|WRT 205: The Rhetoric of Data Visualization|
WRT 205-SPRING 2005 | Unit 2-The Rhetoric of Data Visualization
Each group will develop a single graphic to work from (though the graphic should attempt some degree of complexity). The visualization can be original or it can imitate one of many examples available online. Furthermore, your graphic may attempt a parody or spoof a particular data presentation, thereby introducing an ironic reading of the uses to which we might put infographics. You'll have lots of options to decide among; Barabasi also invites us to think about ways of visualizing social networks, so lots of possibilities rest there, as well. Here are a few examples of infographics available online.
Paul Nixon's Apple
Tipping Point for the Masses
Keep in mind that your infographic can be hand-rendered rather than crafted digitally. You will simply have to determine the best design options from among the capabilities of your group members.
What happens if a group member doesn't carry hir share of the workload? Within the first week of the unit, your group must devise a plan for such an improbable and unfortunate event. You have several options available to you, but I recommend deciding on a deadline (such as March 8 or March 10) at which point we will hold a conference to intercept any issues with the collaborative efforts. At that time, if we find that the workload isn't shared, individuals can then embark on their own projects--complete with their own infographic and essay. The conferences in early March are required for each group, but we can arrange other times to gather outside of class time if you think that would be helpful.
The essay that accompanies the infographic will be 5-7 pages typed and double-spaced. It will include a brief introduction to the infographic and it will account for the rhetorical or persuasive choices that went into devising the infographic. It may also account for problematic dimensions of the inforgraphic itself, detailings of what the graphic means, and an accounting of the method(s) you used to research the data you would work from. Guiding questions include: What is represented? How does the infographic improve, enhance or elucidate the information? What aspects of the infographic do you perceive to be most rhetorically compelling? Why? (We'll add to this list as the unit progresses.)
Note that you should spend time in your group determining responsibilities and deciding who will do what according to the strengths and proficiencies of individual members. Coordinating around specific tasks will ensure that everyone has a part to contribute and that the whole project can build toward coherence by March 24. Note that groups will also present their work in class on that day. Other details: Set margins to one inch and use a standard font such as Times New Roman 12 or Courier New 10; follow MLA style for all in-text citations and the works cited at the end of the essay.