What more than a hundred project groups reveal about teaching visualization

Michael Burch, Elisabeth Melby
2020 Journal of Visualization  
The growing number of students can be a challenge for teaching visualization lectures, supervision, evaluation, and grading. Moreover, designing visualization courses by matching the different experiences and skills of the students is a major goal in order to find a common solvable task for all of them. Particularly, the given task is important to follow a common project goal, to collaborate in small project groups, but also to further experience, learn, or extend programming skills. In this
more » ... icle, we survey our experiences from teaching 116 student project groups of 6 bachelor courses on information visualization with varying topics. Moreover, two teaching strategies were tried: 2 courses were held without lectures and assignments but with weekly scrum sessions (further denoted by TS1) and 4 courses were guided by weekly lectures and assignments (further denoted by TS2). A total number of 687 students took part in all of these 6 courses. Managing the ever growing number of students in computer and data science is a big challenge in these days, i.e., the students typically apply a design-based active learning scenario while being supported by weekly lectures, assignments, or scrum sessions. As a major outcome, we identified a regular supervision either by lectures and assignments or by regular scrum sessions as important due to the fact that the students were relatively unexperienced bachelor students with a wide range of programming skills, but nearly no visualization background. In this article, we explain different subsequent stages to successfully handle the upcoming problems and describe how much supervision was involved in the development of the visualization project. The project task description is given in a way that it has a minimal number of requirements but can be extended in many directions while most of the decisions are up to the students like programming languages, visualization approaches, or interaction techniques. Finally, we discuss the benefits and drawbacks of both teaching strategies.
doi:10.1007/s12650-020-00659-6 fatcat:gskwekzhd5a3bf3rlqxzikmuiy