Prof. Fateme Rajabiyazdi has received a grant from the “Teaching and Learning Services’ Scholarship of Teaching and Learning” (SoTL) to explore how to deliver and tailor data visualization courses to students with diverse engineering backgrounds.

In this information age, visualizations are increasingly prominent in the day-to-day transfer of information. With the growing number of visualizations, visualization literacy – the ability to read, interpret, and create data visualizations – is becoming as important as reading and writing texts. Visualization literacy does not only include reading and interpreting data representations, but it also includes the ability to critically review, effectively interact, carefully design and develop data visualizations. As such, this is a necessary skill to avoid the misuse and misinterpretation of data visualizations.

There are many guidelines and extensive empirical knowledge in the literature on designing and developing visualizations. However, little is known about the pedagogy of visualization literacy skills, particularly if the audience is broad and diverse. To expand our understanding of how to teach visualization, data visualization courses should be offered to a wider audience. Data visualization courses at the university level are often offered to undergraduate and graduate students in computer science, information technology, or software engineering programs. While teaching visualization to these students is essential, students in other disciplines must also be exposed to a similar curriculum to improve their visualization literacy.

Aligned with Prof. Rajabiyazdi’s field of research, designing and developing interactive data visualizations, she is offering a new graduate-level course, “Data Visualization” in the Faculty of Engineering and Design, Department of Systems and Computer Engineering (SCE). While teaching this course, she will explore the opportunities and the challenges of teaching visualizations to engineering students and provide guidelines for teaching future data visualization courses to engineering students.

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