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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Applied Plotting, Charting & Data Representation in Python by University of Michigan

6,220 ratings

About the Course

This course will introduce the learner to information visualization basics, with a focus on reporting and charting using the matplotlib library. The course will start with a design and information literacy perspective, touching on what makes a good and bad visualization, and what statistical measures translate into in terms of visualizations. The second week will focus on the technology used to make visualizations in python, matplotlib, and introduce users to best practices when creating basic charts and how to realize design decisions in the framework. The third week will be a tutorial of functionality available in matplotlib, and demonstrate a variety of basic statistical charts helping learners to identify when a particular method is good for a particular problem. The course will end with a discussion of other forms of structuring and visualizing data. This course should be taken after Introduction to Data Science in Python and before the remainder of the Applied Data Science with Python courses: Applied Machine Learning in Python, Applied Text Mining in Python, and Applied Social Network Analysis in Python....

Top reviews


Jun 26, 2020

its actually a good course as it starts from fundamentals of visualization to the data visualization,the assignments this course provide are exciting and full of knowledge that you learn in course ..


May 13, 2020

I am going for the specialization and I know this is just the second course in it and I haven't even seen the further courses yet, but this is already my most favourite course in the specialization.

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1 - 25 of 1,035 Reviews for Applied Plotting, Charting & Data Representation in Python

By Jan

Apr 3, 2017

The course can be summarized as: "OK, here are some tools that can be used: now read the documentation, Stack Overflow and some papers that we give you links to". Each week there are just few videos. What I expect from a Course are baby steps and clear guidance about good practices. Of course you can learn it all from the Internet - I am taking a Course to get something I will not easily find elsewhere: a good teacher who will guide me through optimal approaches.

By scott m

Nov 27, 2018

I don't think the tutorials walk us through what we are supposed to do. I find myself on youtube watching free tutorials on the very subjects I am paying to learn.

By Alexandre M

Jan 16, 2019

This is an interesting course, but the professor really does not spend enough time teaching the topic. It's like as if he expects that giving us a very high level overview on a subject (e.g., "These are the principles of beauty to follow when making a chart!"), followed by 1-2 very specific cases ("here's how to build a scatterplot!") is enough. We're then expected to teach ourselves in order to be able to turn in assignments. I understand that a core skill of any programmer is the capacity to search for code snippets online as well as ask questions to the community, but for an introductory course on Matplotlib, I'd expect more teaching of the subject matter.

By Laurent H

Apr 11, 2019

The grading by peers system coupled with the unlocking next week lesson is really aweful. I can't change to previous session event though I worked through the first lesson fast. Everyone has the same issue on the forum but nobody dares to reply. We get no help nor assitance from the platform. This course is purely money stealing. Run away from this course as soon as possible.

By Sourav P

Sep 26, 2018

The lectures are overloaded with too much information, and the concepts are presented in a complicated way. I wish the courses in this specialization were self sufficient. It just does not feel like I am getting proficient at any of this even though I can get the assignments done on my own. there should be ample practice exercises with the aim of burning the syntaxes and concepts to memory which is usually not the case. This eventually leads to half hearted learning where students are expected to do every thing on there own. I am disappointed. The course can be improved by going deep into the concepts and providing additional resources for students to explore.

By Michael H

Sep 9, 2019

Not a great course. Prof is obviously smart, but the lectures breeze through the material far too quickly and too lightly, with students left to do most of the work themselves via the assignments. I'm a fan of learning by doing, but I question the value of a course when most of what I pick up I get from stack overflow. The assignments aren't well explained or maintained, and the same questions keep coming up from students year after year.

Prof would be well advised to revisit this course, expand and update the content, and clarify the various points of confusion in the assignments.

By William T

Sep 15, 2018

Not very good instructions. The Assignments required just self learning online via other video tutorials/documentation....which defeats the purpose of taking an online course

By Nigel S

Jun 9, 2019

Of the 6 Coursera courses I have done to date, this was by far the most tedious and frustrating.

There are a few different approaches to creating images in Python using Matplotlib, and this course didn't manage to set any of them out in a cohesive way that was easy to understand or implement.

