Data rarely speaks for itself. Instructor
Dr. Andrew Heiss
773 TNRB
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
3:30–4:45 PM

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.

Course objectives

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:

Course materials

You’ll need to get these books—they’re definitely worth keeping for reference, too.

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.

There will also be several articles, websites, and videos that I will post on the readings pages for individual class sessions.

Course policies

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:

Assignments and grades

You can find descriptions and instructions of all assignments on the assignments page.


Assignment Points
Weekly memos (7) 70
Project 1 30
Project 2 30
Project 3 30
Final story portfolio 150
Final presentation 50


Grade Range
A 93–100%
A− 90–92%
B+ 87–89%
B 83–86%
B− 80–82%
C+ 77–79%
C 73–76%
C− 70–72%
D+ 67–69%
D 63–66%
D− 60–62%
F < 60%


Dancing dinosaurs

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.