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Visual Analytics

Graduate Certificate

The graduate certificate in visual analytics (VA) is an interdisciplinary graduate program consisting of technology and theory courses along with courses on applications of this new field from the Schools of Interactive Arts and Technology and Computing Science, from the Faculty of Business, Faculty of Education, and the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology.

The graduate certificate combines the four key aspects of visual analytics:  cognition, technology, society, and integration.  Integration is realized in a practical sense through completion of a substantial research project using visual analytics methods, typically the student’s thesis work or a separate significant research project.  This falls under the jurisdiction of the student’s department or school, and is thus outside of the scope of requirements for the VA Certificate.  Support for integration is provided by the VA Certificate program however, through facilitating participation of the Certificate Management Committee members on supervisory committees and through the Visual Analytics seminar series.

The program is offered at the Burnaby and Surrey campuses.

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Admission Requirements

Prospective students must apply to Simon Fraser University for admission and meet the normal admission requirements for a graduate degree prior to undertaking the VA Graduate Certificate Program. The VA Certificate program does not allow direct admission.

Certificate students must be enrolled and in good standing in a graduate degree program at SFU, and must graduate in order to receive the Certificate. Qualified students should submit their registration information to the VA Certificate Program Steering Committee as early as possible. Upon registration they will be classified as a VA Certificate Student and placed on the mailing list for announcements of VA events such as lectures and special courses.

Program Requirements

Students complete a total of five courses, including

IAT 856 - Visual Analytics Graduate Seminar (1)

Aims to be a presentation forum for the building of Visual Analytics (VA) community, for exposure to diversity of VA research work and method, for fostering understanding of VA disciplinary commonalities and differences. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisite: Registered graduate students from the School of Interactive Arts and Technology, or with permission of the instructor.

and four additional courses from at least two different Schools and must include at least one from each of the following three lists of courses

Cognitive Processes

Courses fulfilling this requirement must cover the cognitive processes that underlie analytic practice, grounded in the practical application of VA technologies to support human cognitive processes.

EDUC 892 - Cognitive Tools and Multimedia Learning (4)

Design principles for multimedia learning are derived from the theories and research of cognitive science. Topics include: tutorial interactions, history of adaptive learning systems, adapting to individual differences, dialogues with teachers (and other agents), problem solving and cognitive load, learning from multimedia, cognitive principles for document design, tools for self-regulated learning, intrinsic and situational motivation, simulations and self-regulated inquiry, inquiry with microworlds and cognitive tools, multimedia scenarios for anchored instruction.

IAT 812 - Cognition, Learning and Collaboration (3)

Addresses what it means to know something, how people gain and use knowledge and complex skills, how to determine what an individual knows, how humans learn, how humans solve complex problems, how knowledge is created within a social and group context, and how to model human capabilities and performance. It selects and studies theoretical perspectives that inform the design of computer-based mediated environments, products and experiences.

IAT 854 - Visually Enabled Reasoning (3)

Explores how interactive visual interfaces can help to shape human cognitive processes. It combines the study of visually-enabled reasoning as a cognitive science and the use of interactive visualization technologies such as IN-SPIRE, Starlight, and Jigsaw as well as conventional statistical and mathematical analysis tools that support human cognitive processes. Prerequisite: Registered graduate students from the School of Interactive Arts and Technology, or with permission of the instructor.

Visual Analytics Technology

Courses fulfilling this requirement examine the creation, selection, and customization of information systems in the student's discipline or area of interest. This includes data processing and modeling as well as interactive visualization.

BUS 709 - Managing Information (3)

An introduction to the theories and practices of managing information technology. Uses case studies to analyze complex situations and develop skills necessary to select, deploy and use information systems.

CMPT 721 - Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (3)

Knowledge representation is the area of Artificial Intelligence concerned with how knowledge can be represented symbolically and manipulated by reasoning programs. This course addresses problems dealing with the design of languages for representing knowledge, the formal interpretation of these languages and the design of computational mechanisms for making inferences. Since much of Artificial Intelligence requires the specification of a large body of domain-specific knowledge, this area lies at the core of AI. Prerequisite: CMPT 310/710 recommended. Cross-listed course with CMPT 411.

CMPT 767 - Visualization (3)

Advanced topics in the field of scientific and information visualization are presented. Topics may include: an introduction to visualization (importance, basic approaches and existing tools), abstract visualization concepts, human perception, visualization methodology, 2D and 3D display and interaction and their use in medical, scientific, and business applications. Prerequisite: CMPT 316, 461 or equivalent (by permission of instructor). Students with credit for CMPT 878 or 775 may not take this course for further credit.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Sheelagh Carpendale
Th 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
IAT 813 - Artificial Intelligence in Computational Art and Design (3)

Applications of computational intelligence to art and design are introduced through a set of motivating examples. Specific areas of application include knowledge representation, problem solving, rule based systems, ontologies and statistical reasoning.

IAT 814 - Visualization and Visual Analytics (3)

Provides a cognitive and computational framework for understanding and designing graphical and visual representations. Investigates several psychological and computational models of diagram processing, and explores diverse interactive graphical systems.

Social Systems

Courses fulfilling this requirement examine the impact of advanced visual analytic technology on individuals, organizations, and society in order to determine how it can best be designed and introduced to support social and collaborative processes.

BUS 621 - Information Technology and Organizational Transformation (4)

A seminar format will be used to discuss the concepts and frameworks essential to the effective management of information technology. Our focus will be on the strategic role that information systems play in organizations, their structure and components, and various perspectives on how to plan and manage this technology. Equivalent Courses: MBA621.

CMNS 815 - Social Construction of Communication Technologies (5)

A study of the social theory of information technologies, examining issues affecting computer-mediated communication.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Frederik Lesage
Mo 10:30 AM – 2:20 PM
EDUC 893 - Organizational and Social Aspects of Learning Technology Design (4)

Reviews constructive approaches to integrating learning technologies, provides analysis tools from cultural historical activity theory, reviews impact of organizational culture and draws on visualization of social activity networks. Organization and change strategies are examined in higher, school and workplace learning; providing a source for designing organizational learning technologies.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G001 Engida Gebre
Tu 4:30 PM – 8:20 PM

Course Lists

Other courses that achieve the same goals, e.g. special topics courses, can be proposed by departments or schools to the VA Certificate Committee.

Students may also petition for approval of a course by the committee. Upon approval by the committee the course will be added to the list of approved courses in the appropriate category. A maximum of two courses can be from the student’s home department.