5 easy ways to incorporate Tableau in the classroom

Editor’s Note: This piece is part of the Back-to-School series on the Tableau blog. At Tableau, we feel that data skills are essential for the next generation of workers and business leaders. Tableau’s Academic Program seeks to arm students with the valuable analytical skills needed to make data-driven decisions, both academically and professionally.

As the demand for data skills from employers continue to grow, universities have started to recognize the need to incorporate data analysis into their program’s curriculum. In Tableau’s 2018 Top Business Intelligence Trends report, academia investing in Analytics and Data Science programs was a top trend identified by customers and Tableau experts alike.

More than 500,000 students and instructors have been able to use the free software and training resources provided through Tableau’s Academic Programs. In my three years on the Academic Programs team at Tableau, we've seen instructors incorporate Tableau into classes many different ways.

As you head back to school this year, we’ve rounded up 5 ways to incorporate Tableau into your class and curriculum.

1. Assign free training videos to watch before class

Need a quick homework assignment to make sure students are prepared for class the next day? You can choose from our library of 100+ hours of on-demand training videos. Most videos are between six and seven minutes, which makes it easy to pick out the most important features you want to highlight in your class. Each video contains links to download the featured data set, exercise workbook, and additional resources. Students can follow the video step-by-step to complete the exercise and submit a brief write-up on the assigned videos, or turn in the workbook exercise to complete the assignment.

2. Refresh your lectures with Tableau’s free curriculum modules

Our Academic Programs team has partnered with university professors and lecturers to create curriculum modules to be incorporated into your class. These modules are designed to be edited and adjusted to fit the needs of your course, and include lecture slides, assignments, sample syllabi and exam questions. Explore the variety of curriculum including:

  • Data Visualization: Ten-week curriculum covering fundamentals of data visualization analysis. For example, lectures on color, dashboard design, typography and mapping data.
  • Visualize Data with Tableau: Training on basic and advanced Tableau Desktop functionality in any field of study - connecting to data, calculated fields, maps, and dashboards and stories.
  • Intro to Data Journalism with Tableau: Tableau functionality in the context of data storytelling – a key skill for any journalist.
  • Social Media Analytics with Tableau: A module outlining steps to analyze Twitter and Facebook data.

Note: This curriculum can be requested through the Tableau for Teaching User Group page exclusively made for Tableau for Teaching Instructors. Please log in to the Tableau website to request access.

3. Offer an in-class challenge with Makeover Monday

Makeover Monday is a social data project created by the Tableau community to help the data viz community gain inspiration and learn from others to improve their data skills. Fitting the challenge into your course schedule is easy. Each week, a new data set is featured with expert feedback on the original chart. Spend a class and have students create their own dashboard from the data featured that week, or offer extra credit for participation.

Students can upload their work to Tableau Public, and share a URL to receive credit. Or, have your class tweet their completed dashboard using the hashtag #MakeoverMonday, and receive feedback from the community.

“We've been using Makeover Monday as an in-class exercise. Students move from working in groups and trying to emulate the Tableau Zen Master's example to working individually and coming up with variants. Having a data set, examples, and explanations provides students with a safety net as they gain mastery in Tableau Desktop.” —Chapman Greer, University of Alabama

4. Spark creativity with new data sets

Finding quality data sets can be hard—finding interesting data sets that inspire students can be even harder. Have your students work with data that is interesting to them and entice them to learn how to use Tableau on their own.

We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite data repositories on our Student Resource community page. Here’s some of our favorites:

Working with dirty data? Use Tableau Prep, our latest data prep tool to clean and shape your data, which is available for free to students and instructors through our Academic Programs.

5. Tune in to our new Back to School webinar series

With school quickly back in session, tune into one of our one-hour webinars to learn more ways to incorporate Tableau into your curriculum or classes. Even hear from Tableau Conference Europe 2018 Iron Viz Winner, Professor Klaus Schulte and his journey with Tableau. You can also check out Tableau's recent Facebook live chat with Alex Selby-Boothroyd and Marie Segger from the Economist about the Big Mac Index redesign, data in the age of social media, and data journalism.

Register for a webinar today and jump-start the school year.

Join instructors today and download your free Tableau for Teaching license.

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