This semester, I taught a master course on information visualization at HfK Bremen. It was quite fun and I think I was able improve a bit on the teaching side compared to the first full course I taught two years ago.
The topic was “Weltbilder” — “World views” which has become sort of a theme for my work lately. Here are the introductory slides and reference projects:
The course took place on 8 full days over the course of four weeks in February and March 2013. Overall, I had more than 20 students in the course (although some were only listening in without handing in a final project). The first few sessions were partly filled with me teaching basic craftmanship (slides—30MB) and establishing context, while the students gave presentations on some of my favorite scientific papers and articles (dropbox) and practitioners (such as Nathalie Miebach, Stefanie Posavec, Density Design, Santiago Ortiz, Nicholas Felton, Periscopic, Stamen, Ben Fry, Martin Wattenberg & Fernanda Viegas and the NYT graphics desk). We also had a few practical exercises on drawing family trees and fixing broken charts.
The second half of the course was much concerned with the student’s projects, and I did mostly 1:1 consultations. You can find a few of the final projects here. I like how the course results reflect the diversity of the students themselves — we had artists, computer scientists, journalists, people from humanities — quite a mixed bunch. Overall, I am quite happy with how things worked out and hope I could excite a few of my students to keep doing things in this field :)
Here are two of my favorite projects:
but in sum, they were all pretty nice in one way or the other :) Here’s the gallery
A new diversion of mine: mapping twitter accounts related to information visualization with gephi:
This map shows 1645 twitter accounts related to the topic of information visualization. The accounts were determined as follows: For a subjective selection of “seed accounts”, the twitter API was queried for followers and friends. In order to be included into the map, a user account needed to have at least 5 links (i.e. follow or being followed) to one of these accounts. The size of the network nodes indicates the number of followers within this network.
 The seed accounts were; @moritz_stefaner, @datavis, @infosthetics, @wiederkehr, @FILWD, @janwillemtulp, @visualisingdata, @jcukier, @mccandelish, @flowingdata, @mslima, @blprnt, @pitchinteractiv, @bestiario140, @eagereyes, @feltron, @stamen, @thewhyaxis
Finally, a decent Flash framework for Information Visualization is available: Flare is an offspring of the Java-based prefuse toolkit, written in ActionScript 3. Especially notable is the good support for animated transitions, an important topic in interactive visualization. Flare is open source software licensed under the terms of the BSD license, and can be freely used for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.
Thanks to Till for the tip!