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Visualizing Information: Communicating Science through Visuals



The course objective is to build student’s skills in developing visualizations and infographics to tell a science story with data. The activities and discussions will expand abilities to engage with and communicate science more effectively and improve their public science communication skills (general and technical). Students will practice many types of science visualizations, and develop a final visual and presentation relevant to a current research project. We will focus on a scientific and non-scientific audiences.

Participants in this course will:
• Explore and discuss bad, good, and better ways to visualize and communicate data to tell science stories effectively.
• Develop broader understanding and confidence with visualizing a range of types of data and data visualizations.
• Explore storytelling with data principles, design considerations, and visualization techniques/strategies to deliver the most effective science visuals alone and as part of an infographic.
• Engage in an authentic experience of designing and presenting science stories with data through visualizations and infographics to peers and scientists to apply gained skills and confidence.

This course has been designed to model effective communication, including the importance of discussions, peer review, and sharing of ideas. Therefore, the success of the course is dependent on everyone’s active participation and being open to both sharing and respectfully considering others ideas. Class expectations include: 1) being prepared for each class; 2) actively listening and sharing ideas; 3) keeping an open and curious mind; 4) disagreeing productively; 5) actively working toward a deeper understanding including asking questions; and 5) building on and appreciating the contributions of others in class.
1. Assignments & Online Discussion Prompts (30%). The assignments and discussion prompts have been developed to facilitate your mastery of the skills and understanding of the topic areas, thus thorough and on time completion of the assignments are important for being successful in the course.
2. Class Participation (30%). Attend class. Participate in discussions and activities in class and online.
3. Final Science Visual & Learning Reflection (30%). Develop and submit a science data story, as an infographic with effective visualizations, upon your chosen research project and complete a 2-page reflection of the skills and knowledge gained throughout the course.
4. Science Visuals Showcase Presentation (10%). Present your science data story to others in the class and department for feedback on December 12th (location TBD).




Course Syllabus

Course Professors

    Fall 2018

  1. Hunter-Thomson, Kristin
  2. Fall 2017

  3. Hunter-Thomson, Kristin
  1. Rutgers
  2. New Brunswick
Department of Human Ecology