In 2014, I wrote a blog post in which I claimed (along with others) that analytics had reached a ‘peak of inflated expectations.’ Is the use of analytics in higher education now entering what Gartner would call the ‘trough of disillusionment’?
In 2011, Long and Siemens famously argued that big data and analytics represented “the most dramatic factor shaping the future of higher education.” Since that time, the annual NMC Horizon Report has looked forward to the year 2016 as the year when we would see widespread adoption of learning analytics in higher education. But as 2016 comes to a close, the widespread adoption of learning analytics still lies on the distant horizon. Colleges and universities are still very much in their infancy when it comes to the effective use of educational data. In fact, poor implementations and uncertain ROI have led to what Kenneth C. Green has termed ‘angst about analytics.’
As a methodology, the Gartner Hype Cycle is not without criticism. Audrey Watters, for example, takes issue with the fact that it is proprietary and so ‘hidden from scrutiny.’ Any proprietary methodology is in fact difficult to take seriously as a methodology. It should also be noted that the methodology is also improperly named, as any methodology that assumes a particular outcome (i.e. that assumes that all technology adoption trends follow the same patters) is unworthy of the term. But as a heuristic or helpful model, it is helpful way of visualizing analytics adoption in higher education to date, and it offers some helpful language for describing the state of the field. Continue reading →
Of these students, only 11% earn a bachelors degree in under 6 years. That’s compared to the rest of the population, which sees students graduate at a national rate of 55%. What this means is that 89% of first generation, low income students stop out, perpetuating a widespread pattern of socio-economic inequality.
Harassment on Twitter has been a huge problem in recent years, and the amount of poor citizenship on the platform has only increased post-election. Why has it taken so long to respond? On the one hand, it is a very hard technical problem: how can users benefit from radical openness at the same time as they are protected from personal harm? In certain respects, this is a problem with free speech in general, but the problem is even greater for Twitter as it looks to grow its user base and prepare for sale. On the other hand, Twitter insiders have said that dealing with harassment has simply not been a priority for the mostly white male leadership team. Diversity is famously bad at Twitter. A lack of diversity within an organization leads to a lack of empathy for the concerns of ‘others.’ It leads to gaps in an organization’s field of vision, since we as people naturally pursue goals that are important to us, and what is important to us is naturally a product of our own experience. Values create culture. And culture determines what is included and excluded (both people and perspectives). Continue reading →
On August 5, 2015, Dr. Timothy M. Renick, Georgia State University Vice Provost and Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success, was invited to give testimony before the U.S. Senate, as part of a series of hearings meant to inform decisions about the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
During his oral testimony, Dr. Renick described how, under the leadership of President Mark Becker, Georgia State University had made a commitment to developing a model that would see students from all backgrounds succeed at high rates. Through programs like Panther Retention Grants — an initiative that distributes one-time micro grants to students who are on track for graduation, but who have small amounts of unmet need that present obstacles to progression — and GPS Advising — a system that uses predictive analytics to identify students at risk and that provides advisors with the intelligence necessary to get those students back on track — Georgia State University has seen a 22 point increase in graduation rates over the last ten years, and a complete elimination of all achievement gaps on the basis on race, ethnicity, and economics.