Tableau data story telling day for QUT students

On the 8th of March 2018, 80 cross-discipline QUT students came together to tell stories using the data software Tableau.

QUT’s amazing facilities

Tableau is a business intelligence software that transforms data into actionable insights. Data presentation is a skill in high demand, having recently been identified by Linked In as a top skill employers need most in candidates.

The day was divided into an initial three-hour training session, followed by a data visualisation competition that challenged students to create a story based on Shark Control Program data set. (download dataset and further readings here)

KJ (Twitter) and Chris from the Tableau Academic team delivered a very interactive Tableau Power Up session with the help from Sam (Twitter) from Key Data.

Eighty students were divided into teams, given access to the data set, and had about an hour to develop their stories using Tableau.

Students working in teams

Teams then presented their visualisations in front of the judges and were marked based on three criteria:

  • Story telling
  • Analysis techniques
  • Design aesthetic

The 4 judges were two QUT staff and two industry partners:

  • Lisa Bradley – QUT Business School
  • Debbie Henderson – QUT Chief Data Officer
  • Rob Baltrusch – Deloitte
  • Sam Batchelor – Key Data

The judges were impressed with the quality of the presentations and techniques used to tell a story with data in such a short period of time.

The winning team comprised of Elliott, Brodie, John and Haroon, called their team “These Stats Aint Loyal” and used the shark data set with great humour.

“These Stats Aint Loyal” visualisation screen shot

Winning team visualisation URL

The winning team “These Stats Aint Loyal”: Elliott, Brodie, John and Haroon


Team KKTS came close second, just two points behind the winning team; well done Kenneth, Karthick, Tim and Stephen.

Team KKTS: Kenneth, Karthick, Tim and Stephen finished second

Second team visualisation URL
Students also had the opportunity to vote for their favourite teams. People’s choice Prize was awarded to team “Fish Friends”, Susana, Alex, Tim and Saban.

People’s choice prize went to team “Fish Friends”: Susana, Alex, Tim, and Saban with Kj and Chris from Tableau
“Fish Friend” visualisation screen shot

People’s choice prize visualisation URL

Taking a bit of a risk, I decided to announce the winners via a live Tableau dashboard (live vis URL), which worked out in the end.

Data Visualisation with Tableau summary

“Feedback from students was overwhelmingly positive, with students calling the event “interesting”, “fun” and “thought-provoking”.


Photos credit and MC of the day: Marvinfox.

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