Faculty of Information Technology

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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Information Technology
OfferedNot offered in 2011


This unit presents a diverse range of existing techniques for presenting information visually including graphs, tables, charts, diagrams, maps, time series, animations, mechanical devices and interactive software visualisations in two and three dimensions. It details the underlying principles and motivations that govern the design and implementation of these techniques in different disciplines. The unit offers students an opportunity to critically assess visual displays produced by their peers and those produced by experts in a range of domains. It also provides an opportunity for students to build upon their knowledge in their home discipline by generating visual displays of direct relevance to their study in these areas. The unit provides a strong foundation upon which students can build when interpreting and devising visual displays of information in their future studies and careers. Some of the material relies on a basic knowledge of statistics (mean, standard deviation, median) and a basic knowledge of geometry.


At the completion of this unit students will have:

  • a familiarity with different approaches to presenting information visually as they have appeared throughout history and in different cultures;
  • an appreciation of the application of visual media to present information in a range of academic disciplines and in the public sphere;
  • a basic ability to select and apply appropriate types of visualisation and presentation;
  • an ability to devise new techniques for the visual presentation of information in a discipline with which they are familiar;
  • an ability to critically analyse visual information displays and data visualisations;
  • an understanding of the advantages, drawbacks and pitfalls of the visual presentation of information as compared to the presentation of ideas using other media;
  • an ability to engage in technical discussions on the merits of different visualisations and information displays.


Examination (2 hours): 60%; In-semester assessment: 40%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Alan Dorin

Contact hours

2 hrs lectures/wk, 2 hrs laboratories/wk


Completion of 24 points at first year.