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Introduction to Computer Visualization CCT 370

Communication, Culture and Information Technology
Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
University of Toronto at Mississauga

Calendar Description

Communication has undergone a radical shift through the development of visualization techniques based on computer technology. This course explores the ways in which computer visualization, as it has come to be called, enhances and shapes messages in diverse areas through symbolical and representational means including graphing, animation, and special effects.

Special emphasis will be placed on Locative Media, Concept Mapping, Information Architecture and Immersive Environments. The students will explore and review uses of these techniques in areas such as education, entertainment, science, technology, management and health sciences. Guest lectures by professional and academic experts will inform class understanding of applied practices concerning computer visualization.

Prerequisite: CCT260H or permission from the instructor


David Gelb
Michael Jones

Time and Place

Thursday 13:00-15:00
Sheridan J102

Thursday 16:00, 17:00, 18:00, 19:00
Sheridan J316

Text and Readings

Benyon, D., Turner, P. & Turner, S. (2005). Designing Interactive Systems: People, Activities, Context and Technologies. Harlow, UK: Pearson Educational

Other readings will be available online and some will require access to the U of T’s library and e-resource databases. It is expected that students have familiarity with searching and retrieving online articles using their U of T library account.

Course Assignments

Demonstrating awareness and ability in understanding computer visualization concepts, students will be evaluated through the following assignments. More specific instructions for each assignment will be provided during labs and lectures. 

A1 Locative Narrative

Due Feb1
Using GIS technologies and supportive media tools, students will develop a locative narrative using Google Earth. Details and instructional support will begin in Week 2.

A2 Concept Map

Due Mar1
Students will work in small teams (2-3) and develop a concept map to research, structure and visualize complex information topics. Assignment details, groupings and topics will be addressed in the Week 5.

A3 Wiki Community Building

Final date for edits: Apr 6 (ongoing participation/content building required)
This course will be hosted in Wikispaces for class collaboration in defining issues and directions relevant to this course. On-going success of the wiki as a learning resource requires thoughtful and frequent input from the class. Community building may include (but not limited to) organizing wiki pages, peer feedback, annotated examples, building resources such as glossaries, faqs, graphics, technical guides, etc.

A4 Information Space

Due Mar29
The final deliverable is a team project extending from the research and structure formulated in the Concept Map. Details will be discussed in class and posted on wiki.

Final Test

Due April 5
A final test will be conducted during the last class of the term. This evaluation will focus on key concepts and course material covered throughout the entire term.

Important Policy Notes

Students should familiarize themselves with Senate Policy described in the UTMCalendar:

Academic Honesty

Students are expected to be informed about plagiarism and familiar with the Faculty Rules and Regulations, Code of Behavior on Academic Matters and
Code of Student Conduct (see UTM 2005-2006 Calendar), which state your rights, your duties and provide all the details on grading regulations.

Academic honesty is a serious matter and will be treated accordingly. The UTM calendar summarizes UTM policy on p. 25. Violations of academic honesty include:

  • Using unauthorized aids on a test (e.g., “cheat sheets”)
  • Looking at someone else’s answers on a test
  • Plagiarism (representing or submitting someone else’s words or work as your own)
  • Making up sources or facts for an essay or report
  • Falsifying official documents or grades
  • Submitting the same essay or report in more than one course without permission
  • Impersonating another person at an exam or test, or having someone impersonate you

How Not to Plagiarize by Margaret Procter is an excellent primer on what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it. You are responsible for creating
material that conforms to this level of citation, and thus are strongly encouraged to read it. Ignorance of these basic fundamentals is no excuse.

Access to Learning

The University accommodates students with disabilities who have registered with the AccessAbility Resource Centre and Sheridan College’s Disability Services centre. Please let me know in advance, preferably in the first week of class, if you will require any accommodation on these grounds. (2006-07 UTM Calendar Section 6.2 AccessAbility Resource Centre)."

Professional Etiquette

This course encourages lively constructive debate around topics that can be of a sensitive and controversial manner. Students are expected to treat their
colleagues in a respectful manner in all class, lab and online discussions. We will discuss particulars of what this means in the first class and create a mutually binding code of ethics and etiquette. If you feel that someone is acting in violation of these principles, you are encouraged to first attempt to resolve the issue directly. Should this not be successful and/or you feel that you cannot faithfully do so, bring your concerns to the instructors at the soonest possible opportunity.

Due Dates and Lateness

For both individual and group assignments, you must submit assignments on the specified due dates. Make sure you are aware of due dates.

Computer glitches are not valid excuses for a late assignment – make sure you back up your work and save it to multiple locations (e.g., USB keychain drives, floppy disks, email copies to yourself and others, etc.)

You may submit late work the following day before 4 p.m., but the assignment will receive a 20% late penalty in fairness to those who have completed their work on time.

Work submitted later than the following day with no explanation will not be accepted unless accompanied by a valid University of Toronto Medical Certificate The certificate is available at:

The student must provide official medical evidence proving that events beyond his/her control prevented the submission of the assignment on the given due date. There is no penalty, and the late work is accepted until the length of time the evidence warrants. Please contact your instructor at the earliest opportunity should you find yourself in this situation.

Students who miss a term test will be assigned a mark of zero for that test unless they can document a compelling reason for missing it. Students in that position must submit a written request within one week of the missed test to your instructor with appropriate medical documentation. If the request is accepted, a different make-up will be scheduled or the weighting of other term work will be increased by the amount of the missed test.