Home' Campus Technology : June 2014 Contents CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | June 2014
Second, Valdosta State (GA) shared details of its part-
nerships with Oracle in building a "more traditional" busi-
ness intelligence approach that culled data from numerous
systems feeding a data warehouse to generate automatic
alerts, triggers and events. For example, if a student is
absent or withdraws from a course, the adviser and the
academic success center will be notified to follow up.
More recent efforts have begun doing information discov-
ery by pulling data from multiple non-traditional sources
--- including social media posts and blogs, verbatim text
taken out of surveys and evaluations, engagement with
campus Web sites and data from government agencies
--- to create a complete picture of the student.
Third, Daytona State College (FL) detailed its work with
Desire2Learn in the deployment of its analytics product,
Desire2Learn Insights. The Florida school has been using
the company's LMS since 2003 and launched a framework
for measuring and reporting on outcomes in 2011.
Several Approaches for Doing Analytics
The motivation behind the discussions was to get buy-in
from institutions to forge bigger pilots and test out the
efficacy of each approach. The Oracle approach was the
toughest sell, despite the fact that the technology was
already in use within the university system. "We already
own all the licensing," noted Carver. "It's not an issue of
The shift from managing student data and courses to pre-
dicting outcomes has been a few years in the making in
Georgia. The members of the system come together on a
regular basis to share what's working and what's not. One
recent workshop offered a tech showcase, where three
campuses from both within and outside the Georgia sys-
tem talked about what they were doing to intervene to
enable student success, recalled Carver.
First, Georgia State talked about its work with Education
Advisory Board (EAB), a research and consulting firm that
works with higher ed executives to address major perfor-
mance challenges. According to a document about the proj-
ect, in 2012 the institution went live with a Web-based
"Graduation and Progression Success" (GPS) advising sys-
tem that tracks 30,000 students nightly on more than 700
markers that identify academic risk factors. Some of those
markers apply to all students, some to specific majors; each
alerting advisers when a student has taken some action that
puts him at risk. Since then the school has begun adding a
parallel group of markers based on financial risk factors. The
impact overall has been dramatic. In 2013, as a result of the
GPS advising system and a number of other initiatives, the
institutional graduation rate climbed 5.1 points over the pre-
vious two years, even as the student population grew in size,
diversity and economic disadvantage.
From 'Body Count' to Intervention
Now, a new use is being written for the information main-
tained within that LMS: powering predictive analytics, the use
of data to monitor and predict behaviors and recommend
actions to achieve preferred outcomes. For example, analyt-
ics may indicate that a student who fails to show up two
times during the first two weeks of class has a greater chance
of withdrawing or failing altogether. Knowing that, a school
can put strategies in place to change the potential outcome.
That's a far cry from the way schools are used running their
operations. "I'm an old military officer," Carver likes to say.
"The older systems we had were great 'body count' systems.
They could tell us how many students were dead at the end
of the semester. You'd go run something in the [student infor-
mation system] and figure out what happened in retrospect.
We'd rather figure out as it's going on and be able to inter-
vene so that students can successfully complete the course."
Carver likened this latest objective to a Gartner chart:
"The dots are your students, and the dots move during the
semester. The idea is to get all the kids up into the 'Magic
Quadrant' and let them complete the course successfully."
Predictive analytics, he explained, "allows the instructors
and support staff to intervene and do the advising, com-
munications and support necessary to figure out what's
going on with that individual student, so we can enable
Links Archive May 2014 July 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page