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Charts @ OU: State of Practice and Roadmap

Friday, July 22, 2011 - 10:30 to 14:30
Meeting Room 8, 1st Floor, Perry E Building

An interdisciplinary workshop

  • Do you use bar and line charts or other kinds of graphs and diagrams in your work, whether for teaching, research or public communication?
  • Would you like to showcase how you use them, what technologies you use, and learn other peoples’ experiences and ideas with charts and diagrams?
  • Would you like to help shape a project on how to use technology more effectively to produce more engaging charts?

If so, we would love to hear from you! 

eSTEeM is a joint initiative of the Science and MCT faculties to develop new approaches to STEM teaching and learning. Within eSTEeM, the iChart project will use modern technologies to develop a tool that allows the production of interactive and multimodal charts, graphs or diagrams. This will allow users to better understand and engage with the presented data and will make charts more accessible to disabled users. As a pilot, iChart will only focus on a few types of charts, preferably those used across a range of disciplines (not just STEM) and units throughout the OU. 

This workshop is the first activity of the iChart project. The workshop has two aims, on the one hand to survey what is the state of practice at the OU regarding charts and diagrams, on the other to make a ‘wishlist’ of features for the iChart tool. As such, the workshop will be divided in two parts, the first being a series of short presentations showing how charts are produced and used at the OU, the second being group work to brainstorm the requirements for improving the charts and the activities that use them. A report with the summary of the presentations and the outcomes of the groups’ work will be circulated first to all participants for feedback and corrections and then made available on the intranet. 

For the presentations, we would like participants to summarize in a few minutes what types of charts and diagrams they use and in which context (teaching, research, marketing, etc.), how the charts are produced (Excel, Flash, etc.), and what activities (if any, besides just data presentation) are done with the charts, e.g. if they support some learning outcomes, are part of TMAs, are used for scientific analysis, etc. 

Participants will then be put in groups to discuss how the charts used by the members of that group can be enhanced, e.g. through interactive manipulation, to better support learning outcomes, accessibility, communication, data understanding, etc. 

Each group will present their ideas to the others, and a final plenary discussion will try to assess which features are found most useful by most people and hence are candidates to be implemented for the iChart tool.

For more information and to indicate the topic of your presentation, please contact us:

Michel Wermelinger ( 
Paul Piwek (
Computing Department, MCT

Lunch will be provided. Please confirm your attendance and any special dietary requirements by emailing your details to Diane Ford at by 15th July 2011

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