Enrollment Request

Due to the design of the course I have to limit enrollment to 25 people. I prioritize enrollment based on seniority, affiliation, and background. So if you are a grad student / upperclassman, from MIT/Media Lab/CMS, and bring a unique skill among the student set, then you are more likely to obtain admission.

Fill in this short enrollment survey to let me know you are interested in enrolling and why.  I will get back to you before Thursday on whether you are in or not.

UPDATE: All emails have been sent.  email rahulb [at] mit [dot] edu if you didn’t get an email!

Course Description

We are swimming in data – “Big” and small, global and personal. And we are also facing complicated problems like Climate Change and inequality whose stories can only be told with data. The need for public understanding of data-driven issues is higher than ever before. But raw data doesn’t make a good story and that’s where you come in.

This class is focused on how to tell stories with data to create social change. We will learn through case studies, examples and hands-on experimentation with tools and technologies. We will teach basic methods for research, cleaning and analysis of datasets, but the focus in on creative methods of data presentation and storytelling. We will consider the emotional, aesthetic and practical effects of different presentation methods as well as how to develop metrics for assessing impact. For the final project, students will create a piece that tells a data-driven story.

The course is open to all technical levels and backgrounds. We will prioritize students with a strong background in one or more of the following areas: journalism, software development, data analysis, documentary, visual and performing arts.

This semester the course will have a special focus on Civic Data – using data for the public good. Most examples will use data related to this topic, homeworks will be related to it, and final projects must be connected to it as well.

We will meet Tuesday and Thursday from 3 to 4:30pm in MIT room 4-261.

Read the full syllabus for more info.


This is the shared class blog for the CMS.631 / CMS.831 Data Storytelling Studio course at MIT (Spring 2016).  Many of your homework assignments will require you to submit blog posts here.  Feel free to cross-post them to your own blog.  Much of the conversation about data, finding stories, creating presentations, and creating change happens online; you need to add your voice to that conversation if you plan to do this type of work.