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Tableau Workbook Examples


Examples of visualizations created with Tableau Desktop against Canvas Data data accessed from an Amazon Redshift data source.


Having worked extensively with Crystal Reports as a consultant in a past life, I was super-excited to get my hands on Tableau Desktop and build some visualizations against Canvas Data.  Below is a collection of the the first set of Stories/Dashboards/Reports that I've built. If your Canvas Data is hosted in a Redshift database and you either use or are considering the use of Tableau, you can download the .twb files I've shared below and use against your database.

Keep in mind that I have no prior experience with Tableau so there might be better ways of compiling and presenting the visualizations.  Also, I built these against a sales demonstration site that we use at Instructure so the output against production school data may look slightly different than what is shown in the images shared below.

Requirements for Use

Upon opening the .twb file in Tableau, you will be prompted to provide a password to access the data source.  Because you don't have access to my data source, you'll need to click on the "Edit Connection" button.  Once the connection information is updated to access your Redshift data source, the reports should load without issue.


The screenshots below showcase the output of each visualization, presented within Canvas using Redirect App links within a Reports Dashboard sub-account.  This approach of sharing visualizations is possible if you've got access to Tableau Server or Tableau Online but it is not a requirement for use.  The output will load just fine in Tableau Desktop.


Description: This is actually the first report I developed.  It isn't especially compelling against our demonstration site data but does provide some good insight into enrollments.

Link to Workbook file:  1 -



Course Activity

Description: Provides a Story that steps through different visualizations of Canvas course activity that can be filtered by year.

Link to Workbook file: 2 - Course





User Activity

Description: Displays user activity by course.  When a specific course is clicked (see second image), it will provide a hyperlink to the related Canvas course for direct click-through.

Note: This Workbook makes use of a Calculated Field to build URLs.  You'll want to edit the Calculated Field(s) to point to your Canvas instance instead of Instructure's Demo site.

Link to Workbook file: 3 - User




App Usage

Description: Displays App usage in a few ways: Most popular, unapproved, redirect app usage.  The list of "unapproved apps" will need to be edited in the custom query (accessed within Tableau Desktop from the Data Source tab).

Note: This Workbook makes use of a Calculated Field to build URLs.  You'll want to edit the Calculated Field(s) to point to your Canvas instance instead of Instructure's Demo site. 

Link to Workbook file: 4 - App






Language Policy Violations

Description: This one uses a custom query that I wrote to find students and/or faculty that used inappropriate language in Discussions and Conversations.  The list of "bad words" will need to be edited in the custom query (accessed within Tableau Desktop from the Data Source tab).  It also includes a custom column where I build the URL for direct link into the specific forum where a violation occurred.  You'll want to edit the URL to point to your Canvas instance.

Link to Workbook file: 5- Policy




9 Replies
Community Member

John -

Thanks for sharing this! This is great. We are using Canvas Hosted Data and Tableau as well, and I have been intending to clean up some Tableau files to make them worth sharing. I circle back soon as the more of us start sharing, the better.


Community Member

Finally have one thing worth sharing... Check out Device Usage in Canvas Data with Tableau. Thanks​ for the nice layout idea!


Hi​ and​,

Brendan, I have downloaded your sample file and attempted to open it in Tableau but we are not using RedShift and are unable to connect.

We have all of the Canvas Data tables imported and created locally in a SQL server and are wondering if we can somehow switch the server from RedShift to SQL in order to view the results. Can you let me know if you know of a way of doing this?

John, same with your sample files as well. If there is a way of somehow switching Datasources, that would be a help.

Thanks, George

Nevada State College

Community Member

Hi​ -

Glad to hear your working with these workbooks! I am happy to help as much as I can. I know it can be troublesome to try to switch data sources from Redshift to something else as I worked with​ and his team ( and ) at University of Adelaide. Trying to edit the xml code in the Tableau workbook in order to change the data source didn't work (those workbook files can be opened in a text editor to expose the xml, but it is kind of a hacky workaround), so we ended up just re-creating the workbook once they connected to their data source. Here are screenshots of the three sheets that are in the dashboard in case that helps you figure out where to drop the pills. Perhaps with that and the SQL statement and Calculated Fields above it can be pieced together. 

That being said, I just found this support page from Tableau about changing data sources. I went through the steps and it seemed like it should work in Tableau 10.1, although I don't actually have another data source to change it to (such as SQL Server) to confirm that the change actually works. So let me know if that does the trick!

I'll be out of town until January 9th, 2017, but let's reconnect at that point to see how things are going. Thanks!

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I just wanted to quickly follow up on this.

Attempting to change the datasource from RedShift to our current data warehouse using SQL partly worked. I was able to add a new datasource but since I cannot connect through RedShift (the original datasource), it is difficult to know which tables are being used in order to replicate and it is not possible to see any of the custom SQL queries.

I did not hear back from regarding his original samples but was hoping that he would share the tables and custom queries used in each of his examples. This would allow us to connect to our local datasource and replicate each of the examples. If either of you could share these, it would be very helpful.

I've found that Tableau itself has it's learning curve which I'm working at getting around by taking some tutorials but was hoping to get a jump start using these real-world examples.

Hope you both had a great holiday break!


Community Member

Hi​ -

Popping the Device Usage question over to that thread.

Community Member

Hi John, 

Thanks for sharing this.  Much appreciated!!!




Hi John, 

My college will be soon transitioning to Canvas as our institution transitions.  We are excited at the potential Canvas seems to hold for data as we look to support our academic program administration, outcomes reporting, accreditation, etc.  Are you familiar with this type of data usage or do you use similarly in your institution? 

Community Member

Hi John,

Instructure provides a managed Redshift site with all the data from their Canvas Data portal pre-loaded for schools that subscribe.   Would you know if your Tableau queries would work against their Redshift service?