In remote desktop exercises, learners have to load exercise files: reports or workbooks depending on if it's a Power BI or Tableau course.

Learners can make any changes they want to the reports or workbooks, which means there are many things that can happen that we can't control for. They may remove parts of the data, clear sheets, or just leave for a day and then come back to find their virtual machine reset. This is why each exercise should have an exercise file to load corresponding to the start state of the exercise.

If students are building on top of previous exercises, at the bottom of each context section, in italic, should appear the following sentence: “If you lost progress, load the workbook n_m_keyword.pbix from the Workbooks folder on the Desktop.” where:

  • n is the chapter number

  • m is the exercise number (each exercise should have a number, increasing sequentially in order of appearance)

  • keyword is a keyword that makes it easier to identify the exercise. If there are multiple keywords, use lowercase and underscores between the words. E.g., 3_1_inner_circle.pbix.

In case the students need to open a new workbook, it should be mentioned explicitly in the first step of the exercise. E.g., Open workbook 1_1_loading_workbooks.pbix.

Guidelines and user experience impact

The learners will be taking the course on a virtual machine in a browser, and this is an important aspect to consider when building the course.


Each individual dataset behind an exercise file should be a maximum 10MB. This is significantly smaller than most datasets, but it reduces the lag for students taking the course on a virtual machine and shouldn’t have any influence on the exercise. The total size of all datasets (fact + dimension tables) behind a workbook should be a maximum 20MB.


We don’t know on which devices/screens the learners are taking the courses, so to be safe we want to create a good user experience on a 13-inch laptop. Because of this, we want to avoid putting too many visualizations or too much information on the same page. Two to three visualizations are normally a good amount per page, but you can put more or less depending on the complexity of the visualizations. It's encouraged to instruct learners to add a new page when there are too many visualizations on the current page.

The text size of your BI theme should be put to 15, (instead of the normal 10) to increase the legibility of the reports.

Where to upload

In the Github repository of your course, there should be a folder named /exercises in the main directory. Upload the exercise files to this folder in the current working branch. The naming of the files should follow the naming convention described above.

DataCamp is responsible for uploading the exercise files onto the virtual machine used in courses.

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