Bringing Real World BI Experience into the Classroom

by | Apr 13, 2016 | General BI

Reading Time: 4 minutes

woman typing on computerEditor’s note: Today’s blog post has been written by Maria Lehoczky of Polk State College, a Dimensional Insight customer. Polk State is currently using Diver in the classroom to provide students with a real world BI experience. We are sharing Maria’s story so our blog readers can see an interesting use of Diver.

In education, it’s one thing to speak theoretically to students about technologies they will need in the workplace, and altogether a different thing for them to actually use those technologies themselves in the classroom.

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At Polk State College, we want all of our students in our Business Information Technology program to graduate having had hands-on experience, prepared for a career in information technology. The type of skills we expect them to learn can be broken down into four primary objectives:

  • To be able to serve as a liaison between the information technology and business divisions of a company
  • To apply an understanding of the business process in order to gather, perform, analyze, and submit information to support business objectives
  • To determine how information technology can support managerial decision-making and problem-solving
  • To be able to formulate effective business intelligence data models and design system solutions, and integrate them into a sustainable business model

That’s why when we had the opportunity to use Dimensional Insight’s Diver Platform in the classroom, we knew it would be a perfect way for students to get the hands-on experience that they will need to succeed post-graduation.

Forming a partnership

We were able to form a partnership with Dimensional Insight through one of our advisory board members who works at Florida’s Natural Growers, a Dimensional Insight customer.

Dimensional Insight trained our administrators and instructors in how to use the Diver Platform and how to incorporate it into their classes. Dimensional Insight provided our students with ProDiver, an interface that allows analysts to dive down into data to make more informed business decisions. It also provided us with NetDiver, an online interface that would enable us to provide our off-campus and hybrid students with a way to access the analytics.

Diver in the classroom

Students in Management Information Systems, a senior-level course, were the first to work with the Diver Platform in Spring 2013. Their project consisted of four parts, each of which exposed them to a different part of Diver.

The first part of the project included an explanation of NetDiver. Students were provided with resources from Dimensional Insight including a glossary of terms and definitions and a NetDiver tutorial. The first two chapters of the tutorial walked students through different scenarios using sample data to help them become familiar with the program. Each part of the project included screenshots of instructions to help the students learn how to use NetDiver as quickly as possible, since students were on a short timeline.

Each student was assigned a unique task so learning outcomes were different for everyone, and so instructors knew students were learning the software on their own. The project culminated in a business case scenario, where students had to apply the information gathered in the previous parts of the project to develop an answer for the business case, and present the answer in a graph to visually display the result in a report.

We are currently using the Diver Platform in two classes, and in Fall 2016 we will start using Diver in two additional courses – Healthcare Administration Informatics and Data Warehousing Design and Creation.

In education we talk a lot about theory and how something should work, but students are not always exposed to how it actually does work. With Dimensional Insight providing Diver to us, it’s helped us meet that challenge and provide the students with the type of real world BI experience they can expect to face after leaving our school.


Maria Lehoczky
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