Syllabus – Spring 2017

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In the Data Visualization seminar, Trinity College students partner with Hartford-area community organizations to create interactive charts and maps for their websites. Beginners are welcome; no prior experience required. Most Trinity students enroll through the FORG 210-04 internship seminar for 1 credit, which requires working 8 hours/week with a community partner field supervisor, with an internship form approved by the Career Development Center. Learn about our matchmaking process.

Instructor: Professor Jack Dougherty: web or email or book appointment

Teaching Assistant: Stacy Lam ’18 provides help during office hours on Tuesdays 5-6pm and Thursdays 5-6pm in the Student Technology Assistant (STA) area, Level 1, Trinity Library; or email or text her

Time/Location: During Spring 2017, our class runs most Fridays 12-1pm (light lunch provided), plus drop-in hour from 1-2pm, at TrinfoCafe, 1300 Broad Street, Hartford, Connecticut. Map and Directions

Computers and Textbook: Bring any laptop computer. Our free online textbook is Data Visualization for All at

Wifi access at Trinfo Cafe:
• Trinity students: Select TrinAir network.
trinfo-clearpass-login• Off-campus guests: Select TrinGuest network. You will be redirected to ClearPass Guest website for Visitor Registration and enter your email and phone number. After registering, you will receive both an email and text message with your login and expiration date. Return to ClearPass Guest registration, click Sign In at the top, and enter your new login.


(subject to change; * =more to come; major revisions in red)

Jump to: Week 1: Jan 27 — Week 2: Feb 3 — Week 3: Feb 10 — Week 4: Feb 17 — Week 5: Feb 24 — Week 6: March 3 — Week 7: March 10 — Week 8: March 24 — Week 9: March 31 — Week 10: April 7 — Week 11: April 14 — Week 12: April 21 — Week 13: April 28 — Assessment

Week 1: Fri Jan 27 Orientation: Students & Community Partners

  • Welcome to TrinfoCafe by Carlos Espinosa
  • Introductions by all participants
  • What are data visualizations?
  • What’s your data story? What do you want to create?
    • Draw a picture
    • Write questions or statements
  • Sign media consent forms
  • Fill out your “Partner Planning” Google Document with as much details as possible by the end of Thursday Feb 2nd. Not graded, but be ready to share on Friday Feb 3rd seminar.
    • Open my Partner Planning GDoc template
    • Sign in to your Google account
    • File > Make a Copy (requires free account)
    • Discuss with your partner and answer questions

Week 2: Fri Feb 3 Planning with Partners; Beta Testing edX

Week 3: Fri Feb 10th Find Open Data; Review Section 1

  • Read before seminar: “Find and Know Your Data” chapters (especially “Connecticut Open Data”) in DataViz For All book.
  • Guest: Brett Flodine, GIS Project Leader for City of Hartford, and Hartford Open Data repository
  • Discuss: How to find open data for your project
  • Assign: Post project summary with your partner on our Google Doc Organizer by end of Thurs Feb 16th
  • Review Section 1: “Choose the Right Tools to Tell Your Story” in DataViz For All edX course
  • What did you learn? What confused you? How can we improve? Share your comments in the Beta Testing GDoc
  • Assign: Section 2: “Create and Embed Charts on Your Site” in DataViz For All edX course by the end of Thursday Feb 16th, and share comments on Beta Testing GDoc
  • Need help or want to talk?
    • Jack at Trinfo on Fridays 1-2pm, or McCook 302 office by appointment
    • Stacy Lam new hours: Tuesdays 5-6pm and Thursdays 5-6pm at Library STA desk, or email or text her

Week 4: Feb 17th Chart Design and Embed iframe with GitHub

Week 5: Feb 24th: Project updates

Week 6: March 3rd: Leaflet Maps with GitHub code templates

Week 7: March 10th

  • No class. Instead, instructor will schedule individual appointments with each student and community partner to review progress, ideally at the partner’s site. If necessary, schedule appointments during class time
  • Instructor will email mid-semester evaluation forms to community partners
  • Assign Section 3 due on March 23rd
  • Drop-in hours at Trinfo from 12-2pm this week

