Florida International University Students Use Tableau to Create Convincing Business Dashboards



Masters of MIS students self-selected into using Tableau to report off OLAP cubes they previously created as part of their BI course. Students taught themselves how to create convincing, visual dashboards with their data.

Dr. Monica Tremblay is an Associate Professor of Decision Sciences and Information Systems at Florida International University and she has been teaching with Tableau since 2010. She teaches in the areas of business intelligence, including database design, development, and administration; as well as data warehousing and data mining. In the Spring of 2011, she tasked students to create a public health tool. The goal was to create a website that helps people factor community health information into their decision-making processes. While Monica didn't dictate the tools they used, many chose Tableau, and integrated live vizzes using Tableau Public.

Main learning objectives:

  • Understand how aggregated health data can be used to inform/improve decision making
  • Learn about the challenges in combining/cleaning data from several sources
  • Apply reporting/visualization skills learned in the BI class
  • Apply project management skill

Q&A

In the BI course, I use Tableau to have students build dashboards off of OLAP cubes that they created. In the past, I really struggled with this piece and Tableau has been a life saver.

Can you tell us how you used Tableau in your BI course?
In the BI course, I use Tableau to have students build dashboards off of OLAP cubes that they created.  In the past, I really struggled with this piece and Tableau has been a life saver.  I used to spend valuable class time and office hours helping students do reporting from the cubes they had created, which was not really the focus of my class. I get the same group of students again in the health informatics class.  Since they are already familiar with Tableau, I have them use the tool to create a public health webpage.

How did you learn how to use Tableau?
Self-taught – it’s easy to use!

How did you teach Tableau to your students?
I don’t.  I point them to the tutorials.  I also have Tableau do a webinar.

What were the biggest challenges in teaching Tableau?
I honestly can’t think of any.  I am your biggest fan.

Examples of student projects:
Won't you be our neighbor?




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