Below are the meeting times for our class

  • Term: Winter 2021
  • Time: M/W, 10-11:20
  • Classroom: REMOTE
  • Instructor: Daniel Anderson, PhD
    • email: (preferred contact method)
    • office hours: By appointment
    • pronouns: he/him/his

Course Overview

Welcome to the second course in the Educational Data Science Specialization taught at the University of Oregon through the College of Education. This course will be taught through R, a free and open-source statistical computing environment, and will provide students with the foundational principles and practice of data visualization, particularly as applied to scientific and technical data. We will have weekly lectures, covering a wide variety of topics including human perception, color theory, and principles of visual design. We will also cover mediums for communication across diverse audiences with an emphasis on different web applications. Weekly hands-on laboratory sessions provide students the opportunity to put the lecture material into practice.

Student Learning objectives

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

Course Readings

All course readings are freely available online or will be provided by the instructor. We will have chapters from each of the following books:

Each of the above links to the full book. These are excellent resources that I highly suggest you dive into, particularly if you find yourself having difficulty with a particular topic. The “other” listed above will include additional readings for topics not covered by the books (e.g., Matthew Kay’s excellent keynote presentation on uncertainty visualization at the 2018 Tapestry conference). See the schedule page for details on specific readings.

Assignments and Grading

Your final grade will be composed of five components:

I would like to, as much a possible, stick to the deadlines for all assignments as listed in the schedule page. This will allow us to go over the material together as a group after everyone has submitted their assignment. However, if you need additional time for any reason please just send me a note letting me know. You do not need to justify why. This is a very weird time we’re living in and I am more than happy to work with you however I can. I would just ask that you please not attend class during the time we are going over the assignment (but please do attend the rest of the class if you are able).


There are 3 labs during the course, scored at 10 points each, which must be submitted within one week of being assigned. Labs will include designated in-class time, but any work not completed during class must be completed on your own. Labs will be scored on a “best honest effort” basis, which generally implies zero or full credit (i.e.,the assignment was or was not fully completed). However, many of the labs require completion of specific portions before moving on to the next sections. If you find yourself stuck and unable to proceed, please contact the instructor for help rather than submitting incomplete work. Contacting the instructor is part of the “best honest effort”. If the assignment is not complete, and the student has not contacted the instructor for help and obtained approval for submitting incomplete work, only partial credit will be awarded.

Generally, you can choose to work on any and all labs individually or in small groups. There is one exception, however, which is the first lab, which will be required to be in a small group.

If you choose to work in a small group, you must work through a shared GitHub repo and all members of the group should have commits in the repo.


Homework assignments are essentially extended labs, with two exceptions:

Similar to the labs, you can choose to work on the homework individually or as a small group. If you choose to work in a small group, you must work through a shared GitHub repo and all members of the group should have commits in the repo.

Data visualizations “in the wild” presentation (10 points; 5%)

On the first day of the class you will be randomly assigned a date for a presentation.

Presentations will start with the second meeting of class. The assignment requires:

Note that this project is aimed at identifying a range of data visualizations. It would be ideal if both model data visualizations and poor data visualizations were presented from a variety of sources.

Final Project

Please see the schedule page for full details on the final project, which will include a portfolio of your data visualizations. At least three different data visualizations must be included, as well as the history of how the visualization changed over time (initial draft to final product). Among these three visualizations, at least one continuous variable and one categorical variable must be included. The portfolios must be housed on GitHub and be reproducible. In occasional situations, it can be helpful to make final modifications to your plot through systems outside of R (e.g., Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape). If you choose to make these modifications (not required) they are the one (and only) acceptable exception to full reproducibility.

The due date for the proposal can be (somewhat) flexible. However, unlike the labs and homework, the remaining aspects of the final project cannot be changed and you will lose points if your work is submitted late without prior approval. This is mostly because of concerns related peer-review and completing the project by the end of the term.

