Information Visualisation

Subject SINF20006 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Lectures and workshops.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2 x one hour lectures per week; 1 x two hour workshop per week.
Total Time Commitment: Estimated total time commitment of 120 hours
Prerequisites: 75 points of first year studies.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable steps will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the University’s programs. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their active and safe participation in a subject are encouraged to discuss this with the relevant subject coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Dr Jon Pearce


Subject Overview:

The visualisation of data and concepts is of great importance in science, serving both as a means of investigation and also a means of communicating to other scientists, business, government and the public. Students will learn the principles of visualisation design, and gain an understanding of the following topics: categories and concepts of data and their mapping to visual displays; the nature and purpose of different types of data plots, diagrams and other visual representations; the psychology of decision-making in relation to visualisation, including systematic distortions and manipulations of perception; and historic and contemporary uses of visualisation and its role in the creation and dissemination of new knowledge. Students will learn how to apply this knowledge to the design of effective visualisations for various audiences.


On completion of this subject students should:

  • understand and be able to apply principles of effective visualisation, including: data plots; theoretical models; and interactive displays;
  • appreciate the role of visualisations in the development and dissemination of arguments and knowledge, including the psychology of decision-making relevant to visualisation, and the role of visualisation in historic and contemporary science, business and governance.

Weekly participation during lectures and workshops throughout the semester (discussions and online submissions 20%).

Project 1: Group Report. The visual analysis of data sets expected to take about 14 hours (20%) due during the first part of the semester.

Project 2: Individual Report. A visualisation project expected to take about 22 hours (25%) due near the end of the semester. It will include an oral presentation.

Peer review: Aspects of students’ work will be reviewed by other students using an anonymous peer review process (5%).

Exam: 2-hour end-of-semester written examination (30%). A pass in the exam is a hurdle requirement for this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Spence, R."Information Visualization: A Design for Interaction." Pearson/Prentice Hall. 2nd Edition 2007

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • the ability to analyse and solve real-world problems with computers;
  • the ability to synthesise information and communicate results effectively;
  • the ability to work effectively as a member of a project team;
  • the capacity for critical and independent thought and reflection;
  • the ability to make an oral presentation.

This subject is available for science credit to students enrolled in the BSc (both pre-2008 and new degrees), BASc or a combined BSc course.

Students undertaking this subject will be expected to regularly access an internet-enabled computer.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Information Systems
Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Information Systems

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