An intent of the course was to educate learners about the more detailed Matplotlib control, features, e.g. canvases, so they had more control. But the course presentation is so incohesive that learners are just left utterly confused when it comes to doing the assignments, and they end up trying to pull together a mishmash of code from the internet to try and provide a credible assignment response. It is just such an inefficient use of the learner's time.

This course needs to be torn down, the assignments reviewed, and then the lecture material rebuilt in a way that will enable learners to easily implement the points from the lectures, and eliminate the chasms between course content and what's needed to do the assignments.

By Farhad S

Jun 27, 2018

The instructor just read a text without any interest and passion.

By Patrik T

Nov 10, 2019

CONTENT: The instructor shows some examples of different plots in python (e.g. line, bar, scatter) and some concepts (e.g. histograms or heat maps) but doesn't properly explain anything. Mostly you'll get an example graph with snippets of code only working for that particular example and for the assignment you're "strongly encouraged to use other sources". That's not what you're supposed to get when you're paying for an online course. You should get proper explanations.

ASSIGNMENTS: You're basically told to get data from any source you like and then plot some graphs. If you've had some experience with python and got your explanations for plotting from somewhere else, you'll mostly spend more time looking for data to present than for the actual assignment.

I don't understand why there's no selection of graphs and data sets to choose from so you can concentrate on programming and properly presenting data rather than wasting your time looking at reddit like recommended by the instructor.

ASSIGNMENT GRADING: You’ll have to grade your peers’ assignments with a rubric that’s just not working: you can give points for someone uploading an image/writing a paragraph of text, but you have to either give 0 or 100%, so there’s not way to properly grade partially wrong answers. Example: yes, there is an uploaded image and the student has explained how it follows “Cairo’s principle of beauty”, but it doesn’t follow the principle of beauty. So, how to grade: zero or hundred percent?

Likewise, your assignments are graded by your peers, so you’ll usually have at least one or two days to add to each assignment. You should take this into account when opting for the monthly subscription. Additionally, neither you nor your peers are qualified to grade the assignments, because you’re just learning how to curate and present data (if you’re not already a scientist and just want to learn how to do this in Python).

DISCUSSION FORUMS: You won’t find answers or discussions in the discussion forum. There are only posts asking to please grade a student’s assignment because it is urgent because the subscription is ending soon (see above).

SUMMARY: If you need the certificate for Applied Data Science in Python, you probably must take this course. Otherwise I strongly encourage you to skip it and find other (better) resources to learn plotting in Python.

By Josh C

Mar 10, 2019

Peer review of assignment is very time sensitive. I don't feel it useful.

By Melinda M

Mar 25, 2017

This course was not nearly as valuable to me as the first course in the series. It breezed through a bunch of different plot types without explaining in enough detail what they would be used for or when you should choose to use them. At the same time, it also didn't provide enough clear examples of how to do basic things in matplotlib, which seems to me to be a very non-intuitive thing with poor documentation. I found the first assignment to be very difficult.

By David S

Nov 26, 2018

assignments are unclear and provide few explicit resources for users less familiar with statistics. crucial topics are not discussed and we are instead told to go google them for ourselves, which i could have done without paying for a course.

By jie

Apr 24, 2020

Pros: Very nice assignments

Cons:Instruction is terrible (week 1 on how to draw neat chat is great though). However, coming to the charting, it is terrible. At the end of the course, the instructor didn't emphasize differences among 3 different charting methods:

stackflow has a great post on this:

The instructor should have talked about this in a laymen language in the very beginning.

Although I learned a lot, but mainly from the assignment and stackflow, not week2-4 education videos.

By Sergey I

Aug 1, 2019

The course is not balanced - lectors give very brief explanations and doing it very fast. There is not much little connections to practical applications. The assignments often are vague, many times I had to research what they actually wanted instead of actually stadying Python. I finished it, but this course creates more frustration than dophamine. Not recommend it

By Lai c L

May 11, 2022

the course is poorly taught compared to courses i have taken in coursera

The only one message in this course is:

There is a python module called "matplotlib', please read the documentation/ google/ ask in forum/ stackoverflow yourselves.

By John R

Nov 22, 2018

Cant submit for two weeks but billed monthly, this is bogus.

