Special Topics in Information Studies: Critical and Human-Centred Approaches to Information Visualization


INF2199H: Special Topics in Information: Critical and Human-Centred Approaches to Information Visualization (winter 2021, summer 2019)

This course (INF2199H — Special Topics in Information Studies: Critical and Human-Centred Approaches to Information Visualization) explores recent efforts to introduce critical, user-centred, interpretative, and humanistic methods to the field of information visualization (infovis). Through it, students will acquire the ability to use and understand a number of emerging infovis methods (e.g. 3D visualization), and will critically interrogate the application of infovis technologies in disparate research domains where they would not traditionally be encountered (e.g. the humanities). Various critical topics will be addressed, including the use of visualization to lie and mislead; the tension between truth and aesthetic concerns in data design; and the recent growth of visualization literacy initiatives. Additionally, a number of important Python-based visualization tools (e.g. Matplotlib, Plotly) will be introduced through case studies with real-world import, providing students with an opportunity to develop theoretical knowledge through applied work that will enhance their professional portfolios. This course is designed to appeal to students in the C&T, UXD, and HCDS concentrations, but is open to students from all concentrations.


INF2199H: Special Topics in Information Studies: Critical Approaches to Multiculturalism, Information, and Social Integration (winter 2020, fall 2018)

A reciprocal flow of information is critical for social integration in a society comprised of multicultural, multiethnic, and multilingual communities. This course critically examines theoretical and policy debates in multiculturalism and media studies with respect to social
integration. The course focuses on the role of media in production, distribution, and consumption of information, and the structural and organizational challenges and opportunities for facilitating a reciprocal flow of information for reciprocal social integration. Topics include the public sphere, cultural literacy, communication infrastructure, an intercultural media system, mainstream and diasporic media practices, and emerging models on digital platforms.

This course is a student-led seminar, structured around weekly group presentations and individual reflections on assigned readings, discussions, and papers. Throughout the course, students will read, write, and engage in critical discussion of the key concepts in multiculturalism, media, and social integration. Relevant statistical and audio-visual materials will be introduced to aid understanding.

Note: As of winter 2021, the course is a regular course.