Course Information

META's free certificate course is open to program staff of ORR-funded organizations in the United States with little or no prior experience in mobile data collection. Interested organizations should submit this application by February 20, 2018. Some applicants will be selected to receive tablets, while others will be invited to participate using their existing devices (see below). All applicants will be notified of participation decisions in late February.

The approximate time commitment for this course is 20 hours over 8 weeks from March-April 2018. If you wish to participate in this course, you must ALSO be able to commit to piloting mobile data collection in one of your organization's existing programs after the course. Participants will have access to ongoing, project-based technical assistance (TA) to help guide their pilots from April through June 2018.

Course Requirements:
This course will focus on open-source, freely available technologies which do not require additional budgets or access to often costly cloud-based services.  It does, however, assume access to the following:
  • A PC or Apple computer with Internet access and Microsoft Excel (or other software that supports .xls or .csv files); 
  • A phone or headset with audio capabilities for participation in the five webinar sessions; and
  • Android tablets or phones for use during and after the course. Devices must run on Android, so Apple IOS devices like iPhones and iPads will not work for this training. These devices will also need to have initial access to the Internet (the Google Play Store) to set up, but do not need Internet access after that. If this requirement would prevent you from participating in the course, please indicate this in your application. META is able to provide reimbursement for tablets to a limited number of participants, up to a cost of $100/device, upon successful conclusion of the course and mobile data pilot program.
Course Objectives:
This course will provide participants with introductory practical knowledge of how to collect standardized data using mobile devices and the platform Open Data Kit (ODK). At the end of the course, participants will be able to carry out basic data collection from “end to end” using a mobile device. Upon completion, participants will be able to:
  • Determine when surveys are an appropriate data collection method;
  • Explain what mobile data collection is, what its advantages and disadvantages are, and what Open Data Kit (ODK) is;
  • Develop basic survey/assessment questions;
  • Set up ODK on their mobile devices and computer;
  • Design a basic survey form in ODK Build, save the form and export it as an XML file;
  • Create a basic data collection plan that is appropriate for their program;
  • Configure ODK Collect, load forms into it, and use it to collect data;
  • Aggregate survey data from ODK Collect into a single database (spreadsheet form) using ODK Briefcase;
  • Begin managing and analyzing data collected through ODK in MS Excel; and
  • Begin to visualize data in MS Excel.
Webinar Dates - All Thursdays, from 3:00-4:00PM ET:
  • Session 1: What is Mobile Data Collection? - March 1
  • Session 2: Writing Surveys and Designing Forms in ODK Build - March 15
  • Session 3: Creating a Survey Data Collection Plan - March 29
  • Session 4: Collecting Data with ODK Collect and Aggregating Data with ODK Briefcase - April 12
  • Session 5: Analyzing, Presenting and Visualizing Data: Basic Techniques - April 26
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