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Master’s Degree in Visual Tools to Empower Citizens

1st Edition

Syllabus

  • Data visualisation programming

    One of the key capabilities of this subject is knowing how to implement visual interfaces for data exploration or communication at scale. A variety of technologies are featured, aimed at data visualisation production. In addition to showing a wide range of emerging tools, we will work with the libraries, frameworks and programming languages that have become a standard for visualisation, such as d3.js, Vega, R and Python.

  • Statistical programming

    The course will provide students with practical knowledge of data analytics and statistical techniques: R and SQL; machine learning models and data mining techniques (data mining) for the creation of predictive systems, recommenders and classification systems. An overview of probability, discrete and continuous random variables, distributions, correlations, regression, and other statistical techniques will also be provided.

  • Cartography and visualisation

    A considerable amount of public data emanates from the geographies inherent to the administrative territory itself. This course introduces the many uses of mapping to explore and reveal spatial patterns. It will cover everything from map design to data management and representation, geostatistical techniques, and emerging web technologies that have revolutionised geographic information systems.

  • Data visualization design and creative technologies

    Data visualisation is a language, and like all languages it has precise code, but it also has flexibility for creativity. In this subject, we will study how to convert quantitative variables into visual attributes, graph grammar, composition, information aesthetics, interaction design and information design. It is a pencil and paper subject involving case study analysis and debate, designed to complement data visualisation programming.

  • Transparency, accountability, ethics, and democratic culture

    The focus will be on the impact of open data in today’s society. Professionals specialised in methodologies are needed in order to enhance transparency and hold administration bodies accountable. What ethical issues must be borne in mind in open data work in order to safeguard democracy? Students will carry out an in-depth ethical analysis of the data, as well as exploring good and bad practices related to misleading visualisations and algorithm biases, among other factors.

  • Open data engineering and systems architecture

    One of the necessary skills for creating scalable data exploration tools is how we store and process datasets. In this subject, we will address the foundations for building the architecture of traditional and modern data systems for big data. The basic concepts of cloud computing will also be discussed, with emphasis on solving specific needs for data analysis and science.

  • Workshops I, II and III

    Each workshop will consist of the elaboration of a project, carried out with one of the collaborating entities (public or private) of the Master’s Degree.

    All the workshops are independent, which means that a project cannot be started in Workshop I and be continued in Workshops II and III. The skills necessary to develop the projects must be complementary. Therefore, they will only have to fulfil one or two parts of the visualisation process.

    Starting with a brief introduction and a prototype, students will work online and in groups. In an intensive face-to-face session (hackathon mode), the final result of each project will be presented and evaluated.

  • Final project (TFM)

    The TFM must comply with the entire visualisation process: from the search and collection of data to database management, transformation, analysis, evaluation and visualisation.

    Due to its longer duration, the face-to-face part will consist of two intensive sessions (hackathons) in order to present and evaluate the completed work.

    An example of a TFM would be the following: ‘US-led airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq' report. The newspaper kept the database updated for a year. The software was written to detect new releases posted on the operations website of the United States Department of Defense, extracting the locations and dates of the bombings from the text of these reports. The software also alerted a group of reporters, who checked and approved the extracted data. Once the information was verified, the data was automatically passed to the dataset, which updated an interactive display of the extracted data.

Qualification

Master’s Degree in Visual Tools to Empower Citizens by the University of Girona*

* It does not include the issuance rate of the title.
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