Just Data

Ethics and Data Use

On March 16, 2015, I will host a workshop in Saint Paul, Minnesota that introduces social workers to thinking about ethics and data. As with last year, I decided to make the materials for this workshop open to anyone who wants them.

I believe we do a lot more learning when we create knowledge with other people than when we are told things by a single supposed expert. Further, there isn’t a lot of writing in the arena of big data and ethics in social services. So, I decided to replicate some past experiments and ask participants do some reading and processing on their own toward the beginning of the workshop (we aren’t allowed to provide pre-workshop materials), and then to share their learning with the rest of the group. I think this will be a much better way “in” to some of the concepts in this workshop that might be difficult because much of the language will be new to social workers. So we’ll do a jigsaw. Participants will enter the room and have the sets of articles below available to them to browse. Hopefully I can convince people to choose diversely between these areas. Then we can process these ideas together.

What I wrote last August still rings true:

My hope for the workshop is to invite people into what Ilene Alexander calls being a liminal participant – someone in an in-between state, about to move in one direction or the other into new knowledge and understanding. I think many of us in Social Work and Social Services have learned to be intimidated by technology, [and especially by “data”]. It’s “too much” when there are so many other important issues to consider. Whether we like it or not, it’s moving in ways that we can’t ignore (and shouldn’t have been). For our benefit and that of those we serve, we need to get past our defenses and sense of intimidation. At least to start, to move into a space where learning is possible. I get to do a post-assessment for the workshop. I’m considering whether I can do a pre- and post-assessment that will give me clues toward threshold concepts for learning about [big data in social work]. Knowing these threshold concepts would help plan future workshops.

Without further delay, here’s the list. Several of these resources come from a phenomenal list at Santa Clara University.

What resources do you have to recommend? Any major areas you think should be here?

Highlighted Projects in Big, Linked, and Open Data


Image Credit: Data vs. Spock, JD Hancock, CC-BY

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