I’ve got a class that meets for only ONE weekend…

Did you know that the MPA program offers a few weekend-intensive courses?

They sure do! The weekend intensive courses are called immersion courses. They are intended to allow collaborative learning between our online and on-campus students. You spend a few weeks before your weekend meet date doing preliminary work online, which can include reading, quizzes, and assignments. Then, once your meet time rolls around, you get the opportunity to meet up with online and on-campus students from Thursday night, and Friday and Saturday all day! All of this earns your 1.5 credit hours…crazy cool, I know!

Honestly, I had never heard of this until I came to the MPA program! On a whim last year, I decided to sign up for my first ever immersion course. Last year’s course was on Collaboration and Collective Impact. This year’s course is on Data Visualization. The course title is “Communicating Data for Public Impact.” It will be taught by John Quinterno.


Here are the books that we are using for the course: Effective Data Visualization: The Right Chart for the Right Data by Stephanie Evergreen, Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic, and Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks by Jonathan Schwabish


According to Quinterno’s syllabus, ‚ÄúData Visualization has become the catch-all term used to describe the methods, techniques, and tools for organizing and disseminating the kinds of information common in public life in ways grounded in recent scientific insights.” He describes that this will be a skills-based crash course where we will cover how to develop clear messages, design effective visual representations of data, and create more effective oral presentations.

The books, so far, have been informative, light reads. I am excited to expand my skills base in an area that I know will only increase in demand. Plus, I will get to interact with the online MPA students that I don’t get to see very often. And one of the nights, we actually have a dinner/networking session with MPA Alum.

Needless to say, I am pretty excited about what I will learn in this course!

For a general overview of the MPA Immersion, click here.

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