New open access course – data-driven animation for science communication

Instructor Dr. Jessica Kendall-Bar lays out the 10 sessions of the 5-week Coursera course on the interactive Learning Glass at UC Santa Cruz. 

The Teaching & Learning Center at UC Santa Cruz is delighted to announce that Dr. Jessica Kendall-Bar has created an open access version of her Data-Driven Animation for Science Communication course, which is now freely available on the Coursera platform. 

This course trains students in data-driven storytelling that promotes research and science communication for the benefit of communities and policymakers on local and global scales. Each learner will create a scientific animation that tells a story with data to better communicate scientific results – along the way they will learn programming, science writing, and technical animation skills.



Dr. Kendall-Bar is a Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellow at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, and she recently completed her PhD in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from UC Santa Cruz. Her research combines engineering, data science, ecology, and visualization to measure behavior and physiology of marine animals amidst a changing climate. Her data visualizations, published in news outlets, The New York Times and The Atlantic, have informed international policy in domains ranging from marine mammal conservation to coral reef restoration.

Dr. Kendall-Bar’s new course is offered through UC Santa Cruz’s partnership with Coursera as a MOOC, which means that it is available to everyone regardless of their academic affiliation with the campus. The fully asynchronous course is free to anyone with an internet connection. If learners elect a certificate of completion, there is a small cost ($49), or — for most in-need learners — a process to request financial aid from Coursera. The course was developed in partnership with UC Santa Cruz’s Science Communication Program, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and UC Online Education.

Learners will draft a science writing script, create custom raster and vector graphics, data visualizations, and animations in a variety of computer programs. For their final project, learners will assemble these data-driven assets into an animated video abstract.The course is organized in five modules, with video lectures, tutorials, quizzes, discussion forums where students can share their work, and two peer reviewed assignments.

For more information contact Jessica Kendall-Bar at