Mapping Hartford: Proposed Class for January 2017

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Trinity students and I hopped aboard CT Transit to explore school choice on our first day of the Cities Suburbs and Schools seminar in January 2016
Trinity students and I hopped aboard CT Transit to explore school choice on our first day of the Cities Suburbs and Schools seminar in January 2016

Trinity invited faculty to propose new half-credit courses for the two-week January Term session during winter break, so I submitted this proposal for “Mapping Hartford.” Stay tuned.

Title: Mapping Hartford (proposed for January 2017)

Description: In this hands-on course, students will create digital maps about metropolitan Hartford, and travel to meet people and places whose stories they tell. You will gain valuable skills in data visualization and web design, learn about the history of the city and its suburbs, expand your comfort zone beyond campus, and taste delicious foods in different neighborhoods. All readings and class exercises are freely available on the instructor’s websites (http://OnTheLine.trincoll.edu and http://DataVizForAll.org). Bring any laptop computer, but no prior mapping or computing experience is required. Instructor: Jack Dougherty. Enrollment Limit: 9.

Enrollment Limit (please provide rationale):  I request an enrollment limit of 9, rather than 15, to make our travels around the city of Hartford more feasible. When students sign up, I will notify them to obtain a U-Pass, and that our class will be ride as a group on the city bus for select trips. In case you’re wondering, I already experimented with my Educ 308 seminar riding the city bus on our first day of class in late January 2016, and it worked well with 9 students, but am unsure about larger numbers. Also, some of the people and places we will visit in Hartford are located in smaller buildings, so a group of 9 (plus me) is more manageable than 15.

Location: If this course is approved, I will ask Carlos Espinosa for permission to hold our class sessions at Trinfo Cafe, where I taught my Data Visualization internship seminar (with 8 students and 1 TA) in Spring 2016. This is an ideal space to work on our web maps, meet with community partners, and publicly show our work on the large-screen TVs. Also, Trinfo Cafe introduced many students to life beyond campus. Furthermore, since the #61 bus stops on the corner of Broad and Vernon Street before heading downtown, it’s a convenient place for me and my students to meet up.

Schedule for 2017: To maximize student learning and meet the 20 contact hour requirement, within the narrow 2-week J-term window, I propose the following schedule. It alternates between days when we will travel around Hartford as a group versus days when we will meet only at Trinfo Cafe.

Mon Jan 9 10am-1pm 3 hours
Tue Jan 10 10am-12pm 2 hours
Wed Jan 11 10am-1pm 3 hours
Thu Jan 12 10am-12pm 2 hours
Fri Jan 13 10am-1pm 3 hours
Mon Jan 16 no class (MLK Day)
Tues Jan 17 10am-12pm 2 hours
Wed Jan 18 10am-1pm 3 hours
Thu Jan 19 10am-12pm 2 hours
Fri Jan 20 no class (Inauguration Day)
Total contact time = 20 hours

Sample Hartford story map, created with easy-to-learn tools: