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" their best, graphics are instruments for reasoning about quantitative information.  Often the most effective way to describe, explore, and summarize a set of numbers -- even a very large set -- is to look at pictures of those numbers."(Edward Tufte)

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Numbers count!

When you hear “data visualization” do you think paint-by-numbers? Or, do you worry that it will require years of your life to develop expertise in a complicated, specialized software program? Well, stop worrying and start seeing numbers! This faculty workshop is for those who would like to incorporate sophisticated data visualization projects into their classroom assignments using low-tech solutions. Students can learn advanced concepts through assignments that utilize familiar tools, such as Excel or free web sites, to produce graphs, charts and maps. We’ll talk about different ways to visualize data, the high tech and low tech options available, and when each is appropriate. You will also become familiar with the resources available at Carleton for finding, using and displaying data and talk about how to keep up to date with changes in technology and data.

Participants will walk away with an assignment that incorporates data visualization. Come with an idea of a class or assignment that you would like to work on in this workshop.


  1. Group meetings: Thursday and Friday mornings and Monday afternoon will consist of discussions and demonstrations. We will meet in the library from 8:30 – 12:30 with lunch served immediately thereafter. Monday we will meet at 12:00 for lunch and presentations of assignments.
  2. Independent work: The workshop leaders will set aside time outside the group meetings on Thursday and Friday afternoons and Monday morning to work one-on-one with you on your assignment.
  3. Stipend: Faculty participants will earn a $300 stipend drawn from a Mellon grant supporting information literacy.
  4. Sustenance: Breakfast treats, good coffee, and lunch are provided all three days as needed.

Workshop leaders:

Doug Foxgrover, Academic Computer Coordinator
Paula Lackie, Academic Computer Coordinator
Kristin Partlo, Liaison Librarian
Ann Zawistoski, Liaison Librarian.


William S. Cleveland
Graphical methods tend to show data sets as a whole, allowing us to summarize the general behavior and to study detail. This leads to much more thorough data analyses.

Edward Tufte
Graphical elegance is often found in simplicity of design and complexity of data.

John Tukey
Numerical quantities focus on expected values, graphical summaries on unexpected values.