Spring Break – March 17th – no class

No TA hours and no drop-in hours at Trinfo Cafe this week

Week 8: March 24th Digital storytelling

  • In place of our regular class, come to the 1823 Room, 2nd floor of Trinity Library, to attend lunch and presentations at the Digital Storytelling with Community Learning workshop
  • Assign edX Sections 3 and 4, due by end of Thursday March 30th. Peer review scores will count toward your final grade
  • Need help or want to talk?
    • No Friday drop-in hours with Jack, but McCook 302 office by appointment
    • Stacy Lam Tuesdays 5-6pm and Thursdays 5-6pm at Library STA desk, or email or text her

Week 9: March 31st Transforming Data and Making Maps

  • Learning more about Leaflet Maps with Google Sheets
  • Assign edX Sections 5 and 6
  • Assign presentation dates
  • Preparing presentations with your partner
  • Need help or want to talk?
    • Drop-in hours with Jack 1-2pm at Trinfo, or McCook 302 office by appointment
    • Stacy Lam Tuesdays 5-6pm and Thursdays 5-6pm at Library STA desk, or email or text her

Week 10: April 7th Final Project Presentations and Transition Memos

Week 11: April 14th Presentations

  • Presentations of work-in-progress: Emphasize Goals, Process, Reflections
  • Round 1:
  • Reminder: Complete all of your DataViz For All edX online assignments (especially peer reviews) by end of Friday April 21st
  • Assign Transition Plans: Write a detailed memo for your community partner, and review it with them in-person, to help them take ownership of the final product (copies of all data files, shared accounts), with instructions on how to make future updates (with links to tutorials and/or your specific instructions). Write in a shared Google Doc, then copy and paste the link on our GDoc Organizer before seminar on Friday April 28th.
  • Community Partners: Complete online evaluation by end of Friday April 28th
  • Need help or want to talk?
    • Drop-in hours with Jack 1-2pm at Trinfo, or McCook 302 office by appointment
    • Stacy Lam Tuesdays 5-6pm and Thursdays 5-6pm at Library STA desk, or email or text her

Week 12: April 21st Presentations

Week 13: April 28th Presentations


Students may access their individual scores on the password-protected Moodle site. Your work will be evaluated based on:

  • Data Visualization for All edX online course exercises = 100 points
  • Community partner mid-semester evaluation = 10 points
  • Community partner final evaluation = 10 points
  • Peer evaluation of overall contribution to learning = 10 points
  • Instructor’s evaluation of final presentation = 10 points
  • Instructor’s evaluation of project transition memo = 10 points
  • Total = 150 points

Late assignments will receive a 10 percent penalty for every 12 hours overdue, with exceptions granted only for verified medical or family emergencies.

In this course, unsatisfactory work (below 70%) falls in the D or F range, adequate work (70-79%) in the C range, good work (80-89%) in the B range, and outstanding work (90 to 100%) in the A range. Each range is divided into equal thirds for minus (-), regular, and plus (+) letter grades. For example, 80 to 83.33% = B-, 83.34 to 86.67 = B, and 86.68 to 89.99 = B+.

Students are expected to engage in academic honesty in all forms of work for this course. You are responsible for understanding and following the Intellectual Honesty policy (around page 20) of the Trinity Student Handbook.

Students with Academic Accommodations: Trinity College complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. If you have a documented disability and require academic accommodations, please schedule a meeting with me during the first two weeks of the semester and bring a copy of your accommodations letter. If you do not have a letter, but have questions about applying for academic accommodations, please contact Lori Clapis, Coordinator of Accommodation Resources, at 860-297-4025 or

Please notify me during the first week of the course if you require any scheduling accommodations for religious observances.

How to succeed in this seminar:

  • Bookmark this online syllabus and check it often for updates (marked in red).
  • Keep a calendar—paper or digital—to manage your time and meet deadlines.
  • Attend each class on time, preferably with a personal laptop, and focus on learning. Avoid distractions.
  • Participate in the learning process. The goal is to improve education for all, not you alone. At the end of the semester, your peers will evaluate your overall contribution to learning by the seminar.
  • Take the initiative by asking questions. If you don’t understand something, other students probably are puzzled, too, so ask the question.
  • Continue learning outside of our scheduled class by talking with peers. Contact our TA to ask for extra help. Email me any quick questions, or book an appointment for longer discussions, or come to our drop-in hours.
  • If an illness or emergency interferes with attending class, email me immediately and make arrangements to catch up on missing work.

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