Survey of the State of Analytics in UK HE and FE institutions

Link: Survey of the State of Analytics in UK Higher and Further Institutions 2013 (pdf).
Link: Survey of the State of Analytics in UK Higher and Further Institutions 2013 (MS Word docx).

An informal survey was undertaken by Cetis in May and June 2013. Subscribers to a number of email circulation lists – with members coming largely from institutional IT, administration and educational technology responsibilities – were invited to respond.
The purpose of the survey was to:

  • Assess the current state of analytics in UK FE/HE.
  • Identify the challenges and barriers to using analytics.

Chart showing reported data sources for analytics

Chart showing reported data sources for analytics

For the purpose of the survey, we defined our use of “analytics” to be the process of developing actionable insights through problem definition and the application of statistical models and analysis against existing and/or simulated future data. In practical terms, it involves trying to find out things about an organisation, its products services and operations, to help inform decisions about what to do next.
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Cetis Analytics Series: Case Study, Acting on Assessment Analytics

Link: Cetis Analytics Series Vol 2, No 2. Acting on Assessment Analytics (pdf)
Link: Cetis Analytics Series Vol 2, No 2. Acting on Assessment Analytics (MS Word docx)

Over the past five years, as part of its overall developments in teaching and learning, The University of Huddersfield has been active in developing new approaches to assessment and feedback methodologies. This has included the implementation of related technologies such as e-submission and marking tools.

In this case study Dr Cath Ellis shares with us how her interest in learning analytics began and how she and colleagues are making practical use of assessment data both for student feedback and overall course design processes.
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Cetis Analytics Series: Case Study, Engaging with Analytics

Link: Cetis Analytics Series Vol 2, No 1. Case Study, Engaging with Analytics
Link: Cetis Analytics Series Vol 2, No 1. Case Study, Engaging with Analytics (MS Word .docx)

Jean Mutton, Student Experience Project Manager, University of Derby, shares with us some approaches she has been spearheading in terms of using data and analytics to help improve the student experience. Through their participation in Jisc development programmes, Jean and her team (including paid student interns) have taken a service design approach that focuses on the needs of end user first.

This case study explores the wider issues around using data to inform decision making, and the strategies the University of Derby are developing to improve their student enhancement processes by addressing key questions such as:

  • What is actually happening to students, how can we find out?
  • What are the touch points with between students and the institution?
  • What are the institutional “digital footprints” of our students?
  • What really matters to our students?

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CETIS Analytics Series: Institutional Readiness for Analytics

Link: CETIS Analytics Series Vol 1, No 8. Institutional Readiness for Analytics (pdf)
Link: CETIS Analytics Series Vol 1, No 8. Institutional Readiness for Analytics (docx)

This briefing paper is written for managers and early adopters in further and higher education who are thinking about how they can build capability in their institution to make better use of data that is held on their IT systems about the organisation and provision of the student experience. It will be of interest to institutions developing plans, those charged with the provision of analytical data, and administrators or academics who wish to use data to inform their decision making. The document identifies the capabilities that individuals and institutions need to initiate, execute, and act upon analytical intelligence.

For the purpose of this paper, the term Learning Analytics (LA) is used to cover these activities using the definition of:

Analytics is the process of developing actionable insights through problem definition and the application of statistical models and analysis against existing and/or simulated future data. (CETIS, 2012)

The proposition behind learning analytics is not new. In the school sector particularly, good teaching practice has long involved record keeping with pen and paper and the analysis and reflection on this data to inform courses of action, and more recently using technology. Similarly, in different ways, all higher education (HE) and further education (FE) institutions use data to inform their decision making in assessment boards and course committees. However, as institutions increasingly use technology to mediate, monitor, and describe teaching, learning and assessment through Virtual Learning Evironments (VLEs) and other systems, it becomes possible to develop ‘second generation’ learning analytics. The large data sets being acquired are increasingly amenable to new techniques and tools that lower the technical and cost barrier of undertaking analytics. This allows institutions to experiment with data to gain insight, to improve the student learning experience and student outcomes, and identify improvements in efficiencies and effectiveness of provision.

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CETIS Analytics Series: Analytics; what is changing and why does it matter?

Link: CETIS Analytics Series Vol 1, No 1. Analytics; What is Changing and Why Does it Matter? (pdf)

This paper provides a high level overview to the CETIS Analytics Series. The series explores a number of key issues around the potential strategic advantages and insights which the increased attention on, and use of, analytics is bringing to the education sector. It is aimed primarily at managers and early adopters in Further and Higher Education who have a strategic role in developing the use of analytics in the following areas:

  • Whole Institutional Issues,
  • Ethical and Legal Issues,
  • Learning and Teaching,
  • Research Management,
  • Technology and Infrastructure.

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The Semantic Web, Linked and Open Data

Link: Download PDF

Summary: This briefing paper provides a high level overview of key concepts relating to the Semantic Web, semantic technologies, linked and open data; along with references to relevant examples and standards. The briefing is intended to provide a starting point for those within the teaching and learning community who may have come across the concept of semantic technologies and the Semantic Web but who do not regard themselves as experts and wish to learn more. The examples and links are intended as starting points for further exploration.

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Distributed Learning Environments

Link: Distributed Learning Environments (pdf).

Summary: After a period of relative stability and deeper embedding, the debate about the role and function of the VLE (virtual learning environment)
within the institution is gathering pace again. Many institutions in the UK
are in the process of reviewing their current VLE provision in the light of
changing pedagogical requirements, more administrative integration and the emergence of new classes of social media on the wider web.

In the past, the requirement for deeper integration with other (administrative) systems gave rise to the MLE (managed learning environment) concept. Later, the demand for greater personalisation and the availability of new web tools gave birth to the PLE (personal learning
environment) debate, in which people radically re- conceptualised the notion of a learning environment. During these phases, however, the VLE still remained a dominant force within institutions. This has resulted in a tension between the role of the VLE as a common tool for the institutional community, the desire to make it permeable to the institutional network and the wider web and to allow greater levels of personalization / customization for individuals and institutions.

A number of working solutions are now emerging to address these tensions. This briefing paper will explore five emerging models, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each and link to working examples and further sources of information.

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Open Educational Resources – Opportunities and Challenges for Higher Education

Link: Open Educational Resources – Opportunities and Challenges for Higher Education (pdf)

Higher education institutions around the world have been using the Internet and other digital technologies to develop and distribute teaching and learning for decades. Recently, Open Educational Resources (OER) have gained increased attention for their potential and promise to obviate demographic, economic, and geographic educational boundaries and to promote life-long learning and personalised learning. The rapid growth of OER provides new opportunities for teaching and learning, at the same time, they challenge established views about teaching and learning practices in higher education.
This briefing provides the background to the current development of and future trends around OER aimed at adding to our understanding, stimulating ongoing debate among the JISC community and developing a research agenda. The briefing is structured in three sections:

  • Discussion on the conceptual and contextual issues of Open Educational Resources.
  • A review of current OER initiatives: their scale, approaches, main issues and challenges.
  • Discussion on trends emerging in Open Educational Resources, with respect to future research and activities.

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