The Data Storytelling Studio

I’ve been radio silent for the last half year for two reasons.  Firstly, we had a new baby!  Secondly, I’ve been planning and am now teaching a semester long course at MIT for undergraduates and graduate students.  I’ve called this course the Data Storytelling Studio.  You can follow the course blog at  I’ll continue to blog here, but less frequently this semester.

I prefer not to share cute baby pictures online, but am happy to share pictures from the course!  I’ve sketched it out with my colleague Catherine D’Ignazio, assistant professor at Emerson college.  She is teaching a version tailored for journalists there, while I teach a diverse audience of MIT students (the course is offered by the Comparitive Media Studies / Writing program).  The course isn’t a programming or data science course; the focus is more on process, tools, and creative presentation.

I’ll be leading the students through an arc of five modules:

  1. Introduction – we begin by setting context and designing and painting a Data Mural together
  2. Finding and Analyzing Data
  3. Cleaning Data and Finding Stories
  4. Presenting Your Story
  5. Final Project

I’ve focused on the topic of food security for this semester, so most of the projects and assignments will focus on that.  In fact, our mural tells a story about Food For Free, a local organization that runs food rescue and other programming.  As you can see, we’re off to a great start!