Infographics and

data visualization
CVJ 522
Section GS
Tuesday and Tursday
3.30-4.45 P.M.
Room 3034
Alberto Cairo Assistant Professor of the
Professional Practice
School of Communication, Ofce
Twitter: @albertocairo
Ofce Hours
Tuesday and Tursday 8.30-11.15 A.M.
Tis course is an introduction to the
visual display of information in digital
and interactive media, with a special
focus on the encoding of data by means
of statistical charts, maps, and diagrams.
Infographics and data visualization
CVJ 522
Tis course is an introduction to the principles of visual representation of data. It consists of a study of
information graphics and digital visualizations, the use of charts, maps, diagrams, and illustrations to
enable understanding or artistic expression. In this course, you will learn to create efective and beautiful
graphical displays of evidence, and to critically evaluate examples from print media, and the Internet.
Tere will be two kinds of sessions: regular classes and lab-time, as detailed in the calendar. Regular
classes will be a mix of short conceptual lectures and hands-on exercises that we will use to illustrate the
theoretical principles we’ll cover. Attendance is mandatory both for regular classes and lab-time sessions.
Tis course has a very heavy workload. You may need between 5 and 10 hours of out-of-class time a
week to complete the assignments. Be prepared for that.
If you need me, you can contact me at any time by e-mail, or drop by my ofce. I am writing this not
just as a formality: if I am at School and I am not doing anything that requires my immediate attention,
I will help you. If for some reason I cannot answer your questions at that particular time, I will schedule
a short meeting with you as soon as possible. Or I may even record a video to answer your question!
Students enrolled in this course are expected to abide by the University of Miami Honor Code. Te
purpose of the Honor Code is to protect the academic integrity of the University by encouraging
consistent ethical behavior in assigned coursework. Academic dishonesty of any kind, for whatever
reason, will not be tolerated. No honest student wants to be guilty of the intellectual crime of
plagiarism, even unintentionally. Terefore, we provide you with these guidelines.
Plagiarism is the taking of someone else’s words, work, or ideas, and passing them of as a product of
your own eforts. Plagiarism may occur when a person fails to place quotation marks around someone
else’s exact words, directly rephrasing or paraphrasing someone else’s words while still following the
general form of the original, and/or failing to issue the proper citation to one’s source material.
In student papers, plagiarism is often due to:
• Turning in someone else’s paper as one’s own
• Using another person’s data or ideas without acknowledgment
• Failing to cite a written source (printed or internet) of information that you used to collect data or
• Copying an author’s exact words and putting them in the paper without quotation marks
• Rephrasing an author’s words and failing to cite the source
• Copying, rephrasing, or quoting an author’s exact words and citing a source other than where the
mate- rial was obtained. (For example, using a secondary source which cites the original material, but
citing only the primary material. Tis misrepresents the nature of the scholarship involved in creating
the paper. If you have not read an original publication, do not cite it in your references as if you have!)
• Using wording that is very similar to that of the original source, but passing it of as one’s own.
Te last item is probably the most common problem in student writing. It is still plagiarism if the
student uses an author’s key phrases or sentences in a way that implies they are his/her own, even if s/he
cites the source.
Description and policies
Infographics and data visualization
CVJ 522
Description and policies
Attendance Policy
Coming to class is crucial for your success. Being in the lab while we work on projects, for instance, is
necessary for me to be able to give you constant feedback on your progress. Terefore, each unexcused
absence will result in a 25 points reduction in your fnal grade. Excused absences (doctor’s note, for
instance) won’t afect your grade. In addition, every three late arrivals (5 minutes or more) will result in
another 25 points drop. Coming late can disrupt other students. I will be VERY STRICT with these
rules. No cell phones, IM, messaging or Web surfng will be allowed during regular classes.
If you are on the waiting list
If you are on the waiting list for this class, please be aware that attendance is mandatory from the very
frst day. You won’t be allowed into the course otherwise.
Religious Holy Day policy
It is the student’s obligation to provide faculty members with notice of the dates they will be absent
for religious holy days, preferably before the beginning of classes but no later than the end of the frst
three class days. Absences due to observance of religious holy days not pre-arranged within the frst
three class days may be considered unexcused and there is no obligation to allow any make up work,
including examinations. Missing a class due to travel plans associated with a particular religious holy
day does not constitute an excused absence. Te University’s complete Religious Holy Day Policy can
be found in the 2012-2013 Bulletin.
Required readings/videos
Te Functional Art Alberto Cairo
I will reimburse you for the royalties that I get
If you know how to work with scripting languages like Processing, d3.js,
etc., feel free to use them. If you don’t know how to use any visualization
tool, I recommend Adobe Illustrator and Tableau. Both are installed in
the lab computers. I will send you information on how to install Tableau
in your own laptops.
Creating Maps, Charts and Infographics with Illustrator (video)
Tableau tutorials
USB fash drive or exernal Hard Drive
You must back up your fles on a regular basis.
No deadline can be missed due to loss of data.
