Reflections on Designing and Running Visualization Design and Programming Activities in Courses with Many Students

Søren Knudsen, Mathilde Bech Bennetsen, Terese Kimmie Høj, Camilla Jensen, Rebecca Louise Nørskov Jørgensen, Christian Søe Loft

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


In this paper, we reflect on the educational challenges and research opportunities in running data visualization design activities in the context of large courses. With the increasing number and sizes of data visualization course, we need to better understand approaches to scaling our teaching efforts. We draw on experiences organizing and facilitating activities primarily based on one instance of a master’s course given to about 130 students. We provide a detailed account of the course with particular focus on the purpose, structure, and outcome of six two-hour design activities. Based on this, we reflect on three aspects of the course: First, how the course scale led us to thoroughly plan, evaluate, and revise communication between students, teaching assistants, and lecturers. Second, how we designed learning scaffolds through the design activities, and the reflections we received from students on this matter. Finally, we reflect on the diversity of the students that followed the course, the visualization exercises we used, the projects they worked on, and when to key in on simple boring problems and data sets. Thus, our paper contributes with discussions about balancing topical diversity, scaling courses to many students, and problem-based learning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2023 IEEE VIS Workshop on Visualization Education, Literacy, and Activities (EduVis)
Number of pages10
Publication date12 Dec 2023
ISBN (Print)979-8-3503-3031-1
ISBN (Electronic)979-8-3503-3030-4
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2023


  • Educational challenges
  • Data visualization
  • Large courses
  • Teaching scalability
  • Design activities


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