Actual Factual

Class Description

Contemporary interaction designers and artists often manipulate scientific, historical, commercial and social information. Literacy in design, art or engineering requires a complement of literacy in data. This class will make a powerful addition to your existing skill set of programming, visual design and electronics. Students will become conversant in the tools and methods for correctly collecting information and evaluating it to uncover truths about the world. In this class we learn about the “lies, damn lies and statistics” that we encounter daily. Basic training is provided in a variety of methods for interpretation and manipulation of data, yet no math beyond some simple arithmetic is required for completing this course. Exercises include various methods for gathering data, employing information to answer questions, building physical models and using some very accessible computer tools. Short projects teach how to uncover empirical data, what it looks like and what it means. Students will learn how to effectively and ethically extract information from the world, revealing the insightful stories that data have to tell.


Students will develop their data literacy and increase their empirical skills. They will gain a deeper understanding of how collections of information are properly created, examined, manipulated and presented. Assigned projects will explore data gathering, comprehension, exploratory analysis, parameters, probability, signal processing, prediction, confirmation and ethics. The class is carefully structured to support your other production classes. There are a variety of weekly assignments but no final project or paper, allowing you time to apply your newfound skills.


Syllabus (updated throughout the semester)


Materials for exercises, etc.

Student Work

Student work documentation (to be posted by students as the class progresses)


Lecture slides are generally posted after class


Certain readings for class will be available online