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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

3D Data Visualization for Science Communication

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign via Coursera


This course is an introduction to 3D scientific data visualization, with an emphasis on science communication and cinematic design for appealing to broad audiences. You will develop visualization literacy, through being able to interpret/analyze (read) visualizations and create (write) your own visualizations.

By the end of this course, you will:
-Develop visualization literacy.
-Learn the practicality of working with spatial data.
-Understand what makes a scientific visualization meaningful.
-Learn how to create educational visualizations that maintain scientific accuracy.
-Understand what makes a scientific visualization cinematic.
-Learn how to create visualizations that appeal to broad audiences.
-Learn how to work with image-making software. (for those completing the Honors track)


  • Course Orientation
    • You will become familiar with the course, your classmates, and our learning environment.
  • Week 1: Introduction
    • Week 1 is an introduction to the field of data visualization, as well as related fields like computational science and computer graphics. You will learn about different types of data visualization, and visualization best practices.
  • Week 2: Data
    • Week 2 is all about data - how are spatial data represented in a computer? How is it formatted? Where can you find it, and how do you work with it?
  • Week 3: Meaningful Communication
    • Week 3 is all about the human side of things. How do people learn? How do we perceive visual information? What makes certain methods of communication and education more effective? How do you find a story in a dataset, and how do you tell that story clearly and concisely?
  • Week 4: Cinematic Presentation
    • Week 4 is about presenting your visualization in an engaging way to broad audiences with techniques like camera design, lighting, compositing, digital cosmetics, and other tricks from Hollywood. You’ll also learn how to package your visualization with sound, titles, and credits, and you’ll learn how to distribute it to various types of audiences.
  • Conclusion
    • Congratulations on reaching the end of the course!

Taught by

Kalina Borkiewicz and AJ Christensen


5.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

Start your review of 3D Data Visualization for Science Communication

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    A good course! The videos are fun and interesting. Different from the typical slide-style courses. The honors assignments require a lot of self-learning but otherwise it's very accessible.

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