In order to keep the “assignments” category clean, I am putting posts about example data for the design challenge under a tag: DC Example Data. If you go to that link, you’ll see all the posts about example data. There’s not much there yet, but keep watching…

We’ve posted a bunch of pages about the design challenge:

I realize that I never formally said some things that might wonder about:

  • We do keep score. Participation is a large part of how I know that you’re learning things in the class. We keep track of whether people show up, if they do show up do they participate, etc.
  • If you don’t like to participate in the conversation, there are other ways for people to show me that they are learning (for example, one student sends me notes summarizing what he learned from the class). But participation means more than just taking in from lectures: it means giving back to the class.
  • If you are assigned to work in a pair/team, I assume the work comes from the whole team unless the team all tells me otherwise. I will not try to assign different credit within a team (unless the entire team says so).

I will be better about providing feedback (it’s something I realize that I am bad at).

You have all given me a great deal of slack as I try to figure out how to make a class like this work. I promise to be equally understanding when I need to evaluate people.

In case you’re wondering, the elements of the class (as far as grading) will be (I am finally far enough into it that we can predict it):

  • Participation and readings
  • Assignments (besides readings) and challenges (like the critique assignment and the design challenge)
  • Project(s) – my plan is to have people do projects after break. The idea is to break things in two (2 projects) with the idea that if the first one goes well, the second one can be an extension of it. But if you make a bad choice in your first project, you can try something different for the second half.

The week in 838 (Feb 15-19)

February 12, 2010

in News

This week, we’ll continue to think about how to use visual encodings and start our first Design Challenge.

  • On Tuesday (Feb 16), we’ll look at the encoding redesign/analysis assignments that people did as a way to think through these issues of encoding (primarily, but abstraction and problem selection as well). I’ll also give out some preview of the design challenge.
  • On Thursday (Feb 18), we’ll begin the design challenge. Our domain experts will be visiting the class to introduce the “domain science” and I’ll show off some initial experiments. (often, the search for a good design requires going through a bunch of bad ones). We’ll also assign the teams for the challenge on this day.

Note: I am intentionally not giving you any details about the design challenge until it begins. Except that you will work in assigned teams of 2-3 and you will have 2 weeks.

Also, there will be no readings due this week. I’ll announce the readings for the following week soon (so you can get a head start).


February 11, 2010

in News

To facilitate associating posts with people, I’ve decided that it might be useful to have avatars.

To set up your avatar please take the following steps:

  1. Find a picture of you (class appropriate!) in which you are reasonably easy to identify. If you don’t have any I can send you the picture I took today in class.
  2. Go to
  3. Register for gravatar using the email that you associated with this website (if you aren’t sure, check out your profile in the “Users-  -> my profile” tab).
  4. Follow the instructions in the confirmation email.

Let me know if you are having trouble with any of these steps.

There is a symposium about diagrams organized by the Center for Visual Culture on February 26th. You might be interested in it.

Many of you have already figured it out, but for Assignment 4, we ask that you make postings (not comments). Preferably with the picture of the visualization you are critiquing (but at least a link to it). If you look in the Student Posts category you’ll see examples from people who have figured it out without this hint.

The week in 838 (Feb 9-11)

February 5, 2010

in News

For the second week in February, we’ll have a discussion of how to evaluate visualization, and do a little bit of evaluation ourselves. We’ll also start to look ahead for projects.

* Tuesday, Feb 9th – A discussion of Evaluation. There’s another hefty reading assignment: Reading 4: Evaluation, that requires you to post comments.

* Thursday, Feb 11th – We’ll discuss the critique assignment. No assigned reading, but the first phase of Assignment 4: Critiques. Be sure to do it ahead of time since we’re going to talk about it in class.

This week in 838 (Feb 1-5)

January 28, 2010

in News

For the first week in February, we’ll have another general lecture, as well as trying to use a specific example to spur our thinking.

  • On Tuesday, Feb 2, there are readings (see here) on “Why Visualization” from several perspectives. There’s a fair amount of reading, but it should be discussion provoking.
  • On Thursday, Feb 4, we’ll look at 1 or 2 papers (see here) to provoke a conversation on how to come up with creative ideas for visualization. (this link doesn’t seem to appear, even though it was “scheduled” to show up 5 minutes ago).

We’re still in reading mode. I am hoping we’ll do some “try it at home” assignments soon.

I have added some more links on how to actually find Vis papers on the link for Assignment 3. Unfortunately, the set of things that is complete and official (the IEEE digital library) is not convenient, and the things that are convenient are not complete.