0. Create a UNIQUE caption for your first story point and drag the CasesByCentury histogram onto the story point. PLEASE READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS THOROUGHLY!!!
In the Final Capstone, you will work with the Digitizing Historical Plague data made available by the WSL (the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research). This data includes the locations and years of plague outbreaks from 1347 to 1900. This is a big dataset with more than 6,000 rows, each one of which contains information about a plague outbreak. Using Tableau Public, powerful (and free) data visualization software, you will make sense of this data and then organize your analysis of the data into a “story” consisting of charts and maps.
There is a video tutorial for each of the following steps. The most efficient way to complete the project is to watch the videos and do each step while watching. (You may have to pause the video to complete the steps.)
***Please review the Grading Scheme and FAQs (below) BEFORE starting the project.***
1. Download the TableauData.xlsx file from the iCollege Final Capstone folder. Each row of data in this file contains data for the city name in which plague broke out, the year in which the outbreak occurred, and latitude and longitude coordinates for that city.
2. Install Tableau Public on your computer. The GSU library computers have the software downloaded. (These instructions are for the free version of the software. If you already use the paid version, or try to use one of the computers in the CURVE, you will need to follow a different workflow to save and post your project online.)
Launch Tableau Public and connect with the TableauData.xlsx file. Reclassify the Year variable as directed by the tutorial and then use it to generate your first histogram in a workbook called CasesByCentury. Edit the bins for this histogram so that it counts the number of records for each century from 1300 to 1900. Then follow the steps to generate histograms with bins that are a half century, a decade, and a year long (and name these workbooks, respectively, CasesBy50, CasesByDecade, and CasesByYear.
3. Look through these histograms and compare them to one another. Click, in the various worksheets, on the year, decade, half century, and century with the greatest number of outbreaks, which will highlight these vertical histogram bars. Note how they offer very different answers to the question of which time period had the greatest number of plague outbreaks. Create captions that summarize your observations about the histograms. These will help you when you write your story later. (NOTE: These captions will be included in the metadata of your final project (and are therefore public), but are not the captions that form part of your grade. Instead, your story captions will be graded.)
4. Examine the CasesByYear histogram and take note of the years 1348 and 1665. These were both years that witnessed very large increases in the number of plague outbreaks compared to the immediately preceding years. For each of these years, we are going to map geographically the location of the outbreaks. So we will make a map of the outbreaks for 1347 and another for 1348 to look for geographic patterns; and a map for 1664 and another for 1665 to do the same.
Let’s make the first map. One of three biggest annual increases in plague outbreaks looks to have taken place in 1348. So let’s make a map for 1347, the year preceding that increase. First, let’s make a new worksheet and call it 1347. Let’s drag the longitude measure into the columns area of the worksheet; and we’ll place the latitude measure in the rows area. Tableau is trying to place our information onto a map–but it is assuming that we want to average the location of our cases, which we don’t want to do. So let’s change this measure from average to dimension for longitude and latitude. Tableau is now mapping the locations for all of the data!
If we drag the measure with the years into the filter box and select all values for the filter, and then turn that measure into a discrete variable, we can choose the individual year on which to filter: 1347. Let’s also add the year to the “tooltip” dialog box which appears when one hovers the mouse over a point on the map. And let’s format the year so that there is no comma separator. And this first map is done. Duplicate the 1347 worksheet, rename it 1348, change the filter to 1348 and so on for the four maps.
5. Let’s build a Tableau Story! Click to create a new Story and rename it, Plague Outbreaks, 1347-1900. Create a UNIQUE caption for your first story point and drag the CasesByCentury histogram onto the story point. Create a new story point and do the same with the CasesByHalf histogram and so on until you have included all of the histograms and maps. Your captions should convey the larger patterns that you have noticed. They should help the viewer to interpret the data, not simply state with words what is clearly visible in the visualization. Do not copy the captions from the videos (especially the typo!)
Save this project to the Tableau Public website. (Again, the tutorials demonstrate how to do this for the free version of the software.)
6. Download a PDF of the Story from the Tableau website. Also, generate a link to the project. Set up your Portfolium account if you have not already done so and create a new Portfolium project in which to embed the link to the Tableau story. This is a link to Portfolium: https://gsu.portfolium.com/
Click on the Add Project button to create a new project. Then click the Paste in a Link button to add the link from your Tableau Public story.
To submit your project for grading:
- Upload the PDF to the final capstone submission folder on iCollege and,
- in the comments box of the submission folder, paste in the url to the Tableau story AND
- paste in the url to the Portfolium project that you have created.
7. Finally, take the Final Capstone quiz! (Please note that this quiz will require you to work with the excel data and create some additional visualizations to answer questions. There is no need to save any of these visualizations.)
Students who follow the steps of the project to create histograms and visualizations with the correct data will earn a C.
Students who do the above and additionally complete all steps for grading, (uploading the PDF, link to Tableau Public, and link to Portfolium) will earn a B.
Students who do the above and work to create an excellent visual presentation of the data will earn an A. (This includes ensuring that the story captions are unique and interpretive (see step 5 above), centering and scaling the maps appropriately, highlighting data on the histograms selectively, and adjusting the size of the caption “boxes.”)
***To clarify, you will only earn an A if:
- Your visualizations and captions are accurate and interpretive
- You complete all three parts of the “to be graded” upload
- You tweak the story (including before saving as a PDF) to be visually excellent.***
How long does this project take to complete?
- Most students can follow the tutorial to get a “bare bones” story completed within two hours. Additional time will be needed to make all those adjustments to create a “visually excellent” story.
- The quiz also takes a few hours to complete as you will need to use Tableau to create new visualizations to answer the questions.
When must everything be completed?
- Both the project, with all three parts of the grading submission, and the quiz are due on April 28th at 11pm EST.
What if I experience a technical error?
- Troubleshooting technical issues is part of this learning experience. Not everyone will have technical issues.
- You are responsible for submitting your work on time EVEN IF you encounter a technical error. For that reason, it is highly advisable to plan to submit your project and complete the quiz days before the final deadline. (Note that the entire week before the deadline is dedicated to completing the project and quiz.)
- Most of the common errors can be solved following prompts within the public (free) version of Tableau. Start to troubleshoot by following those instructions.
- The public.tableau.com help pages also have great information for solving more common errors. This should be your next place to look for help.
- In all seriousness, the next thing to do is type your issue into google. There are often explanations of how to handle issues in Tableau (as well as for other applications, like Word and Excel).
- Finally, if you have made every effort to troubleshoot for yourself, please email me and explain the problem that you are having and what steps you have already tried to correct it. Include screenshots if you can. (Google this if you don’t know how to take a screenshot. Do not just use your phone to take a photo of your screen.)
What if I use the “pro” version of the software?
- If you already own the professional version of Tableau Desktop, or if you choose to use a computer in the CURVE, you will still be able to complete the project. Students sometimes have issues when using this version when they get to the final steps of uploading to Tableau Public. Here are the instructions for doing this step:
- With your workbook open in Tableau Desktop, select Server > Tableau Public > Save to Tableau Public. Note: this option is available only if you’ve created a visualization that contains at least one field.
- Sign in using your Tableau Public account.
- Type the name for the workbook and click Save.