Data management is boring and quite likely, you are not happy about how you do it today. Research data collected in practice typically evokes complaints when it finally reaches the statisticians or bioinformaticians as they claim that it is not being properly organized. That’s not because you made a mistake: it’s simply hard to do when you set up your small scale study. Tools like Excel will give you practically infite freedom with little guidance and every study seems to be so different from the last. Basic data management isn’t really taught in most research environments unless you’re talking about clinical trials that require elaborate and specialized software systems. Luckily, there is a Coursera course starting on June 2nd, 2014 that teaches the basics of data management. While it is focussed on the tool the organizers provide, the contents of the course should allow you to build better data structures.
MOOC. People have been hailing Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as the next big thing in higher education. Accordingly, the number of people complaining about their failures is now substantial. MOOCs are following the usual hype cycle and we could close the post here. Then again, I recently became a MOOC disciple and need to vent some praise of a course on the Coursera platform that people reading this blog should be aware of: Medical Neuroscience presented by Leonard White (Duke).