Recruiting and retaining students is the name of the game for a number of departments at Moraine Valley Community College. Nilkamal Shah and Aaron Roe, from the colleges’ Institutional Research and Planning department, designed a tool to help with those efforts, earning them a state award.

Using the Tableau Public tool (free data visualization software), Shah, assistant director for Institutional Research, and Roe, senior research analyst, designed a custom Moraine Valley Daily Enrollment Dashboard. They wanted to implement a visual dashboard for their office, but their options were not cost effective. Instead, they got creative and assembled a dataset for Tableau Public to read and show the information the way they needed without the use of consultants. Although that involved teaching themselves new techniques, the work paid off.

This implement displays the daily enrollment, which can be filtered to the granular level of courses and sections. Users can compare any two semesters for various courses, view specified enrollment trends over a long term and look at the unduplicated headcount on any given day. With this online device, college employees can view enrollment per their needs or specifications.

“We designed our process to update the data on a daily basis using our own tools that we then integrated with Tableau Public to make the dashboards work the way we wanted. There is a daily manual upload process involved that I do every day. So there is an extra layer of work involved to make things function,” Shah said.

The duo presented this dashboard at the 2017 Illinois Association for Institutional Research (IAIR) Forum—”Free Tableau Daily Enrollment Dashboard with Granular Filters,” which was chosen as the 2017 IAIR Best Presentation. With that honor, they were invited to share their project at the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) Forum, May 29 to June 1. The Forum is the association’s largest gathering of higher education professionals working in institutional research, assessment, planning, and related postsecondary education fields.

“The award is exciting for us to highlight the hard work and innovative ideas that our office has attempted in order to help all areas of the college better use data on a daily basis to assist in their decisions toward recruiting and retaining students,” Roe said. “There is no cost to download it so everyone, no matter what school and what budget size, could utilize and implement it. Anyone can have actionable enrollment data any day they want for up to five years.”