From Sketching to Coding Teaching Visualization as a Thinking Process

1. Abstract

Discussions of data visualization or visual analytics often focus on the underlying software and tools. When it comes to teaching others to create and interpret visualizations, however, we need to stress the theory and decision-making processes that feed into the resulting visual representations. This workshop provides strategies for teaching visualization literacy, from sketching by hand to creating visualizations using computational tools. Led by instructors from the humanities, visual analytics, design, and computer science, sessions will cover different methodologies and challenges of teaching visualization to audiences with varied technical and disciplinary expertise and goals.

The workshop walks participants through hands-on exercises, reflecting on how tools (both analog and digital) can enhance but also constrain our thinking. We will present visualization as a thinking process, a way to engage critically with data rather than only as an end product. In an increasingly visual and data-driven society, we must teach visualization as a discourse in order for it to be applied and interpreted responsibly. We will highlight critique as a pedagogical technique, as well as a method for spotting and mitigating miscommunication and misinterpretation. Encompassing interactive introductions to visualization theory, visualization creation, and design activities, this workshop will provide opportunities to discuss topics related to engaging with visualization within and beyond academic settings. Participants will leave the workshop with resources, ideas, and sample exercises they might use in their own practice and teaching.

Eric Alexander (, Carleton College, United States of America, Adam Bradley (, Ontario Tech University, Canada, Catherine DeRose (, Yale University, United States of America, Mennatallah El-Assady (, University of Konstanz, Germany, Ontario Tech University, Canada, Uta Hinrichs (, University of St Andrews, United Kingdom and Stefan Jänicke (, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark

Theme: Lux by Bootswatch.