ischool logoINFO 424 Autumn, 2012:
Course Syllabus (schedule)



I am the instructor - Marilyn Ostergren. I am in my final quarter as a PhD student at the Information School. Information Visualization is the focus of my work.

In this class, you will immerse yourself in the challenge of turning information into images.
You’ll walk away with the ability to recognize opportunities for conveying information visually, technical skills for producing visualizations (primarily using Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Flash with some JavaScript), and knowledge of visualization and design principles to make those visualizations attractive and effective.

To be successful in this class you'll need a basic understanding of programming concepts and plenty of time to spend in the computer lab or at your home computer (if you have access to the necessary software).

Meeting times/locations

This is a hands-on course. Most of your time will be spent working through exercises during the Tuesday/Thursday labs and on your own time (see the schedule page to know which exercise to work on). Fridays we'll discuss what we're learning and work on our group project.


3:30-5:20 MGH 430

3:30-5:20 MGH 430

1:30-2:20 MGH 430

Getting help, asking questions

My goal is to help you learn (in my opinion, the best outcome would be that you all learn so much I can give you all 4.0s). I encourage your feedback and questions. I'll be available at every lab session and will also be happy to talk with you individually outside of class if you would prefer that. Here is my contact information:

email: (I'll respond within 24 hours and generally much sooner)

office hours: Fridays 2:30-3:30, MGH 330K (or by appointment)

Also feel free to contact our TA, Jolie Chen with questions. Her email address is:


grading pie



40% of grade

Full credit for labs submitted by the end of the following lab period

75% credit for labs submitted after the due date, but before the end of the quarter


25% of grade

There will be 3 Flash quizzes during the quarter (preceded by 1 ungraded Flash quiz which will give you an opportunity to see what to expect). These will be grade full credit or partial credit. The last quiz will be weighted more heavily than the first 2 (10% for the last quiz, 5% each for the first 2).


25% of grade

There will be 1 ungraded take-home exam and 2 graded exams. These will be opportunities to demonstrate how well you understand and can apply principles to make a presentation effective. These will be assigned a numeric grade.


10% of grade

The class will work together to produce a functional product. This will be a chance to learn about the process of creating an effective design and to learn from each other. Your grade will depend upon your level of involvement and engagement.

University Policies

Here are all of those important things that must be included in every syllabus:

Students with Disabilities
To request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disabled Student Services: 448 Schmitz, 206-543-8924 (V/TTY). If you have a letter from DSS indicating that you have a disability which requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to me so we can discuss the accommodations you might need in the class.   

Academic accommodations due to disability will not be made unless the student has a letter from DSS specifying the type and nature of accommodations needed.

Grading criteria:
General grading information for the University of Washington is available at:

Academic conduct:
The following paragraphs discussing matters governing academic conduct in the iSchool and the University of Washington.

Academic Integrity:
The essence of academic life revolves around respect not only for the ideas of others, but also their rights to those ideas and their promulgation. It is therefore essential that all of us engaged in the life of the mind take the utmost care that the ideas and expressions of ideas of other people always be appropriately handled, and, where necessary, cited.  For writing assignments, when ideas or materials of others are used, they must be cited. The format is not that important–as long as the source material can be located and the citation verified, it’s OK. What is important is that the material be cited.  In any situation, if you have a question, please feel free to ask.  Such attention to ideas and acknowledgment of their sources is central not only to academic life, but life in general.

Please acquaint yourself with the University of Washington's resources on academic honesty (

All of the expressions of ideas in this class that are fixed in any tangible medium such as digital and physical documents are protected by copyright law as embodied in title 17 of the United States Code. These expressions include the work product of both: (1) your student colleagues (e.g., any assignments published here in the course environment or statements committed to text in a discussion forum); and, (2) your instructors (e.g., the syllabus, assignments, reading lists, and lectures).  Within the constraints of "fair use", you may copy these copyrighted expressions for your personal intellectual use in support of your education here in the iSchool.  Such fair use by you does not include further distribution by any means of copying, performance or presentation beyond the circle of your close acquaintances, student colleagues in this class and your family. If you have any questions regarding whether a use to which you wish to put one of these expressions violates the creator's copyright interests, please feel free to ask the instructor for guidance.

To support an academic environment of rigorous discussion and open expression of personal thoughts and feelings, we, as members of the academic community, must be committed to the inviolate right of privacy of our student and instructor colleagues.  As a result, we must forego sharing personally identifiable information about any member of our community including information about the ideas they express, their families, life styles and their political and social affiliations.  If you have any questions regarding whether a disclosure you wish to make regarding anyone in this course or in the iSchool community violates that person's privacy interests, please feel free to ask the instructor for guidance.

Knowing violations of these principles of academic conduct, privacy or copyright may result in University disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct.

Student Code of Conduct:

Good student conduct is important for maintaining a healthy course environment.  Please familiarize yourself with the University of Washington's Student Code of Conduct at: