Principles & Practice of
Data Visualization

This course will give students a foundation in the principles and practice of data visualization, particularly as applied to scientific and technical data.

We will have weekly lectures, covering a wide variety of topics including human perception, color theory, principles of visual design, etc. We will also have weekly hands-on laboratory sessions in which students will have the opportunity to put the lecture material into practice. This year, we will be adding additional emphasis on larger issues of scientific communication— after all, that’s one of the main reasons we make visualizations!


This is a demo course website created for an RStudio Education webinar by Alison Hill and Desirée De Leon.

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Register See the slides

Last updated: 2020-03-31


We meet twice a week, alternating lectures on Mondays and labs on Wednesdays. Lab sessions will largely use the open-source R and ggplot2 tools.


Online, all the time


Mondays, 12:00 – 13:30


Wednesdays, 12:00 – 13:30



Introduce Yourself to R, RStudio, and Us!

Lab 01

Nathan’s Hot-Dog Eating Contest

Lab 02

MoMA Museum Tour

Lab 03

Colors with Animal Sounds

Lab 04

Tidy Data + Distributions

Lab 05

Fonts + Tables/Take a Sad Plot & Make it Better

Lab 06

Making slides and websites with R Markdown

Lab 07

Making a share-able site

Lab 11

One Dataset, Visualized 11 Ways

Lab 12



Assignments & Project

There will be regular homework assignments, typically as part of lab sessions. There will also be a final term project; more details about which will be forthcoming.


We will be drawing material from a wide variety of sources for this course; as such, there is no single, required text book per se. However, we will frequently refer to Nathan Yau’s Data Points, and highly recommend that anybody taking this class have a copy. Additionally, many lab sessions and some assignments will use exercises from Nathan Yau’s Visualize This. Tamara Munzer’s Visualization Analysis and Design is also incredibly useful.

Access Statement

Our program is committed to all students achieving their potential. If you have a disability or think you may have a disability (physical, learning, hearing, vision, psychological) which may need a reasonable accommodation please contact Student Access at (503) 494-0082 or e-mail to discuss your needs. You can also find more information at Because accommodations can take time to implement, it is important to have this discussion as soon as possible. All information regarding a student’s disability is kept in accordance with relevant state and federal laws.

Equity & Inclusion

Oregon Health & Science University is committed to creating and fostering a learning and working environment based on open communication and mutual respect. If you encounter sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual assault, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, age, national origin or ancestry, veteran or military status, sex, marital status, pregnancy or parenting status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or any other protected status please contact the Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Department at 503-494-5148 or Inquiries about Title IX compliance or sex/gender discrimination and harassment may be directed to the OHSU Title IX Coordinator at 503-494-0258 or



Alison Hill

Associate Professor


Jackie Wirz

Assistant Dean, Graduate Student Affairs, and Director, Career and Professional Development Center


Steven Bedrick

Associate Professor