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Students Develop Data Analytics Experience Building Real-Time Dashboards Using Technology 

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Student employees Delaney Biggins and Adele Namboodri are learning Microsoft Power BI and using it to solve real world problems with Tulane’s Information Technology (IT) services. The IT Department is teaching student employees the skills associated with Power BI and other technologies, providing hands-on experiences to students like Delaney and Adele that will carry over to their professional lives. 

Both Juniors, Delaney and Adele are working closely with large data sets to build real-time reports that communicate IT’s service and support performance. These reports are being used to track areas of improvement, to determine support needs, to highlight potential end-user communication needs, and, to tell stories of Tulane’s technology impact on the university. Through this experience they are learning to organize data and visualize data to discover trends, tell a story, and make it easier for all users to understand the data.   

The two students began their experience working for IT as Classroom Experience Assistants before taking this role. Both double majors in Public Health and Political Science, Delaney is excited to gain “general work experience and skills” from her time working with IT. She is learning how to utilize the resources available to her to improve her research and troubleshooting skills, while discovering how to manage and complete projects on her own. Adele Namboodri is also looking forward to developing and solidifying her soft skills, such as adhering to deadlines, proper communication, and organization.  

“I think Power BI could be a very helpful tool for me in the future! I’m hoping to go to grad school for healthcare administration and ultimately, as an administrator, Power BI could be used to assess workplace performance (likely a hospital) and develop goals for performance improvement by using mass amounts of data through visuals to gain an understanding of the environment,” says Delaney Biggins.  

What is Power BI? 

Power BI is a business analytics service by Microsoft. The service allows the transformation and visualization of data to be consumed quickly through dashboards and/or simple reports. Jason Hayden, Director of Service Management Processes, compares the service to a "dynamic PowerPoint." Specifically, a user can change the parameters on a graph and manipulate a visual on the fly with a slider using an application program interface (API) – a way to programmatically interact with a separate software component or resource.