Infographics and data visualization
CVJ 522
Assignments and grading
599 and below
Points Grade
Tis is a project-oriented course. Terefore, grading will be based on several projects, and also
on a quiz based on Chapters 1-9 from the textbook, additional readings, and lectures.
Components Scale
Project 1: Charts and Maps
Project 2: Interactive visualization
Project 3: Final project
Participation in class or in and Places&Spaces:
Up to +10
Story for +5 (each)
If the story includes professional-quality video +5
(Bonus limit: +20)
Stories can be produced by groups of students
(if approved by instructor.) In this case, each
student will receive the bonus
In any case, the instructor reserves the right to determine if these bonuses will be given
A note on projects
I will give you detailed guidelines for each project right before we begin working on it.
Here you have a summary of what we’ll probably do:
Project 1: Simple display based on data I will provide, combining several statistical graphs
and maybe some data maps in a composition.
Project 2: An interactive display of data.
Project 3: Complex, multi-component infographic.
Infographics and data visualization
CVJ 522
Special projects
Meetings with the Univisión / Fusion Interactive and Visualization Teams
During the semester, I will organize four visits to the newsroom of Univisión / Fusion. Te goal is to meet
with the teams that produce interactive graphics and visualizations, and talk about current and future
projects. To attend these meetings, you will need to add your name to this spreadsheet:
Please notice that space is limited, so be very serious about being at Univisión / Fusion on time (it’s in
Doral.) If you cannot attend for some reason, let me know immediately, so I can let other students in.
Places & Spaces exhibit
Attendance to the lecture series of the Places & Spaces exhibit ( is
HIGHLY recommended. We’re bringing some of the top names in the visualization/infographics industry to
meet with you, so you should take advantage of it. Attendance to these events could be part of a bonus for
“class participation.”
Stories for
One way to greatly improve your grade in this class is to write or record stories, interviews, reviews, etc., for UM’s
visualization website,
Stories this semester can be related to the Places & Spaces lecture series. See a list of ideas here (more will be added
during the semester). Copy and paste the following link in your browser:
If you’re interested in writing any of those pieces, add your name and course number to one of the columns, and let me
know. If more than one student writes a story about one of the events, I will decide which one will be published in the
You can also write stories about visualizations that are part of the exhibit. You can choose one, and then do research
about it: Who made it? What techniques were used? What were the designer’s goals? In case that you’re writting about
contemporary pieces, contact the authors and interview them.
You can propose stories. For instance, if you fnd out that a department, faculty member, or student, is doing
visualization-related work, you can write about it/her/him.
EACH STORY: +5 points toward your fnal grade.
If the story includes video and audio, extra +5 points.
Bonus limit: +20
Tese bonuses can raise your fnal grade signifcantly, so take advantage of them. Tey can be the diference between a
C+ and a B, or between a B+ and an A-.
Infographics and data visualization
CVJ 522
Course calendar
Intro: How this class works
Lecture: Principles of Visualization I
Use the weekend to go over the software tutorials. Strongly recommended: Illustrator 1, 2, 3
See examples of infographics provided in class
Discussion on the examples provided last week
Time to answer questions about software
Lecture: Principles of Visualization II
Use part of next week to go over software tutorials. Strongly recommended: Illustrator 4, 5, 6
Beginning of non-graded infographic exercise and going over Tableau
(Work on non-graded exercise or use the time to catch up with readings/tutorials)
(Work on non-graded exercise or use the time to catch up with readings/tutorials)
Time to answer questions about software
Review of free online tools that can help you create interactive/static charts
Lecture: Principles of Visualization III
Use the weekend to learn Tableau
Non-graded exercise due on FRIDAY 19 at NIGHT
Review of non-graded exercise
Lecture: Principles of Visualization IV
Use the weekend to learn Tableau
Review of non-graded exercise
Introduction to Project 1
Work on Project 1
(Work on Project 1)
(Work on Project 1)
Work on Project 1. Project 2 guidelines
Tuesday 26
Tursday 28
Tuesday 2
Tursday 4
Tuesday 9
Tursday 11
Tuesday 16
Tursday 18
Tuesday 23
Tursday 25
Tuesday 30
Tursday 2
Tuesday 7
Tursday 9
Tuesday 14
Tursday 16
Our schedule may change slightly depending on class needs, although I will do my best to be
true to the plan below. I will announce any change to the calendar in advance.
Infographics and data visualization
CVJ 522
Critique session about Project 1
Work on Project 2
Work on Project 2
Work on Project 2
Work on Project 2
Work on Project 2
Work on Project 2
Guidelines for Project 3
(Work on project 3)
(Work on project 3)
Work on project 3
Work on project 3
Tanksgiving Break. NO CLASS
Tanksgiving Break. NO CLASS
Work on project 3
Work on project 3
Project 3 is due on SUNDAY 7 AT NIGHT
Course calendar
Tuesday 21
Tursday 23
Tuesday 28
Tursday 30
Tuesday 4
Tursday 6
Tuesday 11
Tursday 13
Tuesday 18
Tursday 20
Tuesday 25
Tursday 27
Tuesday 2
Tursday 4
Tuesday 9