Category Archives: Teaching

More reasons why I teach

This is my fuel. This is why I teach. Sure, I won’t please everyone. Not everyone will appreciate or will be happy with the way I teach, but even if there’s one person in the class who thinks the time they spent in my class was worth it – that’s all the reason I need.

(All names removed from cards below)

This is what I got today from a student:

card from studentcard content

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Automate SSRS Report Generation using PowerShell

This blog post is tested on SQL Server 2014 and PowerShell V5.

PowerShell has become more feature-rich in every version. We are now looking at PowerShell V5 (currently can be downloaded as part of Windows Management Framework v5 April 2015 Preview).

The support landscape with SQL Server hasn’t changed much. There isn’t a drastic increase in SQL Server cmdlets. However, the language and feature improvements in PowerShell in general improve how we can work with SQL Server.

One area where we can use PowerShell is with SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). I blogged about this a while back, but it’s time to revisit and expand on how we can use PowerShell to automate report generation.

In this blog post I will focus on generating PDF reports via scripting. Let’s tackle this piece by piece first, and we’ll put everything in a nice little script at the end of the post.

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Conversations with Impact – the importance of stories

I feel quite lucky to be working where I work. One of the things I like about working at a university is having access to a number of learning opportunities, be it credit or not-for-credit courses, or even 1 or 2 hour sessions on anything. I love learning so it’s a field day for me when I get to attend these courses or events.

Conversations with Impact

by Gareth Williams. Cuba - Havana Public Artwork. https://www.flickr.com/photos/gareth1953/15377856386/

by Gareth Williams. Cuba – Havana Public Artwork. https://www.flickr.com/photos/gareth1953/15377856386/

One session I recently attended was “Conversations With Impact”. Ms. Joanna Piros,a senior consultant with Counterpoint Communications and also faculty at UBC Sauder School of Business’s Executive Education program, was the one who delivered the one hour session.

At the beginning of the session, Ms. Piros emphasized three (3) key statements about conversations:
1. All communication is strategic
2. You must frame others before you frame yourself (I didn’t know what media framing meant before I attended this session)
3. You must tell stories

This definitely struck a chord with me because one of the courses I teach, Visual Analytics with Tableau, also revolves around telling stories with data.
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MSSQLTips: Windows Server Failover Clustering for the SQL Server DBA

You’re a SQL Server DBA and you want to learn Windows Server Failover Clustering? On April 20, 2015 MSSQLTips is hosting an online training, and you can learn from SQL Server MVP and MCM (Microsoft Certified Master) Edwin Sarmiento. Check out the details here:
http://www.mssqltips.com/sqlservertraining/3/windows-server-failover-clustering-for-the-sql-server-dba/

Showing Header for Text Table with Single Measure in Tableau

I had a question from one of my students tonight about how to show the header for text table with a single measure. It’s not super straightforward to do this in Tableau. You can’t simply to go the measure pill and show the header (because it doesn’t have it).

Let’s recreate the default Tableau behavior first, using Superstore Sales.
1. Double click on a dimension, for example, Product Category
2. Double click on a measure, for example, Sales

What you will get is something like this:

default behavior - no header

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Looking for someone to jumpstart your visual analytics project or prototype?

Looking for someone to jumpstart your visual analytics project or prototype?

At BCIT, we have been offering a course on Visual Analytics using Tableau to Part Time Studies students. This course is offered three terms:

  • Winter (January to March/April)
  • Spring (April to June/July)
  • Fall (September to December)

Many students who register for Part Time Studies are working professionals who are taking courses to complete additional certificates/diplomas, or for professional development, or just plain curious.

Students enrolled in the COMP 2256 class learn visual best practices, some data analysis, and visualization using Tableau Desktop. Part of this twelve (12) week course is a term project which requires data analysis and visualization around a topic of their choice. They will need to submit a series of dashboards and a final project report at the end of the term.

The project requires the students to either:

  1. look for a sponsor (could be their employer, a non-profit organization, etc) for their visual analytics project, to be presented to their peers at the end of the term
  2. look for a number of sizable public data sets that they’re interested in, and essentially create dashboards that will support their story

I encourage students to, as much as possible, choose #1. This is as “real world” as it gets. However, looking for a sponsor can become tricky and time consuming for already-working professionals, so I am hoping I can help match up my students to your projects.

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