Adhish Adhikari Senior Project Proposal

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As a student I have realized that being able properly understand my personal academic data is very
important. From grades and transcripts to majors and courses, I need to be able to clearly acquire the information about my academic standing. We can take for example the data for a student’s degree progression. While a college degree has it’s hierarchy (a degree can be broken down into majors, minors and general requirements, majors can further be broken down into first year courses, major requirements and electives and so on), the course progression each semester is also chronological. Thus, I believe that the idea of using both treemaps and timeline data visualization for such data seems to be an idea worth exploring.

The Idea

Studying at Earlham College, it seems only natural that I’ll work with Earlham College’s degree progression data. As of right now, Earlham College provides information on academic standing (including, majors, grades, courses taken, etc) using a web based platform called Degreeworks. While Degreeworks does have all the relevant information, it lacks presentation. Thus, many students can’t really see the big picture. The interface is very traditional and major chunks are divided into lists. It’s difficult to imagine where you are in the road map to graduation by just staring at the list. A student can see that they have taken x credits out of 120 credits for their graduation requirement and y credits out of z requirement (for majors) credit. However, there is no relativity. These two things seem very disjointed even though they are deeply connected.

My goal for the senior project is therefore, to create a visual version of the Degreeworks which I call Degreeworks V2. By providing this visual interface for Earlham Degreeworks, I want to help Earlham College students to effectively visualize their academic standing. Like I discussed earlier, I will be using treemaps and timelines in order to visualize the data. Like I said, just being able to know how manycredits I have taken or how many are left does not give me a good sense of where I am. Neither does looking at a list of electives. If we can visualize this data, I think it would
hugely benefit the students as well as institution.


Like I discussed in my survey, D3 (short for Data driven documents) is one of the frameworks that provides processing capabilities . D3 is a domain-specific programming language that uses these algorithms to provide a library of classes and objects to create data visualizations including treemaps and timelines. D3 is a JavaScript based framework. However, if I go with the web-based option, I might need a little bit of php to connect to the database.

D3 does most of the rendering for us so the frontend work is limited to styling the visuals. I will useHTML for page content, CSS for aesthetics and SVG for vector graphics while a further JavaScript layer can be added for interactions.