Back by popular demand after two successful editions, the Knight Center for
Journalism in the Americas’ first Massive Open Online Course (or MOOC), “Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization” with instructor Alberto Cairo, returned for a third run in early October. Registration is now closed.
The four-week course in English began on Oct. 6 and will conclude on Nov. 2. Just like all of the Knight Center’s MOOCs, the course will be available for free to anyone in the world with an internet connection.
“This will be the sixth massive online course we offer in less than a year,” said professor Rosental Alves, the founding director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. “We have already reached almost 17,000 people from more than two thirds of all countries in the world. It is amazing how much demand for journalism training exists out there. We are delighted to offer a new edition of this popular course that so many people have been asking us for.”
“Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization” will be taught again by Alberto Cairo, an internationally renowned expert in the field who developed an original syllabus for the course’s massive format.
The MOOC 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 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.
“Data visualization is a skill increasingly demanded by professionals from many areas. Journalists, designers, scientists, statisticians, business people and other professionals need to have some basic understanding of visualization to improve their messages. And the good news, even if you have never done an information graphic in your life, is that understanding how they work is quite easy. This is what this MOOC is about,” Cairo said.
Cairo is currently teaches at the University of Miami’s School of Communication and has taught several regular online courses on the Knight Center’s distance learning platform. Chapters of Cairo’s book, The Functional Art, are used in the course. He will also use his Twitter account @AlbertoCairo to complement class discussions.
Cairo’s “Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization” was the first course that the Knight Center offered through its MOOC program, which launched in October 2012 and quickly became a pioneer in massive journalism online education. As opposed to most MOOCs, which are just videos of regular college classes and reading materials, the Knight Center’s courses are created specifically for this massive format and seek to encourage the largest amount of student-to-student and instructor-to-students interactions as possible.
The first edition of “Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization” attracted more than 2,000 students and was so well received that the Knight Center offered a second, identical course last January. The course attracted more than 5,000 students in 133 countries, the Knight Center’s largest class to date.
Since then, the Knight Center has offered three other groundbreaking courses. On Monday Sep. 16, the MOOC “Data-Driven Journalism: The Basics” concluded after attracting 3,700 participants from 143 countries. The course was taught by five of the top experts in data journalism in the U.S. and represented the first time the Knight Center invited five instructors to teach a single course.
The course followed the Knight Center’s highly popular MOOC in Spanish, “Introduction to Data Journalism,” with instructor Sandra Crucianelli. The course concluded last month after attracting nearly 4,000 people from 62 different countries.
And prior to that, the Knight Center offered the MOOC “How to Improve Electoral Coverage,” which was taught in Spanish by acclaimed Colombian journalist María Teresa Ronderos and concluded on April 2013. The course had 1,772 participants from 45 countries.
Although “Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization” 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 the course requirements, such as quizzes and exercises. The certificates will be available for downloading as PDF documents. 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, who holds the Knight Chair in Journalism and the UNESCO Chair in Communication at the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism. Launched with major, multi-year grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Center also has received grants from Open Society Foundations and other donors. The Knight Center also has been sustained with support from the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Communication, modest foundation grants and the public.