Power BI: Data Wrangling and Fish

Danielle Degiorgio, Digital and Information Literacy Project Adviser, Edith Cowan University Library
Sue Khoo, Librarian (Digital and Information Literacy), Edith Cowan University Library

What is Power BI?

Power BI is a Microsoft data visualisation tool that displays data in an easy-to-read format and allows users to interact and show relationships between different data sets.

Why Power BI?

Our goal was simple, we wanted to connect the mapping of digital and information literacy skills across the course curriculum to the teaching and learning activities we were doing each semester. We just had one problem, we were recording our data and statistics in multiple spreadsheets.

As luck would have it, the 2021 VALA Tech Camp was hosted at Edith Cowan University Library that year and we were introduced to Power BI through a series of workshops. Soon after we decided to use Power BI to help us keep track of student statistics in a more visually appealing way and it let us connect multiple sources of data. This meant we could compare, filter, and visualise relationships between multiple spreadsheets which allowed us, and more importantly our manager, to see our progress across courses.

Power BI: Visualisation of mapped digital and information literacy skills in courses.

Things we got Power BI to do:

  • Connect information from multiple spreadsheets to show how much digital and information literacy skills coverage we have in each course. 
  • Filter and display subsets of data. 
  • Be hosted in Microsoft Teams for ease of access where the report can be shared and displayed as a tab in Teams. 
  • Automatically update data from SharePoint, so having all our sheets hosted on SharePoint / Microsoft Teams mean we can easily add data into the model. Our Power BI reads directly from SharePoint files and updates at 9am every day.

Skills: What magic do you need?

  • Spreadsheet and table management – Power BI relies on external data. You must have the data cleaned and stored in a data source such as Excel (or databases such as Salesforce or Access).
  • Logic and relationship management – Connections can be 1-1 and 1-many but only one model may exist at a time. If there are conflicts Power BI will complain.
  • Ability to play with formulas and data types – If you need a relationship that isn’t expressed in the Power BI map you will need to learn to write the formula for it.
  • How to put together a graph – Knowing what graph suits your needs be it a scatter plot, ribbon chart, pie chart, or fish.
  • Professional Google skills – If something goes wrong, be ready to Google it!

Pitfalls: What to watch out for

  • A lot of trial and error and Googling – No training will prepare you for what you want to do. There may be things you want to do but Power BI only gives you the basic tools. You will have to build what you want from there.
  • Broken or dirty data – Power BI relies on relationships between different tables and inputs to build the model. If a piece of information is missing and if that is the connection in the model, it will skip that line. This has resulted in expectations not meeting what was displayed.
  • Know your data story – Power BI does not do data interpretation. You need to know what you want to tell. This is one of the main issues on the final display of information.
  • Permissions – Our shared spreadsheets and the dashboard were stored in places where we didn’t have full access to use. Arrange the files so each input has the right permissions to do SharePoint integration.

How do you get started?

But what about the fish?

The most important thing to remember is to be creative and have fun with your data!  

Power BI: Number of students seen per School using the Enlighten Aquarium visual. Enlighten Aquarium won a people’s choice award for the ‘Power BI Best Visual’ contest in 2016.

Creating video templates for shorter lead times and greater consistency in library tutorials

by Nicholas Rowsell, Digital Library Programs Officer, University of Newcastle Library

A challenge in creating anything across a team, or to a greater extent an institution, is ensuring that when content is created there is a consistent design language, and when adhering to this requirement, efficiencies are not lost.

To communicate your ideas with this purpose in mind, content should be:

  • aligned to brand positioning,
  • consistent between digital objects,
  • as equitable and accessible as possible
  • solutions should match your team’s abilities
  • lean into established processes when adding something new.


In wanting to establish new processes for the creation of a video tutorial series for the University of Newcastle Library, these were the considerations we had to address.   

Our solution was to create a series of templates for video creation programs such as Powtoon and Microsoft PowerPoint. By providing content creators with a series of template slides they are quickly and easily able to copy a slide and insert the content they need to present, with all the animations, transitions, and formatting completed for them ahead of time. All that is then required is for the team member to render the slides to create a video. The positive implications of this are that videos are highly sustainable and scalable, as content can be edited or updated on the slides and re-rendered as needed to reflect an updated syllabus, changes in technology or services, and so on.

