BMI 5/625, Spring 2024

Principles & Practice of Data Visualization

Waves on rocks at sunset, Lovers Point, Pacific Grove, CA


This course will give students a foundation in the principles of data visualization, particularly as applied to scientific and technical data, as well as provide students with hands-on experience using modern software tools for developing visualizations. Lecture topics will include an overview of visual perception, color theory and practice, different types of graphs and their purposes, visualizations for specialized forms of data including time-series and geospatial data sets, strategies for working with multidimensional data, etc. There will also be lecture content on ethical issues surrounding data visualization. Weekly lab sessions will introduce students to popular data visualization tools such as R’s ggplot and Shiny, etc.

Textbooks & Resources

Course goals

By the end of the course, students will be:

Basic course structure

Mondays: Lecture

Wednesdays: Lab


When & Where?

Monday & Wednesday, 14:00-15:30, in CHH2 12110 (and occasionally via Webex)

Starts: April 1

Ends: June 14 (last class session; term officially ends the following week)


This term, class sessions and labs will generally be held in-person, with the exception of a few sessions which will be held virtually due to the instructor having some prior travel committments.

In past years, I have attempted to offer a synchronous remote option in the form of a Webex livestream. This has worked reasonably well-ish and has provided students with needed flexibility for things such as childcare constraints, etc. This should be considered a “best effort” situation, since it is unknown how well the new room we’re using this year will work. If you are joining us virtually on a given day, your active participation will still be expected, just as if you were joining in-person. And, if something goes awry, you will still be expected to cover the material (or complete the lab, etc.).


Instructor: Steven Bedrick

Office Location: Gaines Hall, 21

Office Hours: by appointment