Professor Cindy Royal

I’ve been at Texas State for 11 years. I lead our digital media efforts, which include the new Digital Media Innovation major, the graduate Digital Media concentration and the Media Innovation Lab. I live in Austin, love live music and creating things with technology. You can learn more about me at Best way to reach me is by email

Office hours: We’ll be spending lots of time together during this session. On most days, I will try to review material for half the time and allow for lab time the other half. I will be available before class from 1-2pm.

Required Textbook
No required textbook for purchase. There will be online readings and handouts, including:

Data Journalism Handbook –

These books are optional and might be a good resource for the future:

Course Description
Computer programming has emerged as a relevant form of storytelling. Data-driven interactive Web and mobile projects allow users to interact with and customize story presentations, using tools like charts, quizzes, calculators and maps. In this course, students will be introduced to programming and data concepts relevant to communicators. Students will explore current projects that demonstrate interactive characteristics and become familiar with the major organizations responsible for developing them. Students will work with Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Cascading Stylesheets (CSS) and JavaScript in creating Web experiences. They will learn to work with the Python language for accessing data via application programming interfaces (APIs). This immersive session will culminate with assembling these skills into a comprehensive, interactive story.

The purpose of this course is to introduce Web design and development techniques in a communications context. In addition to gaining production skills, students will learn about features of the digital communication environment and develop an appreciation for the future of communication technology.

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • understand  HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python and other Web design technologies
  • create Web sites that are functional and well designed
  • understand of the basics of computer programming
  • work with and present data relevant to storytelling

Assignments and Learning Outcomes
The course website will provide details for each assignment.

  • Slack Posts, other assignments, exercises 20%
  • Projects (3) 30%; 3 projects will progressively demonstrate students comprehension of programming and data techniques.
  • Quizzes (3) 15%; short quizzes on skills and concepts we have covered.
  • Final Project 25%; a comprehensive application that will demonstrate students’ ability to combine programming techniques.
  • Attendance/Participation 10%

Teaching Methods

This class uses a variety of teaching methods to accommodate various learning styles. Lecture is but one method in which students will be introduced to course concepts. Students are expected to participate in discussions, providing topics that are of interest to them. The instructor will cover skills session in class as a group, and students will practice skills both in and out of class in order to complete projects. Some instruction may be delivered online. The course web site provides a variety of resources for reinforcement of learning, including online instruction and video tutorials. Students will also participate in online discussions that will further provide an opportunity to communicate and contribute.

Late Assignments and Attendance
We’ve got a little more than 4 weeks together, so time is limited. And we’ll be moving quickly, so you will not want to fall behind. Missed assignments will receive a grade of F.

Attendance is required in this course. You may have one absence during the 4 1/2 weeks. There are no excused absences; sickness and work-related absences must be covered within that one. If you have a more advanced illness or personal problem, please bring it to the instructor’s attention immediately. Students (and teachers, too) often learn best from one another, so an open environment is encouraged. Ask questions and help each other.

If you happen to have the rare missed class, you must catch up on your own before returning to the next class period. Watch any tutorials, do readings and complete any assignments, so you can be caught up with the rest of the class. Students who miss class will not be individually tutored to cover missed material. You will have to catch up on your own and ask specific questions about the material, if there is something you don’t understand.

We will start class at the designated time. It is important that you show up on time, as announcements tend to be made early, and you could miss valuable information. This can affect your participation grade, as well as your ultimate course grade.

Grade Scale
90-100 A
80-89 B
70-79 C
60-69 D
<60 F

There is no extra credit available for this class. Please contact the instructor early in the semester if you are having problems with any of the course requirements.

Supplies and Equipment
You will need a USB storage device (Flash drive) to save a backup of your files. 
We will discuss Web hosting options in class. I will recommend a Web host costing about $60 per year. You should have your Reclaim Hosting account from Web Design.

Student Conduct
In this class, you should feel comfortable to participate and express opinions and ideas. Please respect the opinions of others and be considerate of their need to contribute and learn. Put away your cell phones before entering class, and do not take calls during class. Do not use your phone for text messaging during class. Browsing the Web, checking email, IMing or other non-related activities during class are not acceptable. Please do not have private conversations with your neighbors during class time, whether the instructor or other students are talking.

In general, please be respectful of others desire to learn and help to create a fun and beneficial classroom environment.

Student work will be displayed on the Web, which means that it will be available to anyone with Internet access and a browser. Please see the instructor if you have any concerns about posting your projects to the Web.

Academic Honesty
Students are required to submit original work in this course unless otherwise specified in the assignments. This includes text, content, graphics and photography. Students may use clip art from “free” clip art sites with appropriate credit and identification, but are encouraged to design their own artwork (grades will be higher for using original work as opposed to another’s artwork).

Instructor may notify you of changes or updates to policies in this syllabus throughout the semester.