects for collecting and using data. The Specialization will release the following six courses sequentially: Framework for Data Collection (available today), Questionnaire Design, Data Collection Methods, Sampling People Networks and Records, Dealing with Missing Data and Combining and Analyzing Complex Data.

“Michigan is interested in preparing diverse learners to solve complex global problems,” said DeVaney. “With complex global problems, the data required for breakthrough doesn’t often live in a single tidy discoverable file. 21st century problem solvers have to know how to collect good data in order to analyze and communicate. We’re thrilled to further expand our partnership with Coursera and to share expertise and learning resources from U-M’s Institute for Social Research, and the Joint Program in Survey Methodology, with learners around the world.”

This Specialization, the result of the collaborative efforts of Professors Frederick Conrad and James Lepkowski from the University of Michigan and Professors Frauke Kreuter and Professor Richard Valliant from the University of Maryland, showcases the potential for innovation to arise from collaboration between institutions. The Specialization aligns with U-M President’s Schlissel’s priorities to enhance U-M excellence through inter institutional collaboration in order to foster experimentation and innovation in education, on both a residential and global scale. The seed for this collaborative endeavor can be sourced to the faculty partners’ involvement with the University of Michigan’s Institute for Statistical Research (ISR) which is the world’s largest academic social science survey and research organization. Professors Conrad, Lepkowski, Kreuter and Valliant have collaborated together on numerous committees and development activities over the past decade through their participation in the Michigan Program in Survey Methodology through the ISR and the Joint Program in Survey Methodology through the University of Maryland.

The University of Maryland is the state’s flagship university and one of the nation’s preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 37,000 students, 9,000 faculty and staff, and 250 academic programs. Its faculty includes three Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners, 47 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars.

DEI aims to redefine public residential education at a 21st century research university through the creative use of technology and targeted experimentation with digital programs in order to enable engaged, personalized and lifelong learning for the entire Michigan community and learners around the world. To date, U-M has reached more than 4 million lifelong learners through MOOCs developed by faculty in partnership with DEI and continues to be a pioneer in digital learning and learning analytics. This Specialization is part of a continued commitment from DEI to transform 200 courses by 2017.

Enrollment for the first course in the Survey Data Collection and Analysis Specialization is currently open. To enroll/for additional information, please visit: Survey Data Collection and Analysis Specialization.


Frederick Conrad
Professor Frederick Conrad
Research Professor, Survey Methodology
Institute for Social Research
University of Michigan

James Lepkowski
Professor James Lepkowski
Research Professor, Survey Methodology and Professor of Biostatistics
Institute for Social Research and School of Public Health
University of Michigan

Frauke Kreuter
Professor Frauke Kreuter
Professor, Joint Program in Survey Methodology
University of Maryland

Richard Valliant
Professor Richard Valliant
Research Professor, Joint Program in Survey Methodology
University of Maryland