Tableau: Besides the interaction with the students, what are the benefits of using Tableau in your courses?
Michael: I would point out three main strengths about Tableau from an instructor’s perspective. The first one is employability. I believe that Tableau is becoming a skill that more and more employers are looking for. The knowledge and the ability of using Tableau even at a basic level is worth mentioning on a CV. Then there’s the interest Tableau generates among students. Some students don’t use Tableau only for their business classes but also for their personal interests. One student created a visualisation around cricket scores for example. The third benefit I see about Tableau is about the awareness it brings. For example for our MBA students, it may well be that their companies or themselves are behind on technology and what is available on the market. What I say to them is “Look, be aware of what these modern software tools can now do. You might not be comfortable using it but someone within your company may have this specialisation and produce the results you see in the classroom.”
Tableau: What were the biggest challenges of teaching Tableau?
Michael: In terms of functionalities, I use probably only a small percentage of them as opposed to what businesses use them for. So, the challenge was to narrow it down to the part that would be useful to the students to use so that they could create their own visualisation quickly.
Tableau: What type of feedback do you receive from your students?
Michael: They are amazed at the functionalities with Tableau and grateful that Tableau has been introduced to them. They didn’t have a realisation of what’s available or what can be done.
For example just two years ago creating a treemap would have needed some experimental software and the students would have had to spend hours to create one. Now it can be done within a click of the mouse with Tableau.
So, it’s the impact regarding the speed and type of visualisation that I think have impressed them the most.
Tableau: Did you notice any major difference in your course since you started using Tableau?
Michael: Yes, in terms of data visualisation for example, the speed with which Tableau has developed and upgraded its functionalities has had an impact on my courses. Each year what I can show to my students is different and innovative and as I mentioned earlier, Tableau has helped to create interaction in my courses.
Tableau: What would you recommend to your colleagues who would like to use Tableau in their class?
Michael: Today’s modern students are extremely computer literate, so what I would suggest is not to be afraid to teach them Tableau. The students only need to be shown the basics of Tableau and those who have an interest will take the rest forward especially given the amount of online tutorials that are available.