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Monash University

FIT2079 Information graphics - Semester 2, 2013

This unit presents a diverse range of existing techniques for presenting information visually including graphs, tables, charts, diagrams, maps, time series, animations, mechanical devices and interactive software visualisations in two and three dimensions. It details the underlying principles and motivations that govern the design and implementation of these techniques in different disciplines. The unit offers students an opportunity to critically assess visual displays produced by their peers and those produced by experts in a range of domains. It also provides an opportunity for students to build upon their knowledge in their home discipline by generating visual displays of direct relevance to their study in these areas. The unit provides a strong foundation upon which students can build when interpreting and devising visual displays of information in their future studies and careers. Some of the material relies on a basic knowledge of statistics (mean, standard deviation, median) and a basic knowledge of geometry.

Mode of Delivery

Clayton (Day)

Contact Hours

2 hrs lectures/wk, 2 hrs laboratories/wk

Workload requirements

Students will be expected to spend a total of 12 hours per week during semester on this unit.

This consists of 4 hours a week in a studio-based teaching laboratory and up to an additional 8 hours for completing lab and project work, private study and revision.

Unit Relationships


Completion of 24 points at first year.

Chief Examiner

Campus Lecturer


Kim Marriott

Consultation hours: Friday 11-12 or by email appointment

Academic Overview

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of this unit students will have:
  • a familiarity with different approaches to presenting information visually as they have appeared throughout history and in different cultures;
  • an appreciation of the application of visual media to present information in a range of academic disciplines and in the public sphere;
  • a basic ability to select and apply appropriate types of visualisation and presentation;
  • an ability to devise new techniques for the visual presentation of information in a discipline with which they are familiar;
  • an ability to critically analyse visual information displays and data visualisations;
  • an understanding of the advantages, drawbacks and pitfalls of the visual presentation of information as compared to the presentation of ideas using other media;
  • an ability to engage in technical discussions on the merits of different visualisations and information displays.

Unit Schedule

Week Activities Assessment
0   No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0
1 Introduction, origins of info graphics Class room participation
2 Visualising the visible and the invisible Class room participation
3 Information visualisation and GIS Class room participation
4 Visual perception Negotiate information visualisation project domain
5 Designing effective information graphics Class room participation
6 Creating visualisations with R I 1st short presentation of project
7 Interactive visualisation on the web (D3) Class room participation
8 Creating visualisations with R II Class room participation
9 Creating visualisations with R III Class room participation
10 Scientific and engineering visualisation Class room participation
11 Business analytics 2nd short presentation for project
12 Accessible graphics, revision Project report due
  SWOT VAC No formal assessment is undertaken in SWOT VAC
  Examination period LINK to Assessment Policy: http://policy.monash.edu.au/policy-bank/

*Unit Schedule details will be maintained and communicated to you via your learning system.

Assessment Summary

Examination (2 hours): 60%; In-semester assessment: 40%

Assessment Task Value Due Date
Information Visualisation Project 30% (1st presentation 5%, design & implementation 10%, 2nd presentation 5%, report 10%) . 1st presentation Week 6; 2nd presentation Week 11; Report Week 12.
Classroom Contribution 10% In various weeks throughout the semester
Examination 1 60% To be advised

Teaching Approach

Studio teaching
Mostly the unit will employ hands-on learning where you interact with fellow students in a laboratory workroom.

There will also be some lecture style presentations to present basic material.

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Policy

Faculty Policy - Unit Assessment Hurdles (http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/staff/edgov/policies/assessment-examinations/unit-assessment-hurdles.html)

Academic Integrity - Please see the Demystifying Citing and Referencing tutorial at http://lib.monash.edu/tutorials/citing/

Assessment Tasks


Students will be expected to participate in discussions as part of their classroom contribution assessment.

  • Assessment task 1
    Information Visualisation Project
    In this assignment you are to design and implement an information visualization for a domain area of your choice. The domain area must be approved by the lecturer. The assignment has three main parts:
    1. Critically review the kinds of information graphics and visualisations currently being used in that and related domains and give a short 5-10 minute presentation to the class on the problem domain and current visualisations. 
    2. Design an information visualisation for the domain that you think is better than current approaches and implement this using either R or D3. Give a short 5-10 minute presentation to the class on your solution.
    3.  Write a research report of approximately 3000 words summarising your problem domain, critical review of current approaches and your solution arguing why it is an effective visualisation.
    30% (1st presentation 5%, design & implementation 10%, 2nd presentation 5%, report 10%) .
    Criteria for assessment:

    Students will be assessed on a number of criteria:

    • Comprehensiveness and quality of the critical review of related visualisations
    • Effective use of information visualisation principles to design their visualisation
    • Correctness and quality of their implementation
    • Quality of the written and oral presentations
    Due date:
    1st presentation Week 6; 2nd presentation Week 11; Report Week 12.
    The project application domain for each student will be decided in Week 4 based on the interests and background of the student and negotiation with the lecturer.
  • Assessment task 2
    Classroom Contribution
    Students will be expected to bring examples of information visualisations to the class and critically review them. They will also be expected to participate in classroom discussions.
    Criteria for assessment:

    Classroom contribution will be assessed on a number of criteria:

    • Application of Information Visualisation principles taught in the unit
    • Quality of the critical analysis conducted 
    • Responding to other students comments in a constructive manner 
    • Frequency of contribution
    Due date:
    In various weeks throughout the semester


  • Examination 1
    2 hours
    Type (open/closed book):
    Closed book
    Electronic devices allowed in the exam:

Learning resources

Monash Library Unit Reading List

Feedback to you

Types of feedback you can expect to receive in this unit are:
  • Informal feedback on progress in labs/tutes
  • Graded assignments with comments

Extensions and penalties

Returning assignments

Resubmission of assignments

Assignments cannot be submitted.

Assignment submission

It is a University requirement (http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/conduct/plagiarism-procedures.html) for students to submit an assignment coversheet for each assessment item. Faculty Assignment coversheets can be found at http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/forms/. Please check with your Lecturer on the submission method for your assignment coversheet (e.g. attach a file to the online assignment submission, hand-in a hard copy, or use an online quiz). Please note that it is your responsibility to retain copies of your assessments.

Online submission

If Electronic Submission has been approved for your unit, please submit your work via the learning system for this unit, which you can access via links in the my.monash portal.

Examination material or equipment

Please see unit website.

Other Information


Graduate Attributes Policy

Student services

Monash University Library

Disability Liaison Unit

Students who have a disability or medical condition are welcome to contact the Disability Liaison Unit to discuss academic support services. Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs) visit all Victorian campuses on a regular basis.

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