Usually, I write about data visualizations and education policy. Today I am going to write about the fundraiser I am going to do for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in conjunction with the Game Theory Community Challenge 2021. With the recent loss of our family cat [EDIT 2: our cat returned a week later, we are now looking to bring happiness into the world in thanksgiving], my 10-year-old son and I decided that we wanted to bring some good to the world. He came across the Game Theory Community Challenge that is happening during the month of October 2021, and he said that we had to join this year as fundraisers, not just as donors. The details of what we are going to do to raise funds are still unclear beyond putting the word out that we are fundraising. His idea is for us to bake and sell sourdough bread. While I am grateful for his faith in my baking, I am unsure of the logistics. So while I try to figure out the logistics, I am just going to put our request out into the universe.

My son got into St. Jude’s mission last year when he was 9 through the Game Theory Community Challenge on YouTube. He got excited about the mission and asked for help in donating some of his own money to the cause, and convinced me to donate. This year he wanted to do more by asking for donations from others and I agreed to help. My son believes in St. Jude’s mission to give kids free cancer treatments free of charge. He says that he thinks that cancer treatments must cost a lot of money and childhood cancer must be scary for the kids and the parents.

So if you are interested in donating to St. Jude’s, and bring joy to a kid that wants to help other kids. Click here to donate. We are team “I-like-rice”.


Game Theory Community Challege for St. Jude’s 2021 Data Visulizations

Edit: Actually, I have an idea. I am going to try to figure out ways to visualize the data from the challenge! I don’t know if I will be able to keep up with the data, but I have a few visualizations that I would like to try with the data. For example, I would like to try a bar chart race with the top donors. But until I figure out the racing bar chart, please enjoy a regular bar chart. [Edit 2: We were so busy celebrating the return of our cat I took a few days off data visualization, but I am now back at it. I am finding the bar chart race very challenging. I want to switch the “years” in the example I am looking at to “days”, but it is breaking the formula.]

UpDate: October 13, 2021

I have not abandoned this project, but I am having trouble figuring out coding the racing bar chart using days rather than years as was used in the coding example I used. I have discovered that I need to understand the coding behind the chart better. I am also not making the time to record the data I need to make the chart as my work has recently gotten busier.

This map reflects the total outbreak-associated cases in schools on September 22, 2021. This is an update of the September 22, 2021 map.

I need to restart my computer and close some of the many, many tabs I have open related to data visualization, but before I close them I want to document a few of the websites I have been using and have found useful. I am not necessarily recommending these websites, just noting that I have found them useful.

In no particular order, beyond where they are in my tabs.

Data Visualization



Amcharts Live

Data Formating

JSON formatter


Data Sources

Anne Arundel County Public Schools: COVID-19 Dashboard

Anne Arundel County ArcGIS Open Data

U.S. Department of Education: College Scorecard

Maryland Higher Education Commission Publications

University System of Maryland: IRIS

Maryland Data

Maryland Longitudinal Data System Dashboards

Maryland Report Card

Edunomics Lab: THe Study of Education Finance

The more visualizations I make the clearer it becomes that one of the major challenges of visualizing education data is that it is a very complicated system and it is difficult to simplify. For example, I made a visualization of student transfers from Maryland community colleges to Maryland public four-year institutions. This is only a portion of college transfers. It does not include transfers from public four-year institutions to other four-year institutions. It also does not include other segments of higher education institutions such as private four-year institutions or out-of-state institutions. There is not an easy way to simplify the data.

I made this data visualization using the “chord diagram with animated bullets” demo by amcharts. I just added in my data. The demo has 6 nodes, mine has 29. The good thing is that the nodes can be clicked off so that you can examine only specific nodes. For example, you could click off all but two of the community college to compare them.

Animated BUllet Chord Diagram of Student Transfers: Maryland Community Colleges to Maryland Public Four-year Institutions

Note: I just noticed when testing the post that this chart does not look great on mobile. It works better if you turn your phone to landscape mode. I am going to explore this further.

