Data rarely speaks for itself. Instructor
Dr. Andrew Heiss
Office hours: Mondays from 10:30–11:30. Sign up for other times here.
E-mail is the best way to get in contact with me—I will respond to all course-related e-mails within 24 hours (really).
Mondays and Wednesdays
October 25–December 14, 2017
Without clear communication and a convincing argument, the theoretically rigorous and groundbreaking results you have found after months of backbreaking toil can easily be ignored. If you want people to understand and use your data and findings, you must present them in an engaging way.
In this class you’ll learn how to use techniques long used by storytellers, documentarians, and artists to communicate scientific findings in a way that is effective, engaging, professional, enjoyable, and memorable.
At the end of this course, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an expert presenter and science communicator. Specifically, you’ll be able to:
- Distinguish between different mediums for presenting research and identify which is most appropriate for different situations and audiences
- Translate analytical results into narratives that maintain nuance and engage diverse readers, listeners, and stakeholders
- Synthesize and apply basic graphic design principles to create and deliver an engaging and convincing narrative presentation
- Evaluate presentations based on their design, content, narrative, and delivery
You’ll need to get these books—they’re definitely worth keeping for reference, too.
- Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic, Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals (Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2015). [$20 used, $24 new; Amazon]
- Alan Alda, If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating (New York: Random House, 2017). [$13 used, $20 new; Amazon]
- Nancy Duarte, Resonate: Present Visual Stories That Transform Audiences (Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2010). [$8 used, $17 new; Amazon]
This book is optional, but we’ll discuss and use many of the graphic design principles in it, and it will change how you design anything in the future. I highly recommend it.
- Robin Williams, The Non-Designer’s Design & Type Books: Design and Typographic Principles for the Visual Novice, Deluxe Edition. (Berkeley, California: Peachpit Press, 2008). [$15 used; Amazon]
There will also be several articles, websites, and videos that I will post on the readings pages for individual class sessions.
Be nice. Be honest. Don’t cheat.
We will also follow the full list of Marriott School and BYU classroom policies.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
Life at BYU can be complicated and challenging. You might feel overwhelmed, experience anxiety or depression, or struggle with relationships or family responsibilities. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides free, confidential support for students who are struggling with mental health and emotional challenges. The CAPS office is staffed by professional psychologists who are attuned to the needs of all types of college students. Please do not hesitate to contact CAPS for assistance—getting help is a smart and courageous thing to do.
Basic needs security
If you have difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day, or if you lack a safe and stable place to live, and you believe this may affect your performance in this course, please contact the Dean of Students for support. Please also consider speaking with your local LDS bishop regarding Church welfare assistance regardless of whether or not you are LDS. Additionally, please talk to me if you are comfortable in doing so. This will enable me to provide any resources that I might possess.
Class conduct and expectations
On the first day of class we came up with rules, expectations, and policies for things like technology in the classroom, attendance, participation, late work, etc. Here’s what we decided:
- Late work will result in a loss of 10% of the total points each day it’s late, with a maximum penalty of 50%
- Strive to participate in class
- Come to class whenever possible; make up missed work if you have to miss
- It’s obvious if you’re not paying attention, so pay attenion. Use technology responsibly.
Assignments and grades
You can find descriptions and instructions of all assignments on the assignments page.
|Weekly memos (7)||70|
|Final story portfolio||150|
Once you have read this entire syllabus and the assignments page, please click here and e-mail me a picture of a dinosaur. For real. Brownie points if you send a picture of a cat or dog dressed as a dinosaur. Triple chocolate brownie points if it’s animated.