Course Information

  • Semester: Spring 2017
  • Lecture: M W, 3:30-4:45pm in Dion 101
  • Course Web Page:
  • Text: Visualization Analysis and Design, Tamara Munzner, AK Peters Visualization Series, CRC Press, Nov. 2014

Instructor Information

  • Instructor: Dr. David Koop
  • Office: Dion 308A
  • Office Hours: Tu 3-5pm, W 2-3pm, F 11am-12pm
  • Phone: 508-910-6692
  • Web Page:
  • Email:

Course Description

Visualization is increasingly important in this era where the use of data is growing in many different fields. Data visualization techniques allow people to use their perception to better understand this data. The goal of this course is to introduce students to data visualization including both the principles and techniques. Students will learn the value of visualization, specific techniques in information visualization and scientific visualization, and how understand how to best leverage visualization methods.

Course Prerequisites

Students should have taken a course in algorithms and data structures. While the computer graphics is not required, it is useful background. Familiarity with Web technologies and JavaScript is also useful.

Course Structure

The course will focus on the principles of data visualization coupled with assignments and a project that offer the opportunity to design and implement visualizations using this knowledge. The course will have two exams and a final project in addition to some assignments that will require programming.


Please note that the schedule is subject to change, although exam dates are not expected to change. Please check the web site for the latest assignments and readings.


Two in-class exams will be given. You must attend the exams. Exams can only be made up in case of a documented emergency. Valid documentation includes notes from a doctor or a nurse, though not for a scheduled appointment; evidence of jury duty or of court appearance; evidence of military obligations. Notes from relatives do not constitute valid documentation, nor does proof of travel arrangements. Other kinds of documentation may be considered valid (or not) at the professor’s discretion.


There will be a course project which involves visualization of real datasets. While some starting points will be provided, students are also encouraged to develop projects that align with their research interests. Further details will be made available later.


There will be assignments throughout the course to help concretize the concepts being discussed in lectures. They will be announced both in class and on the course web site. Assignments are due at the time specified; late assignments will not be accepted. If you are seriously ill or have a family emergency before the assignment is due, please let me know as soon as possible so we can make necessary arrangements. Do not notify me after the assignment is due!


  • 5% Course Participation
  • 30% Assignments
  • 40% Exams
  • 25% Final Project

Course Technologies

The course will use the d3.js JavaScript library (and JavaScript) for most projects, but students will also be introduced to other tools including leaflet.js, Bokeh, Tableau, VTK, and ParaView.

Course Objectives

  • Develop skills to both design and critique visualizations
  • Understand why visualization is an important part of data analysis
  • Understand the components involved in visualization design
  • Understand the type of data impacts the type of visualization

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to prepare data for visualization
  • Students will be able to design visualizations
  • Students will be able to use web technology to create visualizations

Academic Honesty Policy

All UMass Dartmouth students are expected to maintain high standards of academic integrity and scholarly practice. The University does not tolerate academic dishonesty of any variety, whether as a result of failure to understand required academic and scholarly procedure or as an act of intentional dishonesty. A student found responsible of academic dishonesty is subject to severe disciplinary action which may include dismissal from the University. Refer to the Student Handbook and Student Code of Conduct for due process.

Students must complete their own work. They must not submit work from another source (e.g. another student, a book or other published document, or a website). This includes your own work; if you wrote code for another project that you are using in this course, you must acknowledge that. You must explicitly acknowledge anything that you did not write yourself for this course. Consequences range from a zero on the assignment to dismissal from the university. In this course, the instructor reserves the right to use the SafeAssign plagiarism detection software through myCourses.

Late Policy

The final project is due on the specified deadline; submitting it late will result in a zero for the project. For assignments, you have three late days (72 hours) to use as you wish. After your late days are used, you will receive (100-10*N/6)% of your score where N ≤ 48 is the number of hours (rounded up) after the stated deadline. Weekends count.

Attendance Policy

You are strongly encouraged to attend all lectures. If you miss a lecture, it is your responsibility to find some way to learn the material covered during that class. In addition, your participation in class is part of your grade.

Electronic Communication

Students are responsible for reading messages sent to their accounts. The course instructor will attempt to respond to course-related email sent to the instructor's address in a timely manner. In addition, students should turn in work via the myCourses system unless otherwise specified, and scores and feedback will be available via that system.

Syllabus Change Policy

Except for changes that substantially affect the evaluation (grading) of the course, this syllabus is a guide for the course and is subject to change. Please refer to the current online version for the most current information.

Incomplete Policy

The incomplete policy for this course is that at least 70% of the course must be already completed and an exceptional circumstance (i.e. medical issue) must exist. If you feel you require an incomplete for an exceptional reason, you must present a written request no more than 48 hours after the final exam and state your reasons for the incomplete. We will then decide on a course of action.

Accommodation Policy

In accordance with University policy, if you have a documented disability and require accommodations to obtain equal access in this course, please meet with the instructor at the beginning of the semester and provide the appropriate paperwork from the Center for Access and Success. The necessary paperwork is obtained when you bring proper documentation to the Center, which is located in Pine Dale Hall, Room 7136; phone: 508.999.8711; email:

Lecture Etiquette

You may not record lectures without the instructor's permission. Please do not cause distractions that detract from your fellow students' learning. Cell phones and other electronic devices should be silent; if there is an emergency and you need to communicate with someone, please step out of the classroom. You may use electronic devices for note-taking, but please note that not participating in lectures (e.g. working on another assignment during lecture) will affect the class participation portion of your grade.

Title IX Information

The purpose of a university is to disseminate information, as well as to explore a universe of ideas, to encourage diverse perspectives and robust expression, and to foster the development of critical and analytical thinking skills. In many classes, including this one, students and faculty examine and analyze challenging and controversial topics.

If a topic covered in this class triggers post-traumatic stress or other emotional distress, please discuss the matter with the professor or seek out confidential resources available from the Counseling Center,, 508-999-8648 or -8650, or the Victim Advocate in the Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality,, 508-910-4584. In an emergency, contact the Department of Public Safety at 508-999-9191 24 hrs./day.

UMass Dartmouth, following national guidance from the Office of Civil Rights, requires that faculty follow UMass Dartmouth policy as a "mandated reporter" of any disclosure of sexual harassment, abuse, and/or violence shared with the faculty member in person and/or via email. These disclosures include but are not limited to reports of sexual assault, relational abuse, relational/domestic violence, and stalking. While faculty are often able to help students locate appropriate channels of assistance on campus, disclosure by the student to the faculty member requires that the faculty member inform the University’s Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at 508-999-8008 to help ensure that the student’s safety and welfare is being addressed, even if the student requests that the disclosure not be shared.

For confidential counseling support and assistance, please go to