Data Visualization

This course is part of the UBC Key Capabilities in Data Science Certificate Program.

Understand effective data visualizations and perform exploratory data analysis using Altair in Python.

By the end of the course, you’ll be able to:

  • use the Altair grammar of graphics to create data visualizations
  • select an appropriate visualization for the data
  • perform exploratory data analysis on a dataset
  • effectively communicate findings with figures
  • interpret data visualizations to answer questions and formulate follow-up questions.

Course Outline

Week 1 and Week 2

  • Module 1: Why Visualize Data
  • Module 2: Visual Encoding Channels
  • Module 3: Visualizing Distributions

Week 3 and Week 4

  • Module 4: Visualizing Distributions and Exploratory Data Analysis
  • Module 5: Designing Plots for Communication

Week 5

  • Quiz 1
  • Final Project

Week 6 and Week 7

  • Module 6: Narrative, Figure Composition and Geographical Visualizations
  • Module 7: Interactive Visualizations

Week 8

  • Quiz 2
  • Final Project

How am I Assessed?

Each course module includes an auto-graded assignment. In weeks 5 and 8, you take an online 45-minute open-book quiz that covers materials from modules 1–4 and 5–7 respectively. In Week 8, you complete a final project using the skills you learned in the course. You must obtain an overall grade of 70% or higher, and complete the final project, to pass the course.

Expected Effort

Expect to spend 8–12 hours per week to complete weekly modules, auto-graded quizzes, open-book quizzes and the final project.

Technology Requirements

To take this course, and for the best experience, we recommend you have access to: 

  • an email account
  • a computer, laptop or tablet
  • the latest version of a web browser (or previous major version release)
  • a reliable internet connection.

For virtual office hours, you’ll also need: 

  • a video camera and microphone. 

One day before the start of your course, we’ll email you step-by-step instructions for accessing your course. 


There are no textbooks for this course.


Programming in Python for Data Science (FS011)

Course Format

This course is 100% online and facilitator supported with weekly facilitator office hours. Course work is done independently and at your own pace within deadlines set by your facilitator. Log in anytime to your course to access the modules.

Course Virtual Office Hours (subject to change)
Thursdays, 6:30-7:30pm Pacific Time
Saturdays, 10-11am Pacific Time

Join your facilitator and classmates by video conferencing to discuss course materials and assignments, receive feedback and ask questions.

Available Sessions

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