Visual Communication

I met Stephen Thomas of MSU today to talk about his interest in using Processing to develop visualizations for teaching (specifically, for MOOCs). He talked about how teaching with an accurate illustration/visualization can reach ~50% of students. On the other hand, teaching with a simplified or cartoon version of an illustration can reach ~80% of students, but about 5% of the students leave with misconceptions about the material. Which is better? We both guess that the scientists prefer the former, while educators prefer the latter.

Talking with him has me thinking about algorithm and software visualization. In particular,  I want to show him JHAVE, Alice, and Greenfoot. I’m curious to see his thoughts on them as learning/teaching tools.

He also has me thinking about Juha Sorva’s dissertation and its (very intentional and effective) use of images. I’m wondering what sorts of images I should be thinking about using in CSE 231 and CSE 491. I bet some simplified cartoon images would especially come in handy with respect to client-server interactions. Images from Sorva’s thesis are included below.



Explaining how computer science education research fits into different fields



An interesting, familiar, and accessible table of contents



An engaging, alternative, game-ified way for non-computer-scientists to interact with his research



Cognitive load theory explained in a single image


Another topic we discussed was the idea of visual blogging. I definitely think he should do it. As a matter of a fact, I’m even going to try my hand at communicating my ideas via sketch/digital image in a journal style and see where it takes me. I don’t have the natural talent for hand-drawn cartoons, however, so I hope Stephen actually does start visual/comic blogging.


One thought on “Visual Communication

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s