CMS.631 | Spring 2017 | Undergraduate

Data Storytelling Studio: Climate Change

Instructor Insights

Instructor Interview

Below, Rahul Bhargava describes various aspects of how he teaches CMS.631 Data Storytelling Studio: Climate Change.

Student Interviews

"Making the data ‘alive’ through non-quantitative means makes the concept much more relatable and personable. The audience understands this at an organic level, and they are drawn to learning more. It’s much more engaging. Long story short, it is much more memorable. And in many cases, that’s the entire point."
— Felipe Lozano-Landinez, Undergraduate

Below, students in the course describe the data storytelling techniques they found particularly compelling, offer advice to future students, and share tips with educators interested in facilitating a similar learning experience.

Curriculum Information



The course is open to all technical levels and backgrounds. Students with a strong background in one or more of the following areas are prioritized: journalism, software development, data analysis, documentary, and visual and performing arts.

Requirements Satisfied

  • GIR
  • HASS


Every spring semester


Grade Breakdown

The students’ grades were based on the following activities:

  • 20% Participation, peer-assistance and paper reviews
  • 15% Assignments
  • 45% Technique sketches
  • 20% Final project

Student Information


22 students

Breakdown by Year

Both undergraduates and graduate students

Breakdown by Major

Computer science, business, biology, mechanical engineering, writing, and the arts

Enrollment Cap

Enrollment is capped at 30 so that the instructor has adequate time to support each student as they experiment with data storytelling techniques.

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

In Class

  • Met 2 times per week for 1.5 hours per session; 27 sessions total.
  • Class sessions involved hands-on activities, teamwork, and critique sessions.

Out of Class

  • Students completed assignments and readings, contributed to the class blog, and worked on their final projects outside of class.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2017
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Instructor Insights