The following pages of educational material, in the form of seven lab assignments, comprise the curriculum designed for Year Three of the Civic Innovation Fellowship program. Video recordings of lectures, and their slide decks, which walk students through the material and supplement the written assignments, are available through BetaNYC’s YouTube channel.
We view this curriculum as a complete course on comprehending and using New York City’s landscape of Open Data, with free and open source technology. The course begins with a lab that sets students up with several communication tools they need for the course, including Slack, Discourse, and Google Drive: Communication is Key: Introduction to the Tools. The following week focuses on New York City Civics, including the history of New York City, structure of its government, role of Community Boards, and the evolution of Open data: Historical Context of Open Data and Civic Tech in New York City. During the next week, students explore the physical and virtual landscape of Community Boards: Manhattan’s Community Boards: On the Earth and on the Web. Both of these weeks include selected readings to supplement the lectures. In subsequent labs, the course becomes more technical:
In Lab 3, Getting to Know the Landscape of NYC Open Data, we teach students how to gain information and insights from six Open data portals (other than Socrata).
In Lab 4, Getting to Know Socrata & Using its Built-in Features, we teach usage of Socrata, as a platform for data analysis, visualization, and making maps.
In Lab 5, Analyzing Large Datasets in Spreadsheets, we teach how to analyze large datasets in spreadsheets, using Google Sheets as the main spreadsheet platform.
In Lab 6, Mapping and Analysis on the Cloud with Carto, we teach how to analyze and map data in Carto, a popular and versatile web-mapping software.
Building on the curriculum from last year, this year’s course is meant to provide a strong conceptual and technical foundation for learning and innovating with NYC Open data and Civic tech. While it was designed for the CUNY fellows, it may also be useful for Community Board members and other city dwellers who have an interest in better understanding their environment and environs through the newly-available data and technology that leaders of the Open data movement have worked so hard to provide to the public.
To read the full curriculum, download: BetaNYC’s CIF Packaged Curriculum 2016-2017 Manual (Shared with MBPO).