3G: Fundamentals of Data Visualization for Education

With Silas Bergen (Winona State University), Chris Malone (Winona State University), & Jerzy Wieczorek (Colby College)


In this breakout session we will present and discuss two fundamental data visualization concepts: the grammar of graphics and the Gestalt principles. We will begin with the grammar of graphics as a way to more deeply understand and specify visualizations. We will then discuss the Gestalt principles as a way of contrasting different grammatical specifications and choosing “the best one.” The session will be software agnostic, focusing instead on the core principles to enhance generalizability. Participants will design and compare graphics with pen-and-paper. The concepts we present can be implemented in a wide array of courses, from those dedicated to data visualization to statistical consulting to any course that utilizes data displays as a significant portion of its content. Examples will be drawn from undergraduate courses taught by the session organizers.

The intended audience is anyone who expects to teach or is interesting in teaching aspects of data visualization in their courses. An Internet browser is the only required technology. No prior knowledge required.