Intermediate D3 for Data Visualization

Dates: October 26 to November 22, 2015

Instructors: Scott Murray

Update: Registration for this course closed on November 2, 2015, after reaching maximum capacity. We are considering offering it again in the future.


Welcome to “Intermediate D3 for Data Visualization,” a four-week online course with professor Scott Murray!

This is part of, the distance-learning program of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin. Our program offers MOOCs, massive online courses that are free, and other online courses, like this one that has a limited number of students and requires a registration fee.

Click here to see the full syllabus!


This course aims to build on basic D3 visualization skills by introducing additional technical complexity with stacked bar and area charts, and maps of geographic data.


At the end of the course, you will come away with knowledge about:

  • using loading transitions to draw attention to your chart
  • adding tooltips and framing your visualization in context
  • “stacking” data to create stacked bar and area charts
  • acquiring, parsing, and projecting geographic data
  • encoding data values on a geographic map, as with choropleth and dot maps

Who can enroll

This course is open to journalists, designers, developers working with data who have prior web experience and prior D3 / JavaScript experience.

Before taking this course, you should already be comfortable with the basics of working with D3, such as:

  • creating SVG elements in the DOM
  • binding data and modifying attributes based on data
  • using transitions
  • scales
  • axes
  • creating bar, line, and area charts

You will be well-prepared if you already completed Alberto Cairo and Scott Murray’s prior course, “Data Visualization and Infographics with D3.”


Scott Murray is a code artist who writes software to create data visualizations and other interactive phenomena. His work incorporates elements of interaction design, systems design, and generative art. Scott is an Assistant Professor of Design at the University of San Francisco, a contributor to Processing, and author of "Interactive Data Visualization for the Web: An Introduction to Designing with D3".  Scott earned an A.B. from Vassar College and an M.F.A. from the Dynamic Media Institute at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. His work can be seen at

How the course works

First of all, note that this is an asynchronous course.  That means there are no live events scheduled at specific times.  You can log in to the course and complete activities throughout the week at your own pace, at the times and on the days that are most convenient for you.

Despite its asynchronous nature, there are still structures in place for the duration of the course from October 26 to November 22, 2015.  The material is organized into four weekly modules.  Each module will be taught by Scott Murray and will cover a different topic through videos, presentations, readings and discussion forums.  There will be a quiz each week to test the knowledge you’ve gained through the course materials.  The weekly quizzes, and weekly participation in the discussion forums, are the basic requirements for earning a certificate of participation at the end of the course.

This course is very flexible, and if you are behind with the materials, you have the entire length of the course to complete them.  There are, however, suggested weekly deadlines for each module.

We recommend you note the deadlines listed in each week of the course.

  • Classes are opened on Monday.  The materials for that week’s module will be available on Monday.
  • Videos should be watched in the week they are assigned.
  • Readings should be completed in the week they are assigned.
  • Participation in the discussion forums should be completed after watching the videos and reading all of the week’s materials.  You choose one of the forums to participate in.
  • Quizzes should be completed at the end of each week, after watching the videos and reading the materials.  Weekly quizzes will be available until the last day of the course, November 22, in case you get behind with the modules.
  • Expect to commit about 5-7 hours per week on readings, assignments, and discussions in order to successfully complete this course.

Please add the email addresses and to your address book to ensure you receive emails about the course.

This is a limited enrollment course, and the Knight Center can only consider refund requests up to the end of the first week of the course. If you'd like to request a refund, please email with your name, order date, order number and reason for refund.