How the web page works

January 26, 2010

in BasicInfo,News

This is coming up enough that it deserves a little discussion…

My experiment in how to set up the course web is having a few problems – people aren’t finding stuff, can’t figure out how to do some things, … The design is flawed. I’m the first to admit it.

Some of this is we (staff and students) just need to get over the initial learning hurdle. Some of it is we need to make a few tweaks in order for things to be less confusing. And finally, some larger improvements to the design (and potentially a total redesign) need to be done. At a deep level, I’m trying to use blogging software to be a course management system – its not clear that this is a good idea.

However, in the short term, I want to focus on getting the course content better organized – and see how things stabilize, and what happens after people get used to the quirky system. So no major redesigns. To make things go more smoothly:

  1. If you haven’t already done so, read the post on how wordpress is setup for this class.
  2. A lot of the issues are related to first-time startup (the first time you make a post, the first time you have to find a reading). Now that you’ve done it, it should be easier.
  3. Understand the difference between a posting and a comment. For readings, you’ll be asked to make comments on the reading posting. For assignments, you will (usually) be asked to make postings. I will try to be clearer.
  4. I have tried to make assignments (things that you do) and readings (things that read and comment on) distinct. Except for readings/assignment 1 which was both. I’m not sure this distinction is important: so I’m going to (try to) merge the categories from now on.
  5. In the “this week in 838” posting, i’ll include links to the things you will do.
  6. If someone finds a way to add links to the google calendar, please let me know.
  7. I am going to map out the assignments/reading/class content more than a week ahead of time (famous last words). This should make it easier for you to see what’s coming, so you don’t need to find everything for the first time at the last minute.

Thanks for your patience – this is all a big experiment, and so far, it seems to be going OK.

This week in 838 (Jan 25-29)

January 23, 2010

in News

For Tuesday, Jan 26, there is a reading assignment and a writing assignment (your biography). We’ll talk about the ideas about the basics of visualization, and use the class as a chance to get to know each other a bit.

For Thursday, Jan 28, there is another assignment to get a sense of what is going on in the field of Vis research. In class, we’ll talk about the various things that are “hot topics”, and use a conversation about what is interesting to each of us as a way to get to know one another.

And soon, there will be a syllabus that looks more than 1 week ahead 🙂

Reading 2 Updated with Tufte

January 22, 2010

in News

Wendt library has scanned some pieces of Tufte’s books for the class, so I have assigned a chapter as part of Reading 2 for Tuesday. The chapter “Graphics Excellence” is here. This is a good test to make sure you can get at the course protected directory.

Warning: the scans are very big! (and don’t forget the instructions for the protected course reader)

Cool Stuff

January 21, 2010

in Cool Stuff,News

From time to time, you probably come across some cool visualization stuff out in the world. Let’s share it and discuss it!

If you find something, create a posting in the category “Cool Stuff”. We’ll approve posts in this category slowly (not to overwhelm people) – maybe release 1-2 a day.

Please contribute (both by posting things, as well as by commenting on what’s there). Rather than making a certain amount of postings/comments a class requirement, for now I’d like to just ask that people contribute and see how it works out.

I will seed this by putting something up now. (Puneet has sent me a few good candidates, but I’ll let him post those).

By the way – to see the cool stuff category, click “Cool Stuff” in either the navbar (top of screen) or on the side bar.

Lecture Notes

January 21, 2010

in News

If you notice, there’s a new posting category “Lecture Stuff” (look on the sidebar). I will upload materials related to lectures in posts there. For now, its the audio and my hand-written notes.

If you send me your notes, I will try to attach them as well (if you give me your permission). I need a better mechanism for doing this – but I’ll work with Michael to figure that out. If you have a suggestion, let me know.

Learning to post comments

January 20, 2010

in News

Part of the purpose of the first assignment is to work out some of the kinds in using the system.

Since at least one person was confused by this:

For assignment 1 you are asked to comment on a post. If you’re logged in, when you look at the post, you’ll see a comment box at the bottom. (if you are looking at the “assignments page” you might need to click on the title of the assignment to be taken to the page for the specific assignment -or click on where it says “comments” at the bottom).

You do not need to use the dashboard in order to make a comment.

Part of the conceptual model here: there are “posts” and then there are “comments on the posts” – these are two very different things (in the mind of the system).For assignment 2, you’ll be asked to make a post.

This is a great example of a hidden assumption in the conceptual model of a system – and where something makes a lot more sense when you have some understanding of what’s going on behind the scenes (which is hard to know without insider knowledge). But that’s a conversation for when we talk about user interface principles.

Class Location

January 20, 2010

in BasicInfo,News

A reminder that class meets in Room 1207 Computer Sciences.

Contact information

January 20, 2010

in News

For the assignment, you need to send mail to me (the professor) and the TA. We realized that not everyone knows our email addresses. I am “gleicher” and Michael is “mcorrell” both

Remember, that there is an assignment due before class (really before 9am) tomorrow.

The First Day

January 17, 2010

in News

The beginning of the semester is here – and the web page, course syllabus, etc. really is not 🙁

A lot of things have not yet been worked out. This includes how we’ll handle people who are not enrolled.

Come to class the first day – 11am Tuesday 1/19, room 3359 Engineering. Hopefully, we’ll figure it all out together once we see who shows up.

Note: that after the first day, class will be moved to 1207 CS.

This is the NEWS page

January 16, 2010

in News

The news page – or a list of announcements that seem important. Please also check out the BasicInfo page for basic course information.