Computation and Visualization Consortium

Precollege and Undergraduate Science Education Program Award to Macalester

Kelly R. MacGregor
Interim Program Director
Olin-Rice 114

The 3nd Computation and Visualization Consortium will take place July 13-17 at Smith College (Northampton, MA). Download workshop announcement

Application Deadline: We will begin reviewing applications and selecting participants on March 31, 2015.  Complete the application form in advance of this date for full consideration.Application form 

NOTE: A set of seats and travel scholarships are available for Faculty from non-CVC institutions. 

Macalester faculty and their counterparts at Calvin College, Gustavus Adolphus College, Grinnell College, Lawrence University, and Smith College comprise the consortium.

The consortium addresses the shared need to improve key computational skills, to promote connections among faculty with similar teaching and research interests, and to conceive, vet, and implement curricular materials (syllabi, instructional modules, assignments, and labs) that cultivate in students the skills to organize, filter, analyze, and display data sets of increasing size and complexity.

Workshop Audience and Topics

This gathering aims to engage science faculty who have an interest to better prepare science students to meet the challenges of formatting, analyzing, and visualizing increasingly complex and large data sets.

Based on outcomes from the first two CVC workshops, the most successful participants have either arrived with a specific topic of interest or have attended as part of a team of 2 or more faculty from the same institution, often with one of the members being someone with experience with statistics.  Preference will be given to applicants that fall into either of these groupings.

The first half of the workshop starts at noon on July 13.  This portion of the workshop aims to introduce faculty members to the open source software package, RStudio.  These days will serve as an introduction to using R for handling data and graphics and include

  • An introduction to the RStudio environment
  • A “Doing More with Less Cookbook” for R
  • Designing and creating sophisticated graphical data visualizations
  • Data wrangling: Manipulating data for graphics and insight
  • Preparing documents that include text, static and dynamic graphics, and analysis  

 The workshop concludes at noon on July 17. During the second half,  participants will dig in on their own projects -- the “work” part of the workshop.  Time will be spent:

  • Expanding elements of first half of workshop
  • Planning a case study
  • Development of case studies (individually or in small groups)

In order to support project development, participants will learn specific skills as needed.  

These may include

  • how to summarize data with models
  • how to construct plausible models and fit them
  • displaying models on graphics
  • error bars/bands and how to see inferential ideas on graphs
  • basic data scraping skills (how to get data from web sites)
  • working with online databases in R
  • more advanced data cleaning skills
  • additional programming skills
  • resampling and bootstrap methods

Lodging and Food:

Lodging will be provided at the historic Hotel Northampton in the heart of downtown Northampton.  The rooms are about a 10-minute walk from the Smith College Science Center, where the workshop sessions will be held.  Breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner will be provided.

 Arrival and Departure

The workshop will begin at noon on Monday, July 13, 2015 and end at noon on Friday, July 17, 2015.  Those flying to the workshop can book flights to the Bradley International airport.  The airport is approximately 35 minutes from campus by car.  Shuttle or taxi transportation will be arranged once the participant flight schedules are known. As agreed upon during the planning of the Computational and Visualization Consortium (CVC), each CVC participating institution will cover transportation costs.  A limited number of travel scholarships are available for non-CVC participants and can be requested through the online application form.

You can visit this website to see the schedule and resources developed for the 2013 (at Calvin Collage) and 2014 (at Macalester College) CVC workshops.

Institutional Representatives of the Computation and Visualization (CVC) Steering Committee

 Macalester College        Paul J. Overvoorde (Professor of Biology)

Calvin College               Randy Pruim (Professor of Math and Statistics)

Grinnell College              Leslie Gregg-Jolly (Professor of Biology)

Gustavus Adolphus      Jeff Dahlseid (Associate Professor of Biology and Chemistry)

Lawrence University      Beth DeStasio and Nancy Wall (Professors of Biology)

Smith College                 Ben Baumer (Visiting Assistant Professor of Statistical and Data Sciences)