Accessible Data Visualizations

Ansley Colclough

Data, Data Visualisation Week, Pedagogy, Tools

Are you reading this blog post from computer screen or an screen reader? Did you need to adjust the font or text size, screen brightness, or filter the interface through a browser extension or rely on an app like Accessibility to access this information? In her entry on “Access” in Keywords for Disability Studies, Bess Williamson notes that despite advances in accessibility rights due to technology, “technical change does not necessarily translate to the deeper goals of openness, inclusion, or opportunity”

Lesson Plan: Filter Bubbles

Shaherzad Ahmadi

Assignments, Lesson Plans, Social Media

We constantly consume media — whether television, internet, or radio. According to Pew, a whopping 62% of adults get their news from social media. This is troubling, considering the pervasive filter bubble; depending on our interests, social media and search engines filter their results to match our preferences. Hence the bubble. The Wall Street Journal has illustrated this phenomenon. Why does this matter? The media we consume can define almost every aspect of our lives — from who we associate

When Data Visualization Goes Wrong and Numbers Mislead

Ansley Colclough

Data, Data Visualization

Source image: The Most Misleading Charts of 2015 Fixed on Quartz To some students and readers, one of the rhetorical effects of data visualization is that the mere presence of a pie chart, graph, or timeline on a page confers “legitimacy” to an argument. At worse, this gesture attempts to obfuscate weak evidence. At best, the information conveyed may be correct but unnecessary to support an argument. In a piece for The New York Times, By the Numbers writer Charles M. Blow compared the

Lesson Plan: Visualizing Difference with Tableau Public

Mac Scott

Data, Lesson Plans, Pedagogy, Tools, Uncategorized

In his much referenced TED Talk, David McCandless says that “if you start working with [data] and playing with it in a certain way, interesting things can appear and different patterns can be revealed” (5:57-6:14). And Virginia Kuhn argues that there are “two main uses for information visualization: discovery and representation.” With this in mind, data visualization software can certainly be a productive tool for research and invention. We can begin to identify patterns in what might otherwise be a

Managing Attention in the Classroom with Distraction

Jake Cowan

Devices, Tools

Two of the more ubiquitous problems instructors face today are, on the one hand, the pervasive distraction of smartphones, and on the other hand, the inability to gauge a student’s comprehension of classroom material in the moment. Although the latter issue long precedes the emergence of the former, these are not unrelated difficulties. Both are questions of attention, whether won through a students’ interest in and engagement with a classroom discussion, or lost to a quickly silenced ring interrupting conversations and fingers

Lesson Plan: Using Siri to Teach the Ethics of Digital Labor

Andrew Heermans

Devices, Lesson Plans

The rapid rate by which technology replaces and outdates itself has been measured since 1965 by Moore’s Law, which dictates that the amount of transistors within a integrated circut (microchip) doubles approximately every two years. Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, has predicted that the viability of his projection will cease in 2025, and since 2012, there has been a consistent slowing down between circuit transistor “doublings”. However, according to research on the physical limits of computation, a predictive model based

Lesson Plan: Visualizing Sound by Captioning Nonspeech Sounds

Matt Breece

Data Visualisation Week, Lesson Plans, Multimodal Writing, Pedagogy

Although closed-captioning is usually thought of in terms of accessibility, it also highlights the larger rhetorical significance of sound—a significance which is most notably taken up in sound studies. The convergence of rhetoric with sound studies has become increasingly salient to rhetorical theory as noted in the review essay “Auscultating Again: Rhetoric and Sound Studies” from RSQ. Sound in the multimodal classroom has likewise become a relevant site for rhetorical instruction, invention, and exploration. Scholars like Cynthia Selfe, Erin Anderson,

Lesson Plan: Assessing Reliability and Trustworthiness with/in Blockchains

E.R. Emison

Data, Lesson Plans

Can you hear that? A certain high frequency hum which, until recently, was perceptible only to dogs, bats, and cryptography cognoscenti? It’s the mounting buzz over “blockchain”—an umbrella term referring to a number of shared ledger services that promise to revolutionize every aspect of social and political exchange, from financial transactions to medical data, voter registration to birth certificates. Due in large part to the way they address the twinned threats of system failure and malicious users which plague our

Lesson Plan: Teaching Research with Sam Barlow’s Her Story

Cole Wehrle

Lesson Plans, Pedagogy

Usually when video games appear in the college classroom, they are objects of analysis. We critique them as if they were a book or a movie. But, in teaching their content, we rob them of their pedagogic potency. Games facilitate play, and by offering teachers new and unfamiliar decision spaces, games can be used to support and expand how we teach writing and research. This lesson uses Sam Barlow‘s 2015 game, Her Story, to help students master the core skills

Machine as Organism: Technology, Biology, and Collective

Andrew Heermans

Data, Devices, History

      The constant increases in technological capacity, prevalence of automation and machine assistance, and the advancement of bio-tech, artificial intelligence, and medical technologies, expedite the tendency to view the issue of human subjectivity through a dichotomy of man/machine. This framing pre-inscribes a frictional relationship between man and machine, as if machines desire to, and are succeeding in closing the ontological gap between human beings and machines and/or artificial intelligences. The paradoxical novelty that wearable technology presents us (both