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Usability of Data Visualization Activity Worksheets in the Context of a Critical Data Visualization Workshop: Findings from a Usability Survey

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Cognitive Skills Development

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Vetria Byrd Ph.D. Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Vetria Byrd is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Graphics Technology in the Polytechnic Institute at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Dr. Byrd is the founder and organizer of the biennial Broadening Participation in Visualization (BPViz) Workshop. Dr. Byrd has given numerous invited talks on visualization and has been featured in HPC Wire online magazine (2014), and numerous workshops nationally and internationally. Dr. Byrd received her graduate and undergraduate degrees at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in Birmingham, Alabama which include: Ph.D. in Computer and Information Sciences, Master’s degrees in Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering and a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Dr. Byrd’s research interests include: data visualization, data visualization capacity building, high performance visualization, big data, and collaborative visualization. Dr. Byrd’s research utilizes data visualization as a catalyst for communication, as a conduit for collaboration, as a pathway to STEM and as a mechanism for broadening participation and inclusion.

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Kendall Roark Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Kendall Roark is an applied cultural anthropologist who engages in ethnographic fieldwork and anthrodesign projects in Canada and the United States. Her research and teaching interests focus on participatory and speculative design, queer and feminist technoscience studies, and data ethics. Dr. Roark is the co-founder and faculty lead for the Critical Data Studies Collective at Purdue University.

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Brent T. Ladd Purdue University

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Brent Ladd serves as Director of Education (and Interim Director of Diversity) for the Center for Science of Information NSF Science and Technology Center based at Purdue University. His education outreach activities and research focus on interdisciplinary collaboration among students and young scholars and evaluating learning outcomes for science-based training programs.

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This evidence-based practice paper presents outcomes on workshop participants’ perception of the usability of data visualization worksheets utilized in a critical data visualization workshop. Training students to think critically about data is a process that takes practice. Thinking critically about data requires understanding the data, its provenance and context, and the best way to represent insights contained in the data. A 5-day workshop on teaching critical and ethical approaches to data visualization was hosted by the Center for Science of Information at Purdue University in June 2019. The motivation for the workshop was to provide an introduction to data science through the lens of critical data visualization. In addition to instruction and hands-on data visualization and data manipulation exercises supported by activity worksheets, workshop participants were exposed to small group discussion and active-learning focused team science and data visualization ethics modules. This three-prong approach provides the context in which the data visualization activity worksheets were utilized.

This paper focuses solely upon the results of a usability survey of data visualization activity worksheets to introduce the data visualization process and reports students’ perception of the worksheets to introduce the data visualization process to novice users. Overall participant perception of the worksheet method was positive: 61% thought the method was easy to use, felt most people would learn to use the method quickly, felt confident using the worksheet method after using the worksheets for multiple visualization challenges and indicated they would like to use the method frequently when applying the data visualization process. This work is funded by The National Science Foundation (Award #CCF-0939370). Next steps involve integrating team science and data visualization ethics activities into future iterations of the data visualization activity sheets and usability survey.

Byrd, V., & Roark, K., & Ladd, B. T. (2020, June), Usability of Data Visualization Activity Worksheets in the Context of a Critical Data Visualization Workshop: Findings from a Usability Survey Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35438

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