Finding Places, Making Spaces

We’ve been researching the CUNY student experience for a while now, and have collected an enormous amount of data: interviews with students and faculty (subsequently transformed into transcripts and coded), student photographs and drawings, and geocoded map locations. And for years we have wanted to find some way to showcase the visual data, and especially the photographs taken by and drawings done by CUNY students in 2009-2011. If you’ve seen us present or looked through our slide decks you’ve seen some of these images. They are AMAZING, full of detail and nuance and movement and challenges and triumphs, and we are so grateful that students shared them with us during our research.

We are thrilled to share our new website, Finding Places, Making Spaces. This website presents selected visual data from our research with CUNY students in 2009-2011 at BMCC, Bronx Community College, Brooklyn College, City College, Hunter College, and City Tech. Students sketched maps of their daily routes, photographed items related to their academic lives, and drew representations of their research processes.

These visualizations augment our publications on this research, and provide an alternate way to learn about what we learned from CUNY students. We’ve included photographs that students took of places and technology, drawings that students made of their process when completing a research assignment, and timelines created with maps that students drew of the activities of a typical school day. All are accompanied by quotes from student interviews, to contextualize the images in students’ own words.

Please take a look at We’d love to hear what you think.

Data Visualization: A Student Timeline

As part of our study we’re creating an interactive online tool to accompany our book which uses dynamic timelines, mapping, and presentation software. While we’re still hard at work on the website, we wanted to share a preliminary example of data visualization of a student timeline. We used Timeline JS to create a timeline that features a typical school day for one of the Hunter College students that we interviewed, and includes the map she drew of her day. Take a look at the timeline and let us know what you think!

Making the Most of our Visual Data

We’re delighted to report that we’ve won a PSC-CUNY Research Award to enable us to create a companion website to our book. The website will allow us to display (and interact with) some of the rich visual data that students produced during our project, much of which would be difficult to represent in print.

We’re currently seeking a Data Visualization Assistant to work with us on this phase of the project. We have time logs, maps, photographs, and drawings from students, and we’d like to build an online space that will showcase the variety of workspaces and academic strategies that students shared with us. More information is available in the full job announcement here: