Homework Week 4 (Due Feb 28)

This week you’re going to sketch out storyboards, update your pitches to reflect the work you’ve done with the data thus far, and dig into city graduation rate data. we won’t meet on Feb 28, but I’d like you to get this done by 9 AM Friday nonetheless.


Storyboards We all drew storyboards in class today. Storyboards (or wireframes) are just a sketch of your planned project. Don’t go crazy getting the presentation perfect. If I can see that you’re planning two bar charts organized by fruit and showing total sales in dollars, that’s great. But do sketch out your whole story: how many charts are you planning? Is one a map? (It doesn’t have to be.) Are you adding a photo? And then for each chart or map, zoom me in: what are the values? How are they encoded? Where will different elements be positioned in your project? How a user will navigate through the content. Check out Mark Luckie’s thoughts on sketching/storyboarding, from 10,000 Words, for more context.

When you sketch out your storyboard, you should also write a new post that updates your first pitch to reflect the progress of your reporting. The pitches that you turn in along with your storyboard should be fuller and more clear.

If you don’t have an easy way to post your storyboards to the class blog, just email them to me.

Note: this is not what is on the syllabus. We did a bit of pivoting in class today.


I’ve posted a HighCharts walkthrough and I encourage you to try your hand at making a second high chart following those instructions. The more you do this, the easier it gets. And remember: those JS Hint and Tidy Up buttons are your friends.

Download NYC’s Graduation Outcomes data from NYC Open Data. Use pivot tables, formulas and perhaps some filters to get to know the data.

Sketch out a series of graphs (or perhaps just one?) that illustrate graduation rate trends for Hispanics, Asains, Whites and Blacks in each borough in the years provided. To keep things simple, use “4 year June” numbers.

Pick one of those graphs that you sketched and reproduce it in HighCharts. Add a title that makes sense, label your axes intelligibly and post the URL for your JSFiddle to the comments on the post. If you get stuck, don’t hesitate to comment here: post a link to your JSFiddle and explain what the problem is.

+ Download the data from NYC Open Data as a CSV. Don’t use the Excel version. That’s almost always good advice. In this case it will save you from a headache or three for sure.
+ The “cohort categories” are cumulative. There were 638 Asian students in the Bronx 2001 cohort. 479 graduated within 4 years, 534 graduated within six. That means that 479 students walked in 2005, and another 55 finished in 2006 or 2007. Those 479 are included in the five year rate and in the six year rate. That means that if I take the sum of all graduates for a given demographic/year/borough group, I’m going to count a lot of people three or four times. Don’t do that. Either use a filter in your pivot table (No … we haven’t actually done that, but you can watch it happen in an awesome little movie if you want. ) or sort your data by “cohort category” and only pivot the data you are interested in.
+ Paste-Special is your friend. You’re going to have to do some math on the output of your pivot table. So copy the pivot table, open a new tab, and use Edit > Paste Special to paste the values.
+ We haven’t talked about transposing, but just for kicks, copy a block of data and use Edit > Paste Special with transpose checked — what did that do?
+ Once you’ve got a mess of tabs open, make sure you’re saving your document as XLS or ODS (for my LibreOffice folks) and not as a CSV

9 thoughts on “Homework Week 4 (Due Feb 28)”

  1. More than breakdowns by race, I found the disparities between the boroughs interesting–how despite overall improvement, Manhattan rates decline 2002-04, and the Bronx gets worse starting in 2006.


    It took me a good hour, but I did figure out how to make the markers disappear (yay!) I did completely blank on how to change the colors, though.

  2. I also did a line chart but I broke it down by ethnicity using averages compiled across the entire city.


    Here is a column chart with drill down that I couldn’t quite get to work. I wanted to layer all of the information on graduations in one place instead of having to break it up into different charts. I originally tried to reverse engineer the demo code by renaming the labels to match the new data and adding the column. And it broke. So I reloaded a fresh demo copy and uploaded the data again And that kinda worked. The data showed up on the fiddle but it was off the chart all piled up on the bottom. When I tried to add an extra layer it broke again. But i would really like to know how to make this thing work.

Comments are closed.