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Assignment 6: Using Information to Create Meaningful Visualizations

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Course Content   ::   Lesson 8   ::   Assignment 6

Short Description:

Creating meaningful visualizations from a given set of data is an important skill. Most of the time computer-based visualization programs cannot help in terms of deciding which data is important and necessary to visualize to make a particular point. Making a syllabus clear to the student can be a daunting task, and presenting a syllabus even more so. In this exercise, you will need to make decisions about which data is necessary to make a particular set of meaningful arguments, organize it, and transfer it to a flexible visualization package.



  • For this exercise, put yourself in the position of the instructor of this data visualization class. As with most technology-based coursework, availability and access to specific programs changes with the department. In addition, new innovations can change the way certain material is presented and taught. The challenge is to create and present and accurate and meaningful syllabus so the students are clear about what is assigned, when assignments are due, and the reading material they are responsible for.
Technology Features – Your results will include:
    • One Word document that contains at least 2 visualizations, along with accompanying text that helps illustrate their message in accordance with Goldsmith’s pragmatic text parallels concept.
    • At least one graph/table should be created in Illustrator. Consider customization of the graph in order to provide pragmatic emphasis.
    • The visuals should contain accurate data and provide impact while maintaining clarity, and should comply with the design rules as expressed by Tversky, Tufte, and Wainer. You will be graded on the effectiveness of your message.
    • Organize the document and present it as a replacement for certain portions of the existing syllabus.
    • You will be using information contained in the exiting table on the “schedule” page of the class website. The same table exists on paper in the syllabus handed out the first day of class. It contains data about the readings, when assignments are given, when they are due, what kinds of questions/concepts we cover in class, and the general organization (flow) of class from beginning to end.
    • You will want to consider reorganizing the “Topic” data so that it more accurately reflects the topics we covered for that day.
    • While you cannot necessarily update those topics and days which we haven’t yet covered, make sure there is consistency within your visualizations with the “known” portions.
    • Save all your visuals as separate “.jpg” bitmaps. Create a Word file and insert your graphics. Organize your Word file just as if you were handing out an important document to your audience, in this case, as the instructor of the class.
Objectives of this assignment
    • Having appropriate data available to you is not enough. You must learn to evaluate existing data, make appropriate decisions on how to mine the proper data for a specific purpose, then present the data in visual form in order to make your point clear to your intended audience.
    • Practice transferring data from existing documentation to a visualization tool.
    • Practice drawing manipulation and emphasis techniques in order to create a specific message.

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2008, May 20). Assignment 6: Using Information to Create Meaningful Visualizations. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License
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