The components of the final project are as follow:

Extra Credit

There is one opportunity for extra credit, which is worth up to 10 points. This includes an in-depth self-study of a topic not explicitly covered in the class. Students opting into the extra credit option will provide an (approximately) 10 minute presentation on their chosen topic to the class (presentations are likely to occur on lab days). For example, interactive and animated graphics are not explicitly covered, but packages like gganimate are powerful and fun. Network visualizations and applications with textual data are examples of other topics that will not be covered but are nonetheless important. You could choose one of these areas, explore a different topic, or provide greater detail on a topic that is covered in class (e.g., geographic data).

If you are interested in giving a 10 minute talk on a topic of your choice, please contact me as soon as possible to obtain approval on the topic and set a date for the presentation.

Grading Components (200 points possible)

Lower percent Lower point range Grade Upper point range Upper percent
0.97 (194 pts) A+
0.93 (186 pts) A (194 pts) 0.97
0.90 (180 pts) A- (186 pts) 0.93
0.87 (174 pts) B+ (180 pts) 0.90
0.83 (166 pts) B (174 pts) 0.87
0.80 (160 pts) B- (166 pts) 0.83
0.77 (154 pts) C+ (160 pts) 0.80
0.73 (146 pts) C (154 pts) 0.77
0.70 (140 pts) C- (146 pts) 0.73
F (140 pts) 0.70

Student Engagement Inventory

Graduate: 1 credit hour = 40 hours of student engagement (3 credit hours = 120 hours of student engagement)

Educational activity Hours student engaged Explanatory comments (if any):
Course attendance 26.5 20 meetings, at 80 minutes per meeting
Assigned readings 26.5 Weekly readings are assigned, and are expected to take roughly as long to complete as the in-seat time per week.
Projects 35 Proposal (~2 hrs), draft (~20 hrs), Peer review (~8 hrs), finalization (~5 hrs)
Homework 27 3 Labs, at approximately two hours per lab spent out of class (~6 hrs), plus two homework assignments at approximately 10 hours each
Total hours: 120

Campus Emergency

In the event of a campus emergency that disrupts academic activities, course requirements, deadlines, and grading percentages are subject to change. Information about changes in this course will be communicated as soon as possible by email, and on Canvas. If we are not able to meet face-to-face, students should immediately log onto Canvas and read any announcements and/or access alternative assignments. Students are also encouraged to continue the readings and other assignments as outlined on this syllabus or subsequent syllabi.

Fluidity, Attendance, Participation

As the university community adjusts to teaching and learning remotely in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, course requirements, deadlines, and grading percentages are subject to change. We will be mindful of the many impacts the unfolding events related to COVID-19 may be having on you. During this challenging time, we encourage you to talk with me about what you are experiencing so we can work together to help you succeed in this course.

Expected Engagement

Participate and Contribute: Students are expected to participate by sharing ideas and contributing to the collective learning environment. This entails preparing, following instructions, and engaging respectfully and thoughtfully with others. More specific participation guidelines and criteria for contributions will be provided for each specific activity.

Please use good “online etiquette”: Identify yourself with your real name and use a subject line that clearly relates to your contribution. Write or speak in the first person when sharing your opinions and ideas but when addressing other students or discussing their ideas, use their names. Respect the privacy of your classmates and what they share in class. Understand that we may disagree and that exposure to other people’s opinions is part of the learning experience. Good online etiquette also means using humor or sarcasm carefully, remembering that non-verbal cues (such as facial expressions) are not always possible or clear in a remote context. In addition, your language should be free of profanity, appropriate for an academic context, and exhibit interest in and courtesy for others’ contributions. Be aware that typing in all capital letters indicates shouting. Certain breaches of online etiquette can be considered disruptive behavior.

Expect and Respect Diversity: All classes at the University of Oregon welcome and respect diverse experiences, perspectives, and approaches. What is not welcome are behaviors or contributions that undermine, demean, or marginalize others based on race, ethnicity, gender, sex, age, sexual orientation, religion, ability, or socioeconomic status. We will value differences and communicate disagreements with respect.

Help Everyone Learn: Our goal is to learn together by learning from one another. As we move forward learning during this challenging time, it is important that we work together and build on our strengths. Not everyone is savvy in remote learning, including your instructor, and this means we need to be patient with each other, identify ways we can assist others, and be open-minded to receiving help and advice from others. No one should hesitate to contact me to ask for assistance or offer suggestions that might help us learn better.

