Announcing new Tableau Data Literacy curriculum for higher education

Bridge the data literacy gap for students in academia

Working with data is a necessity for most jobs, and analytical skills can be a huge differentiator for success across all kinds of work – whether corporate, nonprofit or academic. In my many years as a scientist, I mentored trainees in data analysis and witnessed frustration, anxiety and even productivity loss in students who lacked foundational data skills. Without closing the data skills gap, these challenges would continue into their professional lives.

Those experiences not only informed my teaching, but it became a personal passion to bring foundational data skills to all. That’s why I was thrilled to join the Tableau Academic team, which understands the importance of bringing these data literacy skills to students. We define data literacy as “the ability to explore, understand and communicate with data.” And we recognise that instructors need data literacy curricula that are accessible, engaging and easy to use. 

Schools and colleges are often ill-equipped to solve the problem of data literacy. Math curricula prioritise critical core concepts (calculus and algebra) above more applied subjects like statistics and probability. Campaigns for greater pragmatism… have gone largely unheeded.


Today, I’m excited to announce our Data Literacy Two course curriculum, available to academic faculty for free! This course follows Data Literacy One, which we released in February 2020. I designed these courses to help teachers and academics foster the next data-native generation by furthering students’ data skills in the classroom. These curricula augment our existing Tableau courses that cover additional topics, including data journalism and using Tableau Online in the classroom.

Learn what Tableau offers instructors with our data literacy courses

These two data literacy courses aim to provide foundational knowledge to students so they can understand, explore, and effectively visualise and communicate with data. These courses can serve as prerequisites for a variety of analytics, research methods or data science curricula.

Both courses are designed to cover a typical ten-week course (one quarter) at an accredited university. Lecture slides, homework assignments, discussion board activities, Tableau demos and test banks are included – instructors need only tailor the content to their class, as they like.

Data Literacy One focuses on the fundamentals of data, including variable types, how to structure data, how to summarise data and an introduction to data visualisation. Students will learn how to critically analyse data through theoretical and practical exercises. This course covers:

  • The meaning of data literacy
  • Proficiency in quantitative skills 
  • Knowledge of basic statistical concepts
  • Developing critical thinking competency
  • Learning how to communicate with data 
  • Introductory experience with Tableau

Data Literacy Two focuses on how to present data in a meaningful way to communicate information effectively. Visualisation and design best practices are covered extensively in this course with opportunities to test what students have learned throughout. This course covers:

  • Design principles
  • Visualisation best practices and methods
  • Chart building skills and competencies
  • Making visual comparisons using data
  • Communicating with interactive stories
  • Additional experience using Tableau

Get started with Tableau data literacy curricula today

Tableau Academic Programmes have proudly provided free Tableau licences to more than 1.5 million students and instructors around the world, leading the charge to improve data literacy among future generations.

If you’re an instructor at an accredited institution, visit the Tableau for Teaching page to request a free Tableau licence and join our community user group to gain access to our curricula.

In addition to your free licence, instructors and students get full access to Tableau eLearning – great for supplementing your data literacy course and for remote or self-paced learning. Finally, you’ve got the Tableau Community – the largest, most diverse data community in the world – offering unparalleled support at every step along your analytics journey.

For corporate trainers, a great place to start is with our free programme, Data Literacy for All, which offers more than five hours of foundational data skills content based on the Data Literacy One curriculum. You can also check our eLearning and instructor-led training.

Prior to joining Tableau, Sue Kraemer taught Statistics and Data Visualisation courses at University of Washington Bothell (UWB) and currently remains an Affiliate Faculty member in the Division of Nursing and Health Studies at UWB.

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