Learning Analytics workshop

SAHELA (South African Higher Education Learning Analytics) Workshop

(In cooperation with the Stanford Learning Analytics Summer Institute)

Pretoria, South Africa, 15 September 2014

Learning analytics (LA) is becoming an increasingly important area of investigation – to recognise students who are ‘at risk’, to address the risks, and ultimately to improve student retention. Institutions are moving towards interoperability and most VLEs now build in LA capability. At Oxford we are investigating the Sakai Open Academic Analytics Initiative (OAAI) and participating in online webinars with other Sakai institutions.

Educause provides a collection of useful documentation – the Analytic Research Centre (academic analytics in higher education); a questionnaire to assess an institution’s Analytics Maturity Index; and a presentation at the forthcoming Educause conference (30 Sept 2014) about building institutional capacity to implement LA.

Questions to consider are: ‘What data is flowing in an institution?’ and ‘How can we harness it to improve student success?’ Similar questions can be asked about an institution’s VLE in terms of data about teaching and learning.

Among others, the following two case studies were presented at the workshop:

  1. University of Pretoria: first year Molecular Biology students (1600- 1800 students with three lecturers) – they use Turning Point software with ‘clickers’ for formative assessment in class, providing instant feedback to students, and reporting the statistics automatically in the VLE (clickers are preferred to mobile phones, due to poor network connectivity – students are required to buy their own clickers; in future this cost will be incorporated in student fees;
  2. Medical University of South Africa: the Student Support Referral System – a coordinated process to identify and support students at risk (academically, psychologically, socially), in collaboration with their Centre for Academic Excellence – all forms and documentation previously maintained in Excel were converted to interactive forms using Sharepoint workflows.

International activities

  1. Signals project – Purdue University – traffic light signals for three risk groups: http://www.itap.purdue.edu/studio/signals/
  2. SOLAR – Society for LA Research: www.solaresearch.org
  3. International Educational Data Mining Society: www.educationaldatamining.org
  4. Learning Analytics Masters programme (LAMP): Open Learning Analytics (OLA) initiative – see blog post by George Siemens: http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/2014/04/11/open-learning-analytics/ and http://www.solaresearch.orgfor details.
  5. There are some MOOCs on LA.
  6. LACE (LA Community Exchange) – an EU project www.laceproject.eu: SOLAR Flare event, Oct 2014
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