Specific guidelines for best practices using Canvas Discussion:

  1. Use subject lines that clearly communicate the content of your post
  2. Write clearly and concisely and be aware that humor or sarcasm often doesn’t always translate in an online environment.
  3. Be supportive and considerate when replying to others’ posts. This means avoiding use of jargon or inappropriate language, and it means disagreeing with respect and providing clear rationale or evidence to support your different view.
  4. Try to use correct spelling and grammar and proofread your submissions. After submitting, use the edit feature to make corrections and resubmit (don’t create a new or duplicate post that corrects your error).
  5. Contribute and interact often!

Specific guidelines for best practices using Zoom:

  1. Please test your video and audio prior to joining a live class session. You can learn more about testing your audio and video by visiting the UO Service Portal.
  2. Try to be on time when the class starts. It can be distracting to have participants join late.
  3. Use a microphone or speak closely to your computer microphone so that others can hear you.
  4. Mute your audio when you are not actively contributing. When contributing, avoid making other noises such as typing or having side conversations with others that might be present with you.
  5. Use chat to pose questions or offer insights “on the side” while others are contributing. The chat can be read by all and should reflect a high standard of respect for our class community.
  6. For help and troubleshooting with Zoom, visit the UO Service Portal.

Course Policies

Attendance and Absence Guidelines

Attendance at all class and discussion groups is expected and required. Students must contact the instructor in case of illness or emergencies that preclude attending class sessions. Messages can be left on the instructor’s e-mail at any time of the day or night, prior to class. If no prior arrangements have been made before class time, the absence will be unexcused. If you are unable to complete an assignment due to a personal and/or family emergency, you should contact your instructor as soon as possible. On a case-by-case basis, the instructor will determine whether the emergency qualifies as an excused absence.

Absence Policy

There may be situations beyond the control individual students that lead to excessive absences such as becoming ill, caring for others, managing home schooling, etc. Students are expected to attend class, however if a student misses more than two consecutive classes they will be asked to complete a make-up assignment to be developed by the instructor to compensate for the missed class time. Each student who is experiencing difficulty attending scheduled class times or class activities must contact the instructor to develop a plan for making up the class time and satisfactorily meeting the credit hours required.

UO COVID-19 Regulations

The University of Oregon (UO), in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, Oregon Health Authority, and Lane County Public Health requires faculty, staff, students, visitors, and vendors across all UO locations to use face coverings, which include masks (note: masks with exhaust valves are discouraged), cloth face coverings, or face shields, when in UO owned, leased, or controlled buildings. This includes classrooms. Please correctly wear a suitable face covering during class. Students unable to wear face coverings can work with the Accessible Education Center to find a reasonable accommodation. Students refusing to wear a face covering will be asked to leave the class. Students should maintain 6 ft. distance from others at all times. Classrooms tables and seats have been marked to accommodate this distance. Please do not move any furniture in the classroom or sit in areas that have been blocked off or otherwise marked as unavailable. Students should obtain wipes available outside of classrooms before they enter class and use them to wipe down the table and seat they will use. See for more information.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

It is the policy of the University of Oregon to support and value equity and diversity and to provide inclusive learning environments for all students. To do so requires that we:

In this course, class discussions, projects/activities and assignments will challenge students to think critically about and be sensitive to the influence, and intersections, of race, ethnicity, nationality, documentation status, language, religion, gender, socioeconomic background, physical and cognitive ability, sexual orientation, and other cultural identities and experiences. Students will be encouraged to develop or expand their respect and understanding of such differences.

Maintaining an inclusive classroom environment where all students feel able to talk about their cultural identities and experiences, ideas, beliefs, and values will not only be my responsibility, but the responsibility of each class member as well. Behavior that disregards or diminishes another student will not be permitted for any reason. This means that no racist, ableist, transphobic, xenophobic, chauvinistic or otherwise derogatory comments will be allowed. It also means that students must pay attention and listen respectfully to each other’s comments.

