Temple University Analytics Challenge: Students Use Data to Solve Real Problems

We use data visualizations to tell compelling stories, explain trends, and make persuasive arguments. Communication of data insights is becoming a critical skill for college graduates entering the workforce. We provide free Tableau licenses to teachers and students through our academic programs in the hope of students developing skills working with visualizations.

Some colleges and universities are seeing this need and creating specific ways for students to explore data, regardless of their academic background. One of these programs is the Temple Analytics Challenge, hosted by Temple University’s Institute for Business and Information Technology. Students competing in this challenge are provided data and tools to analyze the data, including free access to Tableau Desktop through the Tableau for Students program.

This competition, only in its second year, has already proved to be a huge success among students. David Schuff, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems and IBIT industry partners developed the challenge to help students learn the interdisciplinary potential and opportunity that analytical skills can offer.

“Last year the competition was an amazing success, with 183 entries from 400 students from seven schools and colleges,” said Schuff. “We’re building on that momentum with challenges addressing campaign spending, corporate security, and the relocation of a corporate headquarters.”

Participants are encouraged to use a variety of tools to create their visualizations, and Tableau is a critical component. “Tableau is a fantastic resource for our students,” said Schuff. “It’s flexible and powerful while also being simple to use. The software really empowers our students to work with data, whether or not they have a technical background. They also get hands-on experience with a tool many businesses use.” Students worldwide are eligible to receive free access to Tableau Desktop through the Tableau for Students program.

One of last year's finalists used Tableau Desktop to visualize financial data. Click the image to view the viz.

The Temple Analytics Challenge for 2014 is well underway. Twenty finalists will present their work on November 17th to a live panel of industry leaders for a total of $10,000 in prizes, including a $2,500 grand prize. Prizes are sponsored by the corporate members of the IBIT and the Temple University’s Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies.

Have other examples of how students are using Tableau to build their analytical skills? Let our academic programs team know!