  • BSU=Bowie State University
  • CSU=Coppin State University
  • UB=University of Baltimore
  • UMBC=University of Maryland Baltimore County
  • UMCP=University of Maryland College Park
  • UMES=University of Maryland Eastern Shore
  • UMGC=University of Maryland Global Campus
  • SMCM=St. Mary’s College of Maryland
  • MSU=St. Mary’s College of Maryland
  • MSU=Morgan State University
  • UMB=University of Maryland, Baltimore
  • BCCC=Baltimore City Community College
  • CCBC=Community College of Baltimore County
  • CSM=College of Southern Maryland
  • MC=Montgomery College
  • PGCC=Prince George’s Community College

Source: Maryland Higher Education Commission: Undergraduate transfers among Maryland institutions of higher education 2019-2020, May 2021.

chord Diagram Student Transfers: Maryland Community Colleges to Maryland Public Four-year Institutions

Note: I just noticed when testing the post that this chart does not look great on mobile. It works better if you turn your phone to landscape mode. I am going to explore this further.

I removed the bullets to reduce the visual clutter. I think I like this version a little more, although I think that I can still make improvements. To improve it I stole the best elements from the “Who kissed who in Friends” chord diagram demo. I still think that I can make further improvements, but I need to explore the coding options a bit deeper to figure out what changes I would like to make. With this version, I may be able to add in the full names of the institutions in a future version.

This drill-down sunburst chart shows the breakdown of students that transferred to the University of Maryland College Park in fiscal 2020. The first layer shows the type of sending institution: Maryland Community Colleges; other University System of Maryland institutions; Maryland private institutions, including institutions that belong to the Maryland Univerity and College Association (MICUA); and out-of-state institutions. The second layer shows the institutions. However, since the original data source only shows the top institutions in a particular category, the names of not all out-of-state institutions are captured.

This chart is based on an Amcharts demo for a drill-down sunburst chart. This particular data only had two levels, but additional levels can be added if you have hierarchical data with multiple levels. As with several other charts I have tried making with Amcharts, this chart did not work in their add-in for WordPress. I however was able to add my data using Notepad. Then I saved the document as an HTML file by changing the file extension to .HTML. Then I uploaded the file to the media library for my website. Finally, I used some HTML code on this page to creat a frame and pull up the chart. I explained that process and shared the code I used in a previous post about my experiences making charts and maps with amcharts.

The chart shows that 63.6% of transfer students came from Maryland community colleges. Half (50.3%) of those students from Maryland community colleges came from Montgomery College, which is located in Montgomery County not far from UMCP. Anne Arundel Community College, Prince George’s Community College, and Howard Community College were also the source of a large number of transfer students. The second-largest source of transfer students is out-of-state institutions. For that category none of the sending schools are dominant. The biggest category is “other”.

UMCP Transfer Students in Fiscal 2020 Drill Down Sunburst Charth

Source: University System of Maryland, IRIS

I modified one of the Amcharts demos called map with curved lines to make a Maryland map with lines. I want to show how students transfer among colleges at universities in the state using a map. I have successfully created the base map, but I have not yet figured out how to add a stroke width to the lines. I think it would be interesting to have the thickness of the line represent the number of students that transferred. I want to see if location is a factor in transferring.

I have read through the Amcharts documentation, but I still can not figure out how to change the stroke width for each individual line. I did figure out how to change the width for all of the lines at the same time, but that is not what I want to do. I noticed when I made the lines thicker the map looked really messy, so this idea might not get off the ground even if I figure out the technical details. The issue is while I am pretty good at figuring out technical issues I do not have a strong foundation in using javascript libraries. I have an 11 hour YouTube video that I am planning on watching to build a stronger foundation, but I have not yet made the time to watch it. I keep on spending my time trying out new ideas on visualizing data. I have so many data visualizations I would like to build, I need more hours in the day to build them all. I hope I will get quicker with time

Maryland Map with Lines

If I decided to go this route I just need to take the time to enter the names and longitudes and latitudes of all of the institutions. For this map I just googled the institution and “longitude and latitude”; however, I just discovered the U.S. Department of Education College ScoreCard data download has longitude and latitude information. In the future I will try using the ScoreCard longitude and latitude information.

This is the September 22, 2021, update of the map that shows that total reported cases by Anne Arundel County Public Schools by feeder system. The map was last published on September 21, 2021.

According to the data published by the Anne Arundel County School System on September 22, 2021, there are 1,335 students and 29 staff currently quarantining. There are 241 active cases: 223 students and 18 staff. In total there have been 303 cases this school year.

This is the September 22, 2022 update to a trend map I first made with the September 1, 2022 data.

This map reflects the total outbreak-associated cases in schools on September 22, 2021. This is an update of the September 15, 2021 map.

This is the September 21, 2021, update of a previous map.