This Week in Learning Analytics (October 11 – October 17, 2014)

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Personified Potted Plant Pic | Photograph by Timothy D. Harfield

Latest News

10 October 2014
Online and In Control: Emerging Adaptive Software Puts Faculty Members in Charge of Course Creation
Smart Sparrow, a company that produces customizable adaptive platforms, is one of seven finalists for a $20 Million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop personalized digital courseware. Smart Sparrow has worked recently with Ariel Anbar (Arizona State University) to develop a course called Habitable Worlds, which is about space exploration, climate science, and the search for life beyond earth. Unlike other adaptive learning platforms, which cause concern by seeking to make the teacher superfluous, Smart Sparrow demonstrates that it is possible to create a flexible environment that instructors can use to implement personal visions. [Read more]

10 October 2014
Ed. Data-Mining Research Effort Wins Federal Grant, Raises Privacy Questions
The National Science Foundation recently awarded a $4.