Progress Update: The Data Visualization Community of Learning

Posted November 4th, 2020 at 6:25 pm.

The above image created with D3.js!

The D3.js community of learning is meeting weekly this semester on Zoom at Wednesdays from 12-1:30pm. If you are interested in receiving updates (whether or not you can attend meetings) and weekly reminders about our meetings, please sign up here.

First, you might be wondering what a community of learning is, or how a virtual CoL works. Acommunity of learning is like a study group or club with a focus on learning that isn’t lead by an instructor. I (Molly) “lead” the community of learning by simply being a bit ahead on the tutorials and organizing meetings. The benefit of this is that when one person gets stuck, everyone can work through the problem together and feel comfortable learning by doing. In a virtual setting, this means that we meet on Zoom, where we usually turn off our mics and cameras as we work through tutorials and jump back on Zoom occasionally to check up and discuss. By setting aside the time each week to work on tutorials as a group, we can all stay motivated and on track to meet goals that we want to meet, and learn a new skill.

So how and what are we learning? D3.js is a library of the JavaScript coding language. A library of code is created to provide shortcuts and building blocks to enable programmers to do more with less code. The D3.js library specifically was created to help people make visualizations of data that are interactive and dynamic. This could mean something like a real-time dashboard of statistics, or a graph that users can manipulate and explore, like a network map. To start, we are working through the LinkedIn tutorial on “D3.js Essential Training for Data Scientists“, which will introduce us to enough D3.js material to begin to plan and work on our own projects or make graphs and visuals for fun! First, we learned about the “what” and “why” of D3.js, and reviewed some HTML, CSS, and Javascript basic functions that we would need. We learned how to set up the documentation to create our own graphs, and began the tutorials with a walkthrough of how to code our own bar chart.

From there, we have been working through the tutorials weekly at our own pace during meeting times. There’s no pressure to be on the same page, and being behind means you’ll have plenty of resources to figure out problems! If you’re interested in joining us or following along remotely, register under the next meeting here to receive a Zoom link for the meeting, or add your name and email to the Google doc and I will add you to the weekly reminder and update list!

Questions? Email Molly at mkuchler@brynmawr.edu

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