Summer Spotlight Class: Data Visualization
We normally associate summer with winding down, "kicking back" and attempting to delay the passage of time. Yet, it can also act to fuel new discoveries, push the boundaries and explore a different direction that can expand your interest and imagination. Summer Sessions at Seton Hall offers classes that transcend mere academic requirements; they challenge, stimulate-and yes, educate in ways that are interesting and actually fun. And isn't fun what summer is really about?
Data Visualization (21952 - DAVA 3000-WB) is an online course taught by Manfred Minimair, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science that is one of many such classes where there is (much) more than meets the eye. Essentially, data visualization and analysis pertains to the methods by which practitioners can communicate clear and effective information through graphic depictions that stimulate and encourage viewer engagement.
In this class, students will learn how to use statistics and machine learning to analyze complex data to communicate insights in an attractive and vivid design format. As an online course, the material will consist of instructional videos (some of which are recorded by Minimair), online quizzes, interactive discussion boards and, of course, homework assignments.
Aside from Microsoft Excel, the other main software platform used will be Tableau. Tableau is a leading edge visualization product that makes databases and spreadsheets understandable to the ordinary person. It was created by an Academy Award-winning professor in partnership with a renowned computer scientist and is widely used in private industry as well as non-profit companies in the areas of government security, public health and marketing and finance, to name but a few. Familiarity and experience with the software is also highly attractive to hiring managers when seen on a resume. This is sounding more interesting, isn't it?
Perhaps what makes data visualization and analysis so attractive is how it intersects or "cross-pollinates" with so many other specializations, including computer science, psychology, public administration and many others. According to Minimair, the course will explore the psychology behind data visualizations by applying psychological principles of perception and cognition to create effective models and critique others currently in existence. He further explains that data visualization is simply an innovation in storytelling. When done well, it forms a narrative, allowing the viewer to follow a trajectory that leads to a conclusion in order to analyze data. Are we having fun yet?
"I think the most fun parts of the course are critiquing other visualizations, discussing with other students on the message boards and telling stories through data visualizations," states Minimair.
If you have read this far, you may well be a candidate for this intriguing (and fun) class. Register for it
Of course, Seton Hall's Summer Sessions offer numerous other options for just about any interest or pursuit. Science and mathematics focused individuals can partake in classes such as Intro to Biology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Forensic Biology (web-based), General Chemistry, Statistics for Science Majors, Physics, Astronomy, Finite Math with Calculus for Business, Real Estate Finance-or a favorite one credit course: Sabermetrics-the statistics of baseball.
If you have ever wondered how art and culture have affected society, consider Music in Civilization, Theater as Cultural Dialogue or Great American Speeches of Our Time. Learn about other cultures in China, Italy or track the archaeology, art, history and literature of a people known as the Vikings.
Faith-based courses can help one define The Search for Human Fulfillment, understand The Spirituality of Disability or begin their Introduction to the Catholic Vision.
Last, but certainly not least, there are those standard classes that can assist students in gaining an edge toward degree completion such as Principles of Marketing, Business Policy, Western Civilization, American History I & II or Special Topics in American Literature.
Whether driven by data, art, the written word, problem solving, service to others or self-improvement, the possibilities for personal and professional growth are yours to uncover this summer. We tend to lament how quickly the season is over before you know it. Best to make the most of it. Register today!
You can get started by visiting the Summer Sessions at Seton Hall website.