Keeping up with the COVID-19 data published by Anne Arundel County Public Schools on an individual school basis is not really sustainable because it is currently being published daily. The data can not be downloaded so it has to be transcribed by hand. So I am looking at some other ways to visualize the data that might be less time-intensive, and still informative. My primary goals are to 1) learn how to build various data visualizations, and 2) explore the utility of various data visualizations. Maintaining a data dashboard, unless I am curious about the data that day is not my primary purpose.

One idea is to look at the cumulative COVID-19 cases by both students and staff on a daily basis. I did not think to capture this data earlier, so I have a few days of data missing. I also have missing days because life got in the way. It doesn’t seem hard to enter in a few data points every day until you get wrapped up in life and then you realize that you haven’t even looked at the website in a few days. I wish that they published the data in a way that I could download their archival data, but I will take what they share. The Maryland Health Department publishes their archival school outbreak data; however, their data only reflects outbreaks (as they have defined them) and is only published once a week on Wednesdays. Because of the missing data, I used the step model of lines as I think it is a more honest way to show the data.

This line chart shows the cumulative daily COVID-19 cases for students and staff for the 2021-2022 school year. The number of cases are from the Anne Arundel County Public Schools data dashboard. I have added dots for the days that I recorded the published data. There are no dots on the days that I do not record the data.

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

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, 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.

The Anne Arundel County Public School System updated its COVID data dashboard today. It reflects cases where contract tracing has been completed and data fully entered as of noon on September 20, 2021. IT does not include cases in which tracing, documentation, or determination are still in progress. The data dashboard was due to be updated on Wednesday, September 22, 201, but they decided to update it early.

According to the data dashboard, 1,092 students and 21 staff are currently quarantine. There are 170 students and 14 staff with active cases. The cases are as distributed as follows: 9 student cases at charter/contract schools; 76 student cases at elementary schools; 33 cases at middle schools; 51 cases at high schools; and 1 case at a specialty center.

Chorpleth map of Act COVID-19 cases in Anne Arundel County PUblic SChools

The map shows the active COVID-19 case in Anne Arundel County Public Schools by feeder system as of noon on September 20, 2021. The map includes student and staff active cases. According to the map the feeder system with the most active case, 24 is the North County High School feeder system: 3 high school cases; 4 middle school cases; and 15 elementary school cases. The feeder system with the least active cases is the South River High School feeder system: 1 high school case and 4 elementary school cases. This is an update of a previous map.

A test of displaying the bike trail map data that was published by Anne Arundel County as part of their OpenData program.

I used the feeder systems as reported by the Anne Arundel County Public Schools in the Educational Facilities Master Plan to build this map of cases by feeder system. The map only reflects schools that are part of a location-based feeder system in Anne Arundel County Public Schools. Not all schools had completed contract tracing for the reporting period; thus, there may be additional cases not captured in this data set. This is a proof of concept map. In the future, I would like to add detailed information about all schools in that cluster to the map, but that will take additional time.