Telling Stories with Data


Units: 6


Data are everywhere.  For policy makers, the ability to tell the right story using data can make the difference between a successful initiative and one that fails.  Part art, part science, visualizing data is a process that is both well established in existing disciplines and experimental and rapidly changing in others.  In this course we’ll explore both ends of the spectrum as we deconstruct and reconstruct data visualizations, dig into our own stories informed by data in compelling ways to help our readers understand complex issues, and experiment with new ways to represent data about our work, our community, and even ourselves.  This course will provide hands-on training and experimentation with a number of tools, and students will have some flexibility to concentrate on mediums that best match their desired outcomes for a final project deliverable (print, digital, interactive or immersive). By the end of this course, students will have developed a portfolio of work, skills in a number of different tools and applied techniques, and a more thorough understanding of how to communicate through presentation and data design.  Students will be able to immediately apply what they’ve learned to both other coursework as well as on-the-job needs.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Create a publicly accessible portfolio of work. 
  2. Build online data visualizations following good design practices (color, text, layout, choice of visualization, etc). 
  3. Critique data visualizations by applying critique methodologies.  Be able to justify your own design decisions. 
  4. Develop and present a narrative suitable for a subject audience for a selected topic that is clear, compelling and persuasive.
  5. Conduct user research to ensure data visualizations and the supporting narrative are being communicated effectively.
  6. Apply methods for explaining and presenting data, constructing and telling a story using that data.