Administrative details#

Course Information#


Information Visualization


Rehn Hall 115

Meeting time

Tue & Thu 12:35 – 1:50pm

Professor information#


Tyson D. Van Alfen



Rehn Hall 126A

Office hours

Wed 9:00–10:00am
Thu 2:00–3:00pm
And by appointment


Information visualization looks easy. Just take your spreadsheet of data, press the “chart” button in Excel and there you go. But it is far more than that. It’s been said that you never really know a subject until you try to teach it. That’s what you’re doing here: teaching. You’re trying to educate, convince, persuade an audience with your data. You’re telling them a story that makes sense from beginning to end, backed up with data, and told in a compelling and engaging way with no distractions.

That’s the easy part of information visualization. The hard part comes early in the process, and it’s also the hard part of analytics. That is, you really need to know what you’re talking about. To do that you need to have a deep, intimate, thorough knowledge of the data and its surrounding context. Unless you know the context and the data, your final visualization is unsupported and has no clear purpose.

In order to determine the most appropriate and effective visualization, we’ll cover the perceptual, graphical, and technical dimensions of presenting information. Then we will put these lessons into practice with projects and case studies.

Information visualization is more than deciding between a bar chart and a line chart. It’s really what analytics is all about.

Prerequisites and restrictions#

Prerequisite: BSAN 401 with a grade of C or better.

Restrictions: College of Business majors or minors, junior standing or higher; or departmental approval required.