Indigenous Recognition Statement

The University of Oregon is located on Kalapuya Ilihi, the traditional indigenous homeland of the Kalapuya people. Today, descendants are citizens of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon and the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians of Oregon, and they continue to make important contributions in their communities, at UO, and across the land we now refer to as Oregon.

Using Pronouns and Personal Preference

The College of Education is always working to include and engage everyone. One way we can do this is to share your pronouns, or the words you want to be called when people aren’t using your name. Like names, pronouns are an important part of how we identify that deserves to be respected. And we recognize that assuming someone’s gender can be hurtful, especially to members of our community who are transgender, genderqueer, or non-binary. As a community, we are all learning together about the importance of pronouns and being better allies to the trans community on campus. Please discuss the pronouns you wish to be used with your professor to help them be aware of how to address you respectfully. Please visit this university website for more information. You can also add pronouns in Canvas.

Your Well-Being

Life right now is very complicated. Students often feel overwhelmed or stressed, experience anxiety or depression, struggle with relationships, or just need help navigating challenges in their life. If you’re facing such challenges, you don’t need to handle them on your own – there’s help and support on campus.

As your instructors, if we believe you may need additional support, we will express our concerns, the reasons for them, and refer you to resources that might be helpful. It is not our intention to know the details of what might be bothering you, but simply to let you know we care and that help is available. Getting help is a courageous thing to do—for yourself and those you care about.

University Health Services help students cope with difficult emotions and life stressors. If you need general resources on coping with stress or want to talk with another student who has been in the same place as you, visit the Duck Nest (located in the EMU on the ground floor) and get help from one of the specially trained Peer Wellness Advocates. Find out more at

University Counseling Services (UCS) has a team of dedicated staff members to support you with your concerns, many of whom can provide identity-based support. All clinical services are free and confidential. Find out more at or by calling 541-346-3227 (anytime UCS is closed, the After-Hours Support and Crisis Line is available by calling this same number).

Food Insecurity

Any student who has difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day, or who lacks a safe and stable place to live and believes this may affect their performance in the course is urged to contact the Dean of Students Office (346-3216, 164 Oregon Hall) for support.

This UO webpage includes resources for food, housing, healthcare, childcare, transportation, technology, finances, and legal support.

Feed the Flock – Services for Students Facing Food Insecurity

The following is a list of services and programs that offer free food, meals, and support for accessing resources. Their availability and operation remain fluid and subject to change without notice. We will do everything we can to ensure that we are communicating as quickly as possible. We are working to shift our resources and efforts to ensure that students facing food insecurity have multiple avenues of support. Program descriptions can be found here

The Student Sustainability Center (uo_ssc) will try to aggregate changes and information for all programs via facebook and Instagram. For food security specific resources, follow feedtheflockuo. Please follow for the most up to date information regarding program changes.

Additional Resources via FOOD for Lane County:

Children in class

I applaud all of you who go to graduate school with children! I had both of my girls while a doctoral student, and I understand the difficulty in balancing academic, work, and family commitments. I want you to succeed. Here are my policies regarding children in class:

  1. All breastfeeding babies are welcome in class as often as necessary.
  2. Non-nursing babies and older children are welcome whenever alternate arrangements cannot be made. As a parent of two young children, I understand that babysitters fall through, partners have conflicting schedules, children get sick, and other issues arise that leave parents with few other options.
  3. In cases where children come to class, I invite parents/caregivers to sit close to the door so as to more easily excuse yourself to attend to your child’s needs. Non-parents in the class: please reserve seats near the door for your parenting classmates.
  4. All students are expected to join with me in creating a welcoming environment that is respectful of your classmates who bring children to class.

I understand that sleep deprivation and exhaustion are among the most difficult aspects of parenting young children. The struggle of balancing school, work, childcare, and graduate school is tiring (not to mention being in the middle of a pandemic!), and I will do my best to accommodate any such issues while maintaining the same high expectations for all students enrolled in the class. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Accessible Education

Please let me know within the first two weeks of the term if you need assistance to fully participate in the course. Participation includes access to lectures, web-based information, in-class activities, and exams. The Accessible Education Center ( works with students to provide an instructor notification letter that outlines accommodations and adjustments to class design that will enable better access. Contact the Accessible Education Center for assistance with access or disability-related questions or concerns.

