Visualizing Departmental Reviews

Departments often have a high number of courses, however, which requires a very long final Excel spreadsheet that requires intensive study to understand. A list of courses, expectations, and coded entries can baffle the most experienced reviewer. As faculty members who have served as external reviewers can attest, such documents are often convoluted and their usefulness limited.

By implementing a visualization process, we were able to modify the format of the course responses and turn pages and pages of numbers into meaningful visual representations.

For example, one purpose of a review is to understand the types of assessments used in the department. By creating a spreadsheet with only two columns, one for course names and the other for assessment methods, we were able to create the following visual representation:

Assessment Bar Graph

The history department offered 109 courses in the 2011-2012 year. Instructors reported 14 different types of assessment methods. The figure and height of the bar shows the number of courses that used each type of assessment.