Education

Paper: Program Description Abstract

Excel-evate: Developing a Data Visualization Workshop in Excel

Tuesday, May 7
5:35 PM - 5:50 PM
Room: Columbus EF (East Tower, Ballroom/Gold Level)

Background : Our academic medical center library began offering data visualization assuming the majority of interest would be in advanced, technology centered workshops like R coding and specialized tools, but a gap remained in teaching “lower-tech” options. In order to provide programming that is meaningful and useful, we surveyed our community and found that a clear majority of participants indicated interest in Excel visualization. This paper explores how we developed expertise in Excel visualization and began teaching this topic. We find Excel visualization relevant to researchers given the ubiquity of Microsoft Office products and the perceived lower barriers to entry.
Description : To develop the course, we began using online-resources, particularly blogs, and e-books already owned by our university’s library to take an intensive dive in using Excel for data visualization. We demo-ed the class in a small group setting for medical students, and made corrections to content. The class is formatted to be mostly hands-on. The workshop begins with relatively simple visualization tasks and moves on to more advanced features, culminating with "publication-ready" annotated figures that combine chart types. The Excel data visualization workshop that has been hosted four times. Teaching the class has led to iterative updates in content as well as assessment of learning.

Conclusion : To date, over 40 people have taken the workshop. Over half of these have been project coordinators or data analysts. Postdocs and interns collectively represented roughly 25% of attendees. 100% of attendees indicated they definitely or probably will use what they learned. Finally 96% said the material level was just right, and 100% would either highly recommend or recommend the workshop. That said a major challenge in the workshop is uneven levels of computer literacy, as well as difficulty using Excel for advanced visualizations. Based on our experiences we also hope to explore offering workshops in PowerPoint for infographic design.

Fred Willie Zametkin LaPolla

Research and Data Librarian
NYU Langone Health
New York, New York

Fred LaPolla is a Research and Data Librarian with NYU Health Sciences Library. He has a strong interest in data visualization and teaches workshops in tools including GraphPad Prism, Excel and R Studio. In addition to working with NYU HSL's Data Services Team, Fred is liaison to the departments of General Internal Medicine and Radiology. He earned his MLS at Queens College, CUNY.

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