Reporting Obligations

We are designated reporters. For information about our reporting obligations as employees, please see Employee Reporting Obligations on the Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance (OICRC) website. Students experiencing any form of prohibited discrimination or harassment, including sex or gender-based violence, may seek information and resources at http://, http://, or http:// or contact the non-confidential Title IX office/Office of Civil Rights Compliance (541-346-3123), or Dean of Students offices (541-346-3216), or call the 24-7 hotline 541-346-SAFE for help. We are also mandatory reporters of child abuse. Please find more information at Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Reporting Title IX Experiences

Any student who has experienced sexual assault, relationship violence, sex or gender-based bullying, stalking, and/or sexual harassment may seek resources and help at To get help by phone, a student can also call either the UO’s 24-hour hotline at 541-346-7244 [SAFE], or the non-confidential Title IX Coordinator at 541-346-8136. From the SAFE website, students may also connect to Callisto, a confidential, third-party reporting site that is not a part of the university.

Students experiencing any other form of prohibited discrimination or harassment can find information at or contact the non-confidential AAEO office at 541-346-3123 or the Dean of Students Office at 541-346-3216 for help. As UO policy has different reporting requirements based on the nature of the reported harassment or discrimination, additional information about reporting requirements for discrimination or harassment unrelated to sexual assault, relationship violence, sex or gender based bullying, stalking, and/or sexual harassment is available at

Specific details about confidentiality of information and reporting obligations of employees can be found at

Academic Misconduct Policy

The University Student Conduct Code (available at defines academic misconduct. Students are prohibited from committing or attempting to commit any act that constitutes academic misconduct. By way of example, students should not give or receive (or attempt to give or receive) unauthorized help on assignments or examinations without express permission from the instructor. Students should properly acknowledge and document all sources of information (e.g. quotations, paraphrases, ideas) and use only the sources and resources authorized by the instructor. If there is any question about whether an act constitutes academic misconduct, it is the students’ obligation to clarify the question with the instructor before committing or attempting to commit the act. Additional information about a common form of academic misconduct, plagiarism, is available at

Academic Integrity for Remote Learning

The University Student Conduct Code defines academic misconduct, which includes unauthorized help on assignments and examinations and the use of sources without acknowledgment. Academic misconduct is prohibited at UO. We will report misconduct to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards—consequences can include failure of the course. In our remote class, we may ask you to certify that your products are your own work. If a technological glitch disrupts your work, don’t panic. Take a photo to document the error message you’re receiving and then email us.

Conflict Resolution

Several options, both informal and formal, are available to resolve conflicts for students who believe they have been subjected to or have witnessed bias, unfairness, or other improper treatment. It is important to exhaust the administrative remedies available to you including discussing the conflict with the specific individual, contacting the Department Head, or within the College of Education, fall term you can contact the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Lillian Durán, 541-346-2502, Outside the College, you can contact:

Grievance Policy

A student or group of students of the College of Education may appeal decisions or actions pertaining to admissions, programs, evaluation of performance and program retention and completion. Students who decide to file a grievance should follow University student grievance procedures and/or consult with the College Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (Lillian Durán, 346-2502,

In Case of Inclement Weather

In the event the University operates on a curtailed schedule or closes, UO media relations will notify the Eugene-Springfield area radio and television stations as quickly as possible. In addition, a notice regarding the university’s schedule will be posted on the UO main home page (in the “News” section) at Additional information is available at

If an individual class must be canceled due to inclement weather, illness, or other reason, a notice will be posted on Canvas or via email. During periods of inclement weather, please check Canvas and your email rather than contact department personnel. Due to unsafe travel conditions, departmental staff may be limited and unable to handle the volume of calls from you and others.

Course Incomplete Policy

Students are expected to be familiar with university policy regarding grades of “incomplete” and the time line for completion. For details on the policy and procedures regarding incompletes, Please see: