Tips for Educators

In this section, four students who took CMS.631 Data Storytelling Studio in either Spring 2017 or Spring 2016 share tips for educators interested in facilitating similar learning experiences.

Anonymous, Graduate Student, MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing

Educators facilitating similar courses need to be willing to provide a lot of feedback during the process of creating each deliverable. There were times I had no idea what to do, and without my instructor’s guidance things would have gone south fast. This is not a course for an educator who doesn't have time to provide thoughtful advice and critiques. Also, ideally, make sure there is a diverse mix of students from various academic backgrounds in the class—this really enriches the experience.

Kenneth Friedman, Graduate Student, MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Educators could use this course as a great "mind & hand" class example. In class, there was a lot of "mind:" class discussions and teaching, but it was paired with the "hand" component: free-form (open-ended) projects throughout the semester (not just one final project), where we could experiment and learn by doing.

Kendra Pierre-Louis, Graduate Student, MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing

Encourage your students to be exploratory.

— Kendra Pierre-Louis,
Graduate Student

Don't expect a fully polished implementable product in a week or two. Encourage your students to be exploratory.

Felipe Lozano-Landinez, Undergraduate, Technology for Social Systems | MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering

Group projects are essential for creating the conversations that lead to the layers of depth and thinking that lead to well thought-out data stories. Different techniques can be really hard to understand at first, so examples are crucial. Having practitioners come and talk about their work makes the class a lot more "applicable." If you can create an engaging, example-driven, and cohesive classroom, you will experience success in your teaching endeavor.