CMS.631 | Spring 2017 | Undergraduate

Data Storytelling Studio: Climate Change


Final Project Requirements

This course culminates with a final project that will integrate many of the skills and approaches we cover throughout the semester. The final project is NOT a sketch; you should be creating a real, functioning version of the idea you have in mind.

I anticipate that one of the small projects you do in the technique modules will grow into your final project, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

The final project must gather, analyze, and synthesize various civic datasets into a data-driven presentation. It must include:

  1. Work produced as a team (ie. 3 or more students in the class)
    • Your fellow team members will be providing feedback on how you contributed and that will impact your final project grade
  2. A strong connection to climate change data — data for the public good
  3. A compelling and creative presentation of your data story, based on the data, with a clear and well-defined audience and set of goals in mind
  4. An accompanying co-authored “methodology” blog post describing how you found your data, cleaned it, analyzed it, and synthesized it into a story. This should include links to cleaned datasets you created online. This should be around 500 words.
  5. An accompanying co-authored 500ish word “impact” blog post describing the following:
    • A set of goals that explain why you want to tell them your data story
    • A stated and well-defined audience for your data story
    • A write-up of semi-structured interviews and/or pre-post surveys with a handful of people in your intended audience to gauge their reaction
  6. A 5 minute presentation of the project (and if you create slides, post them to the blog as well)

Sample Final Project Ideas 

Here are a few potential final projects, to provide a sense of scope and variety acceptable:

  • A long-form journalism article telling a data-driven story, with accompanying flat visuals, that tries to explain a complex issue of importance to a naïve audience
  • A physical sculpture for installation in a public venue that re-interprets data in an artistic way to attract attention and interest of potentially interested passers-by
  • An interactive online text-based game that leads users through a set of data to evoke an emotional response and a call to action to do something about the issue
  • A collaboration with a community group to analyze their data and create a set of visuals that help them tell their story to funders and community in a new way
  • An interactive installation suitable for a museum setting, presenting the data in a physical way using motors, Arduino, etc. to educate visitors about the issue
  • A comparative study of how people perceive and can operate on different presentations of data

Those are just a few directions you could go. This course is intended to encourage creative new techniques for telling compelling data-driven stories, and will showcase a variety of examples to spark novel ideas, so take these as examples rather than constraints.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2017
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