Design principles for developing critique and academic argument in a blended-learning data visualisation course
This chapter from 'Learning Design Voices' explores the challenges experienced by second-year journalism students in developing academic argument in a data visualisation course. The course focused on representing arguments that drew on aspects of educational inequality in Cape Town. Data is increasingly produced and circulated visually; and the means to generate data visualisations are becoming increasingly accessible. It is thus important to develop critical tools to engage with these kinds of texts. The chapter describes the principles for learning design that were employed to improve the blended-learning course into one that better supported students’ development as critical designers and engaged citizens. Some of the principles included delimiting the scope of the task, encouraging the use of readily accessible design tools, introducing a process approach, developing meta-languages of critique, and acknowledging different audiences. The chapter ends by analysing the work of two students in light of these learning design principles. We discuss some of the gains and losses of moving from one digital format to another (PowerPoint to poster), the ways in which students adapt texts to different audiences and platforms, and the emergence of a meta-level critique of the data sources.