STATS 787 : Data Visualisation


2021 Semester One (1213) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Effective visual presentations of data. Topics may include: how to present different types of data; human perception; graphics formats; statistical graphics in R; interactive graphics; visualising high-dimensional data; visualising large data.

Course Overview

STATS 787 is designed to provide students with the concepts and skills necessary to produce effective data visualisations.  The course will be heavily code-based, with a focus on R, so a familiarity with R and basic experience of writing computer code will be assumed.  This course will be useful to anyone who needs to present the results of a study or an analysis.  The content of this course will be relevant to almost every area of research and industry.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 15 points from STATS 220, 369, 380 and 15 points from BIOSCI 209, STATS 201, 207, 208, 707

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Master of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe, explain, and demonstrate the Grammar of Graphics (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  2. Describe, explain, and demonstrate the R graphics ecosystem (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  3. Describe, explain, and demonstrate the fundamentals of visual perception (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  4. Describe, explain, and demonstrate the fundamentals of graphic design (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  5. Describe, explain, and demonstrate concepts and technologies for dynamic and interactive graphics (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  6. Describe, explain, and demonstrate concepts and technologies for drawing maps (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  7. Describe, explain, and demonstrate concepts and technologies for drawing graphs and diagrams (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Laboratories 30% Individual Coursework
Test 20% Individual Test
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Final Exam
There is plussage on the Test; the final mark is the larger of (labs + test  + exam = 30 + 20 + 50) or (labs + exam = 30 + 70).
Students must pass the exam to pass the course.

Key Topics

The Grammar of Graphics
The R graphics ecosystem
Visual perception
Graphical design
Dynamic and interactive graphics
Graphs and diagrams

Special Requirements

The Term Test will take place in the evening.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 2 hours of reading and thinking about the course content, 4 hours of in-person labs,  and 4 hours of independent work on labs and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled labs for group discussions and to receive assistance with and feedback on coursework.
Labs will not be available as recordings.
Attendance on campus is required for the test and exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

This course is also available for remote students.

Learning Resources

All required reading and reference material will have an open licence (e.g., Creative Commons) and will be available for free online.
All required software tools will have an open source licence (e.g., GPL) and will be available for free online.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Level 1:  Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode
Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person.  All teaching and assessment will have a remote option. 
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 27/04/2021 12:51 p.m.