547 Course Structure

Description | Audience | Delivery | Grading Scheme | Synchronous In-Class Participation | Illness | Asynchronous Online Discussion |


This course will cover the computer-based visual representation of abstract data sets, designed to help people perform some task more faster or more effectively. In many cases these representations are interactive.

Delivery Mechanisms


Grading Scheme

In many cases I'll be bucket-sorting individual subcomponents of your grade based on on a scale roughly following {great 100%, good 89%, ok 78%, poor 67%, zero 0%}, although the exact weighting may vary. Note that poor is not a passing mark in a graduate class.

There will be no final examination in this course, final project presentations will be during the final exams period (Wed Dec 15, time 2-6 (may change slightly depending on final enrollment).

The grading scheme is roughly proportional to estimated time spent. I assume available time is 12 hours per week across 14 weeks, for a time budget of 168 hours. The synchronous in-class meetings will take 3 hours per week, and occur during 12 weeks. Attending the final presentations will take 3 or 4 hours. I estimate about 7 hours of reading and writing time each week during the 9 weeks of reading and online discussion. The project should be scoped to take about 80 hours per person, spread throughout the term.

Synchronous In-Class Participation

The synchronous component of the class will be in person and will include in-class exercises working in small groups, lectures, and discussions. It will occur in the Wednesday afternoon time slot (3-6). Participation is mandatory, I do expect you to attend and the material covered will be important for absorbing and internalizing the course material. It will be marked on a pass/fail basis: if you participate and you're engaged, you will pass.

Missed Classes / Illness

If you must miss class you should send me email with an explanation; this email should be in advance not after the fact, unless the problem is illness or emergency. You do not need a doctor's note to establish illness, UBC policy is to self-declare.

If you are unable to come to class for any reason, including because you are ill or quarantining, you can work through the exercise on your own for full credit. Follow the link to the googledoc folder for the exercise. Copy the Answer Template, label your document SoloN where N is the first unused number, and post a private note to the instructors on Piazza when you have finished.

As a reminder, there is a mask mandate due to the pandemic and we are all required to wear masks indoors. If you need to register a medical exemption, please contact the Centre for Accessibility to do so; that process is being handled centrally. Please do not eat in the classroom. If you need to drink something, replace your mask between sips.

Asynchronous Reading & Online Discussion

The asynchronous (async) component of the course will take place over 9 of the weeks. For each week, you will do first do the assigned readings, then join the online discussion by first posting your own comments about the readings, then responding to comments from others. In most weeks there will be three assigned readings. In the online discussion, your own comments on the readings are due by Monday 1pm. You must post one comment on each assigned reading. Your responses to the comments of others are due by Wednesday 1pm. You must post to at least one response to a classmate's comments each week, feel free to contribute further to the discussion as well.

Your submitted comments should be thoughtful, and clearly show that you've done the reading and reflected on it. They may either be phrased in the form of an observation or a question. Do be concise: aim for a short paragraph for each reading. If you genuinely are confused by some aspect of the reading, then it's useful and legitimate to ask for clarification. However, simply asking something that you could trivially look up yourself is not a good question. Neither are vague statements like "I liked it" or "I learned a lot", or anything that you could write without having thought carefully about the reading. As with any written work that you hand in, I expect correct grammar and spelling. Your responses to the observations and questions of your classmates should also be thoughtful and polite. I will also chime in to the online discussion.

For marking I'll start with pass/fail, I may fall back on explicit marking if I see quality issues.

Below are examples of graded comments from a Navigation/Zooming reading in a previous course, ranging from great to poor.

Back to 547 Home
Tamara Munzner
Last modified: Sun Sep 12 14:01:24 PDT 2021