This is a sort of a lull for Higher Ed Data Stories. It's summer, for one, and the data release cycles have not yet geared up.
So instead, I want to write about the ten things that would make it easier to produce HEDS on those occasions when there is good data to work with. You know I use Tableau to create the data visualizations you find here. It's been a tool that has changed my career: The value of being able to answer questions with a click (especially when you're in a room with someone up the hierarchy and that person is doing the asking) can't be overstated.
The original vision of Tableau--To allow people to see and interact with their data--was made just for people like me: Interested, a bit curious, but not especially technically proficient. I owe a lot to the company (and there are probably at least 25 colleges who got introduced to Tableau through my early excitement about the product, so maybe they owe me a bit, too, even though I know Higher Ed is not a huge vertical for them.)
Still, you get so far with the first five or six actions in Tableau, it might seem unfair to ask for more. But these things end up being the 90/10 factor in so much of my work, I think a little investment in fixing them would create big gains for everyone. And before I begin, I realize there are hacks that make many of these things possible; that's not the point. I want them to be as easy as the rest of Tableau is.
So, here are the Top Ten Things I Wish Tableau Would Announce:
10. Better Sorting for Viewers
Here is a stacked bar chart showing enrollment mix (full- and part-time; grad and undergrad) at public R1 universities. It would be great if you could sort top to bottom by any variable on the bars (the university with the highest percentage of full-time graduate students, for instance.) The work-around for this requires parameters and formulae that are way too complex for the average user. Compare it to how easy it is to sort a single variable on a bar chart, and you know what I mean.