CS 725/825 - Information Visualization
Spring 2018: Wedesdays, 9:30am-12:15pm, E&CS 2120

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Course Overview

  See previous course projects in the gallery

The main goal of this course is to equip you with the background and tools needed to develop effective visualizations in your own research and future work. Part of developing effective visualizations requires analyzing existing visualizations and visualization problems.

One important piece of developing an effective visualization is knowing what not to do. In addition to studying recommended approaches, this course should also prepare you to rule out visualization approaches where there are mismatches in human capabilities or perception or mismatches with the intended task.

Course Organization

This course will be organized based on the "flipped classroom" model. Students will be assigned readings and homework that will be due before class time. There will be few, if any, lectures by the instructor. Class time will be spent on discussions of the assignments, student presentations, and in-class assignments. It is essential that each student be prepared to fully participate in class discussions each week.

Announcements, submission of assignments, and grading will be done via the class Blackboard site.

In-class work and hosting of code will be done via the ODU-CS Gitlab Community class group.

The required textbook for this course is Visualization Analysis and Design by Tamara Munzner.

Course Objectives

After completing this course, you should be able to do the following:

  • Explain at a high-level the "why-what-how" framework for analyzing visualization use.
  • Given a visualization, identify the actions the vis allows and the targets of those actions.
  • Transform domain-specific tasks into the task abstraction framework.
  • Given a dataset, develop questions about the data that can effectively be answered with a visualization.
  • Given an academic visualization paper, identify the main visualization problem it addresses and summarize its findings.
  • Describe the channels of visual encoding and order them from most effective to least effective.
  • Identify a visualization where an inappropriate arrange design choice was made and explain why the choice was inappropriate.
  • Explain the importance choosing an appropriate colormap.
  • Critique and redesign an existing visualization.
  • Use D3 to create an effective interactive web-based visualization of real-world data.
  • Explain and defend the design choices that you made in creating your web-based visualization.

Summary Schedule

Week Date Topic Textbook Reading Homework Due Other
1 Jan 10 Introduction, What's Vis and Why Do It?
Ch 1
2 Jan 17 Data
Ch 2 HW1
3 Jan 24

Marks and Channels

Ch 5 HW2
4 Jan 31 Arrange Tables
Ch 7 HW3
5 Feb 7 Tasks
Ch 3 HW4
6 Feb 14 Analysis
Ch 4 HW5 1 presentation
7 Feb 21 Rules of Thumb, Maps
Ch 6 Objectives, Ch 8 Objectives
Ch 6, Ch 8.1-8.3 2 presentations
8 Feb 28 Map Color and Other Channels and Item Aggregation
Ch 10 Objectives, Ch 13 Objectives
Ch 10, Ch 13.4.1 HW6 2 presentations
Mar 7 No Class - Spring Break
9 Mar 14 Multiple Views
Ch 12 HW7 1 presentation
10 Mar 21 Storytelling Vis HW8 3 presentations
11 Mar 28 Manipulate View
Ch 11 2 presentations
12 Apr 4 Reduce Items and Attributes
Ch 13 2 presentations
13 Apr 11 HW9
14 Apr 18 FINAL EXAM