By Ivan K

Aug 25, 2020

Course materials are more than 4 years old. That describes not only the videos but also the age of the various Python libraries that you will be working with. The charting and data visualizations discussed are the really the most basic kind that you might find more easily executed in Excel or Google Sheets. My idea of data science visualizations are not bar charts, scatters, line graphs, and box charts.

The age of the course also means that there will be almost no discussion of more contemporary data viz libraries like Seaborn or Plotly or ones I may have never heard of as this course sought to cover the most basic elements of matplotlib. Nothing presented I would say rose to the current professional and academic standards of data visualization.

By Charles R

Aug 25, 2020

The course teaches you about important plotting and design skills but the peer reviews and lack of clarity for the assignments makes this class less useful than it could be. In the previous class the discussion forums were an invaluable resource but in this class they are full of spam requests for a peer reviews which makes finding useful information more difficult than it should be.

By cheting c

Mar 2, 2018

Very unresponsible professor. No passion at all!!!!! Did not explain the fundamental concept well. As a result, I do not think I have a deep understangin at all. I spend most my time google in order to finish my assignments.

I give him the second star only because I the way he designed those challenging assignments. He should include some skill needed to finish the assignments.

By Nikolai T

Feb 8, 2022

I was very disappointed by this course.

This course has very little learning materials since the professor just gives a brief overview of certain topics alongside a couple of examples and even explicitly states that google/stack overflow are likely to be required for students to be able to complete the exercises. I admit that learning how to look up how to do certain things is important to learning programming, however I don't think this course strikes the right balance here at all, which can be extremely frustrating considering how much you pay to enroll.

The week 1 learning materials are the most detailed but also essentially useless - there is not a single line of Python code at all. Instead, you have to make your way through the "principles" of data visualisation - most of which are painfully obvious (for example - the visualisation should not mislead the reader). Perhaps for some people with certain backgrounds this may be useful but I personally think section could be significantly shorter or even skipped entirely, even for an introductory course.

From speaking to friends who are much more skilled in Python than I am, it seems that matplotlib is fairly outdated and other reviews mention that this course is quite old and the content has not been updated. I got the sense that this professor is quite stuck in his ways and I often found myself thinking "surely there's an easier way to do this". I was pleasantly surprised to find an excellent younger teacher briefly cover plotting in Pandas and Seaborn, which produced significantly better plots with significantly fewer lines of code, however you have to use matplotlib for all the assignments.

The assignments, especially 2 and 3, are one of the best things about the course and provide interesting challenges. However, it felt like you pretty much have to teach yourself how to do them from scratch. I found that the discussion forums had some useful hints to help get started since assigment 2 is a little bit unclear. The peer review system is OK - the mark schemes are very easy to follow but also not well thought out. On the other hand, I received great feedback within a day or so for each assignment.

Overall, I think it's clear that the course could do with some improvements. Unfortunately, it feels like the primary aim of this course is to make as much money with as little effort as possible, so I'm not sure how likely this is.

By Hussein A

Oct 17, 2020

Didn't learn anything, have been paying for over 2 months, with very poor instructions and very tough quizzes, designed to make you search and search without understanding the fundamentals. The outcome? You paying, without really have any fundamentals rooted. Decided to cancel this specialization after various attempts to push through, without feeling that I am getting the value for what I am paying for. I am better off buying a $20 book from Amazon on Pandas and Visualizations and researching each exercise and apply my learnings on Kaggle datasets. This is unfair!

By Eklavya S

Aug 5, 2018

This course makes you give up on data science and MOOCs.

Seriously, the content is poorly presented he keeps on speaking , telling 2-3 lines about a function and so on.

I highly recommend stay away from this pathetic specialization.

By Jorge S R

Jun 6, 2020

No real teaching. Just skimming fast through a table of contents. It's better to read a book on the subject than taking the course.

By Yousef A

Feb 16, 2019

The course takes into account the theoretical approach when creating charts which is something I have never thought of! And I don't think you'll find instructors that will go that deep into theory instead of programming.

To be honest, I don't believe that charting needs any programming skills at all, it is similar to creating front-end apps, so I think their focus (a week is dedicated for it) on the theory was a great choice.