Knight Center offers second massive online course, Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization - Journalism Courses by Knight Center
Alberto Cairo

November 21, 2012

Knight Center offers second massive online course, Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization

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This course took place from January to February 2013. It is now closed.


After the successful launch and high popularity of its first massive open online course (MOOC), the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas will offer in January 2013 the same course: “Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization,” with Alberto Cairo.

In just a few days, more that 1,200 people from around the world have already registered for the second MOOC before the official launch of the course, as the news about the opening spread fast on social media networks. Click here to register now for this six-week MOOC in English, which will start on Jan. 12, 2013 and end on Feb. 23.

The course is free and open to anyone from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. More information about the course and how to enroll in it can be found here. The course will be taught again by Alberto Cairo, an internationally renowned expert in the field who teaches at the University of Miami.

Although the MOOC was initially conceived with journalists and designers in mind, others are welcome as well and can benefit from the very practical skills that will be taught. Almost 1,000 people from dozens of countries enrolled in the course during a special period of registration the Knight Center offered last week to give preference to those who tried to enter the first MOOC and were not able because of technical limitations.

“With our first course we had to limit the number of participants to 2,000 due to server capacity, but for the second MOOC we are better prepared and will be able to accept more students,” said professor Rosental Alves, founder and director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. “The first MOOC has been a success so far. It has been amazing to see hundreds of people from all over the world learning so much and participating in the course activities.”

The first edition of “Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization” began on Oct. 28 and will conclude on Dec. 8. The course has more than 2,000 students from 109 countries, including the U.S., Spain, Brazil, United Kingdom, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia and South Africa.

“Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization” is the first course that the Knight Center has offered through its new MOOC platform. As opposed to the most common MOOCs, which are just videos of regular college classes and reading materials, the Knight Center’s pioneering MOOC has been built especially for this new, massive format.

Alberto Cairo developed an original syllabus to fit such a large class and is currently engaging in several fascinating discussions with hundreds of students from around the world. The course includes video lectures, tutorials, reading materials, exercises and quizzes. Forums are available for discussion topics related to each weekly module, and students are invited to upload their work, which will receive feedback from the instructor and their peers.

“When we started thinking about this course, we decided that we wanted to do something slightly different to the most well-known MOOCs,” said Alberto Cairo. ” In an average Massive Online Course, the instructor acts as an absent father figure who uploads lectures and reading materials and expects students to engage in conversations and mutual critiques with very little guidance. There is something like that in our MOOC, but the main difference is that I participate in the discussions every now and then, and I also give feedback on the exercises students complete. I am not able to review them all on a one-on-one basis, but I can select a sample of exercises and write about them, so all students can learn from their experiences.”

Alberto Cairo
Alberto Cairo

Cairo is a renowned expert in the field of infographics. He is currently a professor at the University of Miami’s School of Communication and has taught several regular online courses at the Knight Center’s distance learning platform. Chapters of Cairo’s new book, The Functional Art are used in the course. He also uses his Twitter account @AlbertoCairo to complement class discussions.

Cairo will focus on how to work with graphics to communicate and analyze data. Previous experience in information graphics and visualization is not needed to take this course. With the readings, video lectures and tutorials available, participants will acquire enough skills to start producing compelling, simple infographics almost immediately.

Participants can expect to spend 4-6 hours per week on the course. Although the course will be free, participants who want to receive a certificate will need to pay online a $30 administrative fee via credit card. The certificate will be issued only to students who actively participated in the course and who complied with most of the course requirements, such as quizzes and exercises. The certificates will be sent via email as a PDF document. No formal course credit of any kind is associated with the certificate.

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas was created in 2002 by Professor Rosental Alves at the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism thanks to a generous donation from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which has been supporting it continually. The Center also receives major contributions from the Open Society Foundations and The University of Texas at Austin. The Center’s main goal is to help journalists in Latin American and the Caribbean to improve the quality of journalism in their countries. For more information about the Knight Center’s MOOC and how it works, see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).