Course Title: Data Visualisation with R

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Data Visualisation with R

Credit Points: 12.00

Important Information:




Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


145H Mathematical & Geospatial Sciences


Sem 1 2016


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 1 2021,
Sem 1 2022,
Sem 1 2023,
Sem 2 2023,
Sem 1 2024

Course Coordinator: Dr. James Baglin

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6118

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Required Prior Study

You should have satisfactorily completed following course/s before you commence this course.



Alternatively, you may be able to demonstrate the required skills and knowledge before you start this course.

Contact your course coordinator if you think you may be eligible for recognition of prior learning.

Required Concurrent Study

You should undertake following course/s at the same time as this course as it contains areas of knowledge and skills which are implemented together in practice.

Alternatively, you may be able to demonstrate the required skills and knowledge before you start this course.

Contact your course coordinator if you think you may be eligible for recognition of prior learning.

Assumed Knowledge

Students are assumed to have knowledge of fundamental statistical concepts when participating in this course.

Course Description

Learn how to design intuitive, accessible and compelling data visualisations that communicate the story behind the data and address practical, real-world problems. During this course you will discover how to integrate interdisciplinary knowledge from the major fields that inform and shape data visualisation practice, including information visualisation, visual perception and psychology, statistics, computer science and art. By working through your own visualisations and studying the work of others, you will develop a design-driven approach to data visualisation. Specifically, you will learn to clearly articulate a targeted audience and design goal, source and prepare appropriate data, choose an appropriate design and bring your design to life using open source, web-based, interactive data visualisation technology. You will learn to identify and apply practical, evidence-based strategies that enhance effective data visualisation through a synthesis of the research literature and expert experience. Throughout the course, you will also learn how to critique data visualisations, navigate professional and ethical issues, apply methods of storytelling with data, and build apps, including dashboards. Major course assignments will require you to apply your learning to solve authentic problems. Formative module quizzes will be used to self-monitor and assess your knowledge gained throughout the course.

Please note that if you take this course for a bachelor honours program, your overall mark in this course will be one of the course marks that will be used to calculate the weighted average mark (WAM) that will determine your award level. (This applies to students who commence enrolment in a bachelor honours program from 1 January 2016 onwards. See the WAM information web page for more information.)

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for BP083P23 Bachelor of Science (Mathematics):

  • PLO 1 Apply a broad and coherent knowledge of mathematical and statistical theories, principles, concepts and practices with multi-disciplinary collaboration. 
  • PLO 2 Analyse and critically examine the validity of mathematical and statistical arguments and evidence using methods, technical skills, tools and computational technologies.
  • PLO 3 Formulate and model real world problems using principles of mathematical and statistical inquiry to inform evidence-based decision making.
  • PLO 4 Critically evaluate and communicate technical and non- technical mathematical and statistical knowledge to diverse audiences utilising a variety of formats employing culturally safe practices. 
  • PLO 5 Work ethically and independently, with integrity and accountability to develop professional agility for future careers. 

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for BP350 Bachelor of Science:

  • PLO 1 Apply a broad and coherent knowledge of scientific theories, principles, concepts and practice in one or more scientific disciplines.
  • PLO 2 Analyse and critically examine scientific evidence using methods, technical skills, tools and emerging technologies in a range of scientific activities.
  • PLO 3 Analyse and apply principles of scientific inquiry and critical evaluation to address real-world scientific challenges and inform evidence based decision making.
  • PLO 5 Work independently, with agility, safety, and accountability for own learning and professional future. 

On successful completion of this course you will achieve the following Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs):

  1. Identify your target audience and determine a data visualisation design goal;
  2. Use data visualisation and storytelling techniques, including verbal, written and interactive features to help engage your audience and leave a lasting impression;
  3. Reflect on the major professional, ethical and integrity-based issues that arise during the practice of data visualisation;
  4. Apply and integrate expert-informed best practice and research knowledge to enhance the effectiveness of your data visualisations and critique the work of others;
  5. Conceptualise multiple data visualisation designs and determine the most appropriate strategy to achieve your goal taking into account your audience and the nature of the data;
  6. Source, review and prepare data required for your data visualisation and program leading, web-based, open-source, interactive data visualisation technology to build, deploy and disseminate your data visualisations, including applications and dashboards.

Overview of Learning Activities

Course learning activities will be provided in a blended approach of both face-to-face and online activities. Students will develop their visualisation skills through practice exercises and assignments that require the development and application of their knowledge to practical and real-world data visualisation tasks.  

Students will stay in communication and actively participate in course discussions outside of class time through online communication tools.  

Authentic and industry-relevant learning is critical to this course and you will be encouraged to critically compare and contrast what is happening in your context and in industry, and to use your insights.   

Social learning is another important component and you are expected to participate in class and group activities, share drafts of work and resources and give and receive peer feedback. You will be expected to work efficiently and effectively with others to achieve outcomes greater than those that you might have achieved alone.   

Above all, the learning activities are designed to maximize the likelihood that you will not only understand the course learning resources but also apply that learning to improving your own practice, for example by producing real-world artefacts and engaging in scenarios and case studies.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through myRMIT Studies Course.

There are services available to support your learning through the University Library. The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help as well as a range of study support services. For further information, please visit the Library page on the RMIT University website and the myRMIT student portal.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment Tasks

Early Assessment Task:  Assignment 1
Data Visualisation Storytelling  
Weighting 30% 
This assessment task supports CLOs 1 & 2  

Assessment Task 2:  Assignment 2
Data Visualisation Critique  
Weighting 30% 
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 & 4

Assessment Task 3:  Assignment 3
Storytelling with Open Data 
Weighting 40% 
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 

If you have a long-term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or Equitable Learning Services if you would like to find out more.