Data Visualization

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Taught by Jonathan Soma

Soma was born in the South, is what someone from the North would say. He co-founded the Brainery, is the sciencey half of Masters of Social Gastronomy, and plans on getting married to Waffle House. In his more droll moments he is a tragic sellout to higher ed as a professor of data journalism at Columbia University's journalism school.

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Whether it's the New York Times explaining the housing bubble, Google tracking the history of language, or a blogger convincing you that your favorite movie really did suck, infographics are everywhere in modern life. Let's take a step further than passively admiring them, though, and actually learn how to pop a data visualization together.

The first thing we'll take a look at is a little bit of statistics. You don't need to be a math whiz to get through this bit, but there are a few important concepts that will help you understand the best way to get information across - and tell when other infographics are skimping on the facts.

Next up, the whole wide world of what makes a data visualization great. We'll work our way through a lot of Edward Tufte's work, discussing what works and what doesn't, and how to tell a story with the data you're presenting.

We'll also look at the role of interactivity vs static images vs sets of web pages, and how the medium through which you present your information changes the way it is disseminated.

There will be homework! There will be Youtube videos to watch, as well as data to find! You'll make things, then we'll pick a few to present to everyone and talk about what works and what doesn't! It'll be great.

This class, like all the rest, meets at 515 Court Street, in Carroll Gardens BK.

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