Teaching Tableau? Learning Tableau? Here are some ideas.

I teach a few courses at BCIT and Tableau is one of them. We have created and, so far, successfully run our Tableau Course for the last 5 terms. We started out by making it a 6-week, 1.5 credit course. However students provided us feedback and many of them suggested it felt rushed and would prefer a longer duration, so in the recent terms we’ve decided to make it a full-blown 12-week, 6 credit course. This course is fast becoming one of our popular courses, catering 15-20 students per section. Next term we are running two sections. We may look at running more in the future, if the demand keeps up.

The students taking this course have also come from a wide range of backgrounds – although many of them are working professionals looking to expand their analytics exposure, or even looking to change careers. We’ve had students with backgrounds in accounting, hotel management, retail, IT, healthcare, banking and finance, insurance, etc.

The two highest points for me in this course are the second and last classes.

Flickr. Photo by Black Zack - Surprise Eggs -   https://www.flickr.com/photos/blackzack00/10205948476
Flickr. Photo by Black Zack – Surprise Eggs –

The second class is when I introduce Tableau to them. The look of amazement in each student when they see and experience Tableau for the first time is priceless. I am sure I can relate; when I first saw Tableau, it was like magic.

In the last class, the students get to do final presentations.

Their final project can either be an industry-sponsored project, or a project out of interest. However, the most important part is that this has to consolidate most of what they’ve learned in the course, and present a comprehensive set of dashboards and create a story. Based on the students’ feedback, this project and experience brings everything together, and they do finally make data make sense (especially if they chose the industry-sponsored projects). They are also inspired seeing other students’ dashboards, and the creativity that they witness. Students get creative and passionate when it’s their story they are delivering. I personally find it quite inspiring and very informative (I learn a lot listening to their presentations. I have had many students present their projects to their employers, sponsors, C-level executives, and have definitely made differences in their respective organizations.

I love teaching Tableau, it’s a very fun course to teach. If you are an instructor or professor wanting to teach Tableau, or incorporate Tableau in your courses, I’d like to share some tidbits and ideas that you can start with.

  1. Did you know that Tableau has a Tableau for Teaching program that supports instructors and students? If you are an instructor, you can get licenses for yourself, your students, and your labs. It is time-limited, but it is great to have access to the full software for learning.

  2. There is a Tableau forum specifically for Tableau for Teaching that provides resources and references if you are planning to integrate Tableau in your courses.

TFT Tableau for Teaching Resources

I helped create the three workbooks posted in this forum that can serve as your initial tutorials for Tableau. (These were created a year ago and are probably due for update to incorporate changes in the recent Tableau versions).

Workbook 1: Introduction to Tableau (Download workbook from TFT | See it live)

This workbook is all about creating vizzes and dashboards using sales data (based on the Chinook database).TFT - Tableau for Teaching - Introduction to Tableau

Workbook 2: Introduction to Calculations (Download workbook from TFT | See it live)

This dashboard walks you through simple calculations in Tableau using a fictional fundraising data source.TFT - Tableau for Teaching - Introduction to Calculations

Workbook 3: Introduction to Mapping  (Download workbook from TFT | See it live)

This workbook starts you off with Tableau  mapping, using a collection of publicly available restaurant and “foodie” data sources.

TFT - Tableau for Teaching - Introduction to Mapping

  1. Need an idea for an outline? Here’s an COMP 2256 Course Outline. This may change, as we continually review, revise and improve our courses to ensure the courses stay as competitive and relevant as possible, but this should give you an idea what we cover.

That’s it for now. I will add more posts when I collect more tidbits 🙂

One thought on “Teaching Tableau? Learning Tableau? Here are some ideas.

  1. Tableau Training January 2, 2019 / 5:25 am

    Tableau has its own terminology, and it’s useful to quickly go through the items more specific to this software before we jump in, so, later on, you’ll understand why we’re putting pills on shelves.

    Tableau Training


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s