So how did this solution come about?

Alignment with brand positioning

Our priority in creating a new video series was to align the look and feel of content to the University’s Brand Guidelines. This meant ensuring that our team members used the correct typography, colours, shapes, and images.

We quickly identified this as a pain point as the time taken to set up a file, create a design, then undertake a quality assurance check distracted from the goal of the content being created and released.

This is where our solution to create video templates first came about.

Leaning into existing practices

One of the first lessons learnt in our solution was to lean into what the team was already doing and what they were familiar with. This was done by learning from our mistakes and pivoting where needed. Our first approach was to implement the template solution in Microsoft PowerPoint; we did this as we knew the team had great digital capabilities with this program so that asking them to perform a new process in the application was straightforward.

What we overlooked was that the team was already very invested in using PowToon for video creation.  This did not create a major roadblock, however, as we were able simply to import the templates from PowerPoint into PowToon.  But time could have been saved had we been more perceptive to our team’s existing preferences from the get-go.

One solution leading to opportunities for continuous improvement

With greater efficiencies created, the team become time richer. This, in turn, presented an opportunity to introduce consistent practices. This opportunity was to make our videos more equitable and accessible, by adding in Closed Captions embedded within the videos, to aid students who don’t have English as a first language, or have a hearing impairment.  We can also introduce the use of Alternative Text sheets for download in the notes field below the videos, which can be used by screen readers.

A scalable, sustainable solution for higher quality resources

As our development of videos as digital learning objects continues, the team can rely on the sustainability and scalability of the slides to easily update content which is engaging and relevant, ensuring we can continue in our endeavour to provide high quality online information literacy resources.

Creating interactive content with H5P

By Marianne Sato, Digital Content Specialist, University of Queensland Library, m.sato@library.uq.edu.au

What is H5P?

H5P is an open-source, online tool for creating and sharing interactive content that can be embedded into different platforms. You can use H5P to create engaging content using a range of multimedia and interactivity. At the University of Queensland Library, H5P had all the features we wanted for creating learning objects: 

Checklist icon
  • Easy to embed and reuse
  • Accessible
  • Flexible – able to chunk content into sections and add a range of formats
  • Allows the inclusion of interactive elements to increase engagement
  • Trackable – response data can be tracked in the Learning Management System (LMS).

Checklist icon by Popcorn Arts on the Noun Project.

The interactivity in H5P helps to increase engagement with the content and retention of key information and allows for immediate feedback to learner’s responses. You can use it to assess student learning or to gather response data to learn more about students’ understanding of the content. You can enable a Confusion Indicator in the H5P content to: 

  • know what areas students may be having trouble understanding. 
  • improve content to address areas of difficulty.

We also link to a feedback form in our learning objects as an additional method for gathering feedback to help improve our content. 

Using H5P

First time users of H5P may feel a bit overwhelmed by all the different options but once you experiment a bit and try things out it will soon seem easy.  We recommend downloading some examples as it allows you to see which parts in the edit view match the public view. H5P.org has tutorials for the different content types. All H5P content types are open-source and shared on H5P.org. These are some examples of content types that we use at the University of Queensland: 

Accessibility

Content types recommendations by H5P.com lists the accessibility of different content types and other limitations. Meeting accessibility requirements also depends on the content you add to your object. For example, images must be sufficiently described in alt text and captions and video should have captions and transcripts. 

Sharing H5P content

H5P content can be:

  • Cloned or copied within a platform. This makes it easy to adapt the content for different audiences. 
  • Downloaded from one platform and imported into another (if the user makes it available for others to use). This is great for creating Open Educational Resources. Look out for a Reuse option on the H5P object. 

Access to H5P

H5P content can be added to any publishing platform that allows embedded content. Users can choose to pay for a hosting and support service or host the content themselves. H5P.com provides a paid hosting and support service for:

  • Direct link or embed – You create and store your content on H5P.com and link or embed it in your publishing platform. 
  • H5P via Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) – You can integrate your H5P content with your LMS, including Blackboard, Canvas and Moodle. 

The LTI integration for your LMS provides reports on activity completion and learner responses (depending on the content type). It can also be linked with the LMS Grade system.

Users can self-host H5P content and use free plugins for Drupal, WordPress and Moodle. Institutionally-provided Pressbooks publishing networks also have a H5P plug-in.

Limitations of H5P

While many things are great about H5P it does have some limitations:

  • It is difficult to get response data without an LTI. Having a feedback form helps to gather some data from users and the Confusion Indicator will return anonymous responses. 
  • The cloning procedure for adding H5P content to the LMS means that many different versions of the content exist. We try to ensure we are added as collaborators to each cloned version of the object and to keep a record of where our H5P objects are used so that we can inform users of updates. 

Try our H5P crossword!

Direct link to the H5P Crossword.

Images used in the crossword

Students are told not to use Wikipedia for research. But it’s a trustworthy source

by Rachel Cunneen, Senior Lecturer in English and Literacy Education, Student Success and LANTITE coordinator, University of Canberra and Mathieu O’Neil, Associate Professor of Communication, News and Media Research Centre, University of Canberra

Disclaimer: This post was originally published in The Conversation under a Creative Commons licence and is used with the authors’ permission.

At the start of each university year, we ask first-year students a question: how many have been told by their secondary teachers not to use Wikipedia? Without fail, nearly every hand shoots up. Wikipedia offers free and reliable information instantly. So why do teachers almost universally distrust it?

Wikipedia has community-enforced policies on neutrality, reliability and notability. This means all information “must be presented accurately and without bias”; sources must come from a third party; and a Wikipedia article is notable and should be created if there has been “third-party coverage of the topic in reliable sources”.

Wikipedia is free, non-profit, and has been operating for over two decades, making it an internet success story. At a time when it’s increasingly difficult to separate truth from falsehood, Wikipedia is an accessible tool for fact-checking and fighting misinformation.

Why is Wikipedia so reliable?

Many teachers point out that anyone can edit a Wikipedia page, not just experts on the subject. But this doesn’t make Wikipedia’s information unreliable. It’s virtually impossible, for instance, for conspiracies to remain published on Wikipedia.

For popular articles, Wikipedia’s online community of volunteers, administrators and bots ensure edits are based on reliable citations. Popular articles are reviewed thousands of times. Some media experts, such as Amy Bruckman, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s computing centre, argue that because of this painstaking process, a highly-edited article on Wikipedia might be the most reliable source of information ever created.

Traditional academic articles – the most common source of scientific evidence – are typically only peer-reviewed by up to three people and then never edited again.

Less frequently edited articles on Wikipedia might be less reliable than popular ones. But it’s easy to find out how an article has been created and modified on Wikipedia. All modifications to an article are archived in its “history” page. Disputes between editors about the article’s content are documented in its “talk” page.

To use Wikipedia effectively, school students need to be taught to find and analyse these pages of an article, so they can quickly assess the article’s reliability.

Is information on Wikipedia too shallow?

Many teachers also argue the information on Wikipedia is too basic, particularly for tertiary students. This argument supposes all fact-checking must involve deep engagement. But this is not best practice for conducting initial investigation into a subject online. Deep research needs to come later, once the validity of the source has been established.

Still, some teachers are horrified by the idea students need to be taught to assess information quickly and superficially. If you look up the general capabilities in the Australian Curriculum, you will find “critical and creative thinking” encourages deep, broad reflection. Educators who conflate “critical” and “media” literacy may be inclined to believe analysis of online material must be slow and thorough.

Study set up with open laptop, open book, pen and coffee mug
Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Yet the reality is we live in an “attention economy” where everyone and everything on the internet is vying for our attention. Our time is precious, so engaging deeply with spurious online content, and potentially falling down misinformation rabbit holes, wastes a most valuable commodity – our attention.

Wikipedia can be a tool for better media literacy

Research suggests Australian children are not getting sufficient instruction in spotting fake news. Only one in five young Australians in 2020 reported having a lesson during the past year that helped them decide whether news stories could be trusted.

Our students clearly need more media literacy education, and Wikipedia can be a good media literacy instrument. One way is to use it is with “lateral reading”. This means when faced with an unfamiliar online claim, students should leave the web page they’re on and open a new browser tab. They can then investigate what trusted sources say about the claim.

Wikipedia is the perfect classroom resource for this purpose, even for primary-aged students. When first encountering unfamiliar information, students can be encouraged to go to the relevant Wikipedia page to check reliability. If the unknown information isn’t verifiable, they can discard it and move on.

More experienced fact-checkers can also beeline to the authoritative references at the bottom of each Wikipedia article.

In the future, we hope first-year university students enter our classrooms already understanding the value of Wikipedia. This will mean a widespread cultural shift has taken place in Australian primary and secondary schools. In a time of climate change and pandemics, everyone needs to be able to separate fact from fiction. Wikipedia can be part of the remedy.


Would you like to contribute to our blog?

If you have ideas, or if you would like to contribute posts directly, drop us a line at DigitalDexterityBlog@caval.edu.au.

Being digitally copyright dextrous: stock video content

by Anthony O’Brien, Copyright Advisor, University of Newcastle. Contact: copyright@newcastle.edu.au

Vector graphic image of man in a shirt and tie standing next to a Copyright icon

This is the third post in a series that will look at considerations for copyright as part of being digitally dexterous.  Copyright is an important consideration when reusing any content. 

Stock videos are becoming more important as creators look to change up the materials they provide for learners and clients.  There are a number of ‘free’ stock video sites that make content available for reuse.  This post will discuss copyright/licensing and other important considerations when choosing a site.

What to look for in a stock video site?

  • Quality/resolution – Your needs may vary, but aim for videos of the highest quality possible (min. 720p).  Some sites will offer 4K resolution, but you may find a trade-off with the selection of videos available.
  • Video format – most sites provide MP4 files, but some offer alternate formats.  Consider the creation or editing software you have available.  Converting files between formats can cause loss of quality.
  • Licensing – ‘Free’ licensing can vary wildly.  Certain licences may not allow you to post to YouTube, for example, but internal use/hosting could be OK.
  • Look/feel – a number of sites are either difficult to navigate, have limited searching/filtering options, or swamp site users with ads.
  • Selection – Video collections can vary so do some test searches to see what might be a good fit.  Having a few sites bookmarked will help as you may not find the ‘perfect’ site for all of your searching needs.

Looking for videos that are ‘ready-to-use’

While Creative Commons (CC) licensing is still common for some video content, the majority of stock video sites apply their own licensing that can have additional caveats for re-use.  Some require particular attribution or copyright statements, so always check what you’ll need to do for their video content.  At the end of this post are four recommended stock video sites to help get you started. 

How should I provide attribution for videos that I use?

This will vary based on the licensing – always check if there is a required statement to provide credit or a link.  Some sites do not require attribution, but appreciate it where possible to include.

Where you are adding credit, you could do this on a short-duration slide at the end of your video content.  If posting to YouTube, adding links in the Description field is good practice.  Some creation platforms, such as H5P, include a ‘rights’ option to collect and showcase this information.

What if I’m adding a Creative Commons licence to my final work?

Where external content forms part of your work, when attaching CC licensing you should also add a copyright (or ownership) statement for any re-used or reproduced content.  By adding these statements (in addition to your CC licensing information) users will have a clearer understanding of what content is outside any CC licensing applied to the work. Your institution’s copyright office may be able to assist with this.

Four recommended sites:

  • Mixkit – searching is easy and there is great filtering by category.  Videos tend to have useful framing (left- or right-aligned) that allows for easy addition of text or other materials over the video content.  Many videos have free licensing where attribution is not required (but is appreciated).  Note: there are some videos with ‘restricted’ non-commercial licensing that doesn’t allow for posting to YouTube due to the ability to monetise videos.
  • Pixabay – one of the best sites around for free media.  Lots of different videos and a great choice if you’re looking for abstract or ‘interesting’ video backdrops.  Free licensing, where attribution is not required (but is appreciated). 
  • Coverr.co – this site often creates topical collections based on what’s happening in the world, e.g. working from home, cryptocurrency, etc.  Also offers vertical videos for social media.  Free licensing, where attribution is not required (but is appreciated). 
  • Dareful – Video footage in 4K resolution.  Lots of landscapes and drone footage, but other collections are growing.  Videos are licensed under CC BY 4.0, so attribution is always required.

Copyright and Digital Dexterity: Re-usable content 1 – Images

by Anthony O’Brien, Copyright Advisor, University of Newcastle Library

This is the second post in a planned series that will look at considerations for copyright as part of being digitally dexterous.  

Images are one of the more common content types that creators like to include in their materials and OER but can be problematic for re-use. 

Why shouldn’t I just do a Google image search? 

Images found via Google search can have varied copyright permissions. Exceptions in your country’s copyright legislation may not cover re-use in an ‘open’ environment, meaning that you may need to either rely on licensing or permissions for your re-use.  

Looking for images that are ‘ready-to-use’ 

To simplify things, aim to use open content made available under Creative Commons (CC) or similar free licensing.  Some content may require attribution or a copyright statement for re-use, so always check what you need to do to be able to re-use images.  At the end of the post are four recommended image sites to help get you started. 

Why are these licensed images so useful? 

The majority of images you find online will be copyrighted.  Depending on your intended use, you may inadvertently infringe if you just take something and re-use it.  Where image content already has licensing attached, it is clearer what you can (and can’t) do with it. 

What if I need to seek permission for an image? 

Where you find an image that you absolutely ‘must’ re-use (and assuming it is not already appropriately licensed), you may be able to gain permission from the copyright owner for your planned re-use.  Look for a contact email (or form), and spell out what your plans for the content are (MOOC or other educational use? Blog or another web use? Commercial use?).  Your institution’s copyright office may be able to assist with this process.   

You should include a copyright statement for this re-used content, to be clear that it is outside of any licensing you might apply to your materials or OER. 

Four recommended sites: 

  • Pixabay – one of the best sites around for free media.  Includes great vector graphics.  Free licensing, where attribution is not required (but is appreciated).   
  • Unsplash – great site for images not included in Pixabay.  Images are tagged well, so searching is easy.  Free licensing, where attribution is not required (but is appreciated).   
  • Freerange Stock – up-and-coming site with some very artistic-looking images.  Free licensing, where attribution is not required (but is appreciated).  Some Public Domain content.   
  • WikiMedia Commons – contributions include options not covered in the others here, including artworks, etc.  Licensing varies, including CC and Public Domain – check any requirements for re-use. 

Being digitally copyright dextrous?

By Anthony O’Brien, Copyright Advisor, University of Newcastle Library

Cartoon image of a man with a speech bubble, containing a copyright icon

This is the first post in a planned series that will look at considerations for copyright as part of being digitally dextrous.  

When you download or use something from the web, do you actually stop to think about who owns the copyright and how you can use it?  It’s fair to say that most people don’t, and this can lead to issues later. 

But content on the web is in the public domain, right?

There’s a big difference between being publicly available and actual ‘Public Domain’ (capital letters) in terms of copyright.  Just because you can access it for free, doesn’t mean that the copyright owner will allow you to take it and use it however or wherever you like… [insert sad face here] 

Being copyright literate

When we have conversations around digital dexterity, things like ‘media literacy’ and ‘information literacy’ are usually included, but the considerations rarely extend to copyright literacy.  After all, if someone were going to, for example, remix content, true digital dexterity should also mean that they would understand what they could then do with that remixed content.  This is where a basic level of copyright literacy becomes just as important as the more recognised elements of digital dexterity. 

‘Fair use’ versus ‘fair dealing’

Part of the issue is misunderstandings around how copyright works internationally – there isn’t one system worldwide.  When users search for copyright information online, it’s inevitably something about ‘fair use’ that they find.  As Frank Ponte noted in his post on OER, ‘fair use’ is part of U.S. copyright law and is different to legislation we have here.  ‘Fair use’ tends to be broader in its application than the Australian version, ‘fair dealing’, which can cause problems.

So where can I start?

  • Look at where you’re taking your digital resources from and their potential usage issues.  Can you find appropriately-licensed alternatives (e.g. Creative Commons)? 
  • Include information on copyright and its application/s in your instruction modules and training sessions; 
  • Reach out to your institution’s copyright person and collaborate!  They might be nice (maybe definitely) and will most likely be keen to get the word out; 
  • Look out for other posts coming in this series.  Plans include images, video, music, etc., but if there’s something you’d like to see, please let us know. 

Keywords: copyright ; Creative Commons;  digital resources; fair dealing; fair use; licensing ; literacies