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Dr. Long Xia, Assistant Professor, Management Information Systems
Contact Hours:
8 hours (0.8 CEUs)
February 20, 22, 27; March 1
6:00-8:00 pm ET
Online and synchronous

Course Description

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Data has become a core strategic asset to gain and maintain a competitive advantage for today’s business. Data visualization, the process of transforming data into intuitive and interactive visuals, has a profound impact on corporate decision-making and strategies.

In this course, we will explore data visualization techniques and their applications to support business strategies. Specifically, we will cover the fundamentals of data visualization and effective data-driven storytelling. You will gain hands-on experience in using Tableau, an increasingly prevalent data visualization tool, to build various charts to uncover useful insights from business data.

A mixed teaching approach—a combination of short lectures and hands-on practices in real-world business contexts—will be adopted to guide you step-by-step to build effective data visualization systems to support practical business decisions. 

Course Outline

  • Session 1: Data analytics/visualization fundamentals, design principles, popular data visualization tools, intro to Tableau
  • Sessions 2 and 3: Data visualization practice, most major chart types will be covered with business contexts—solving various real-world business problems
  • Session 4: Building a compelling data story, including formulating business problems, data collection and exploration, data analysis and visualization, and developing a data-rich story

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, learners will be able to:

  • Understand the basic principles of professional-looking photography, including composition, light, and color
    Work one-on-one with Professor Piland and in small groups to improve their photo techniques
    Edit professional-looking photos from the palm of your hand
    Deconstruct photos with a critical eye for light, composition, and shooting techniques
    Receive feedback on photos taken and continually iterate to advance photography skills
    Develop a professional portfolio of photos to share
    Understand the data visualization fundamentals, including data analytics basics, data types, best practices, and design principles of building a compelling story. 
  • Describe how data visualization is strategically used by businesses to facilitate managerial decision-making.
  • Apply data visualization in your daily work to analyze and visualize business data in Tableau to uncover valuable information from data.
  • Build a rich collection of the most widely used charts and choose the right chart type with respect to the business problems. 
  • Develop a business idea into a full data analytics/visualization project by following the data analytics lifecycle, including formulating business questions, collecting and processing data, and creating proper visualizations.
  • Communicate the findings and insights effectively by telling a practical problem-driven, data-rich story.

Instructor Information

Dr. Long Xia is an Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems in the Love School of Business at Elon University. His teaching and research interests include Information Systems, Business Intelligence, Data Analytics, and Machine Learning. His prior works have been published in Tourism Management and Decision Support Systems. He also has several works under review at many premier journals, including Journal of Management Information Systems (JMIS) and Journal of Operations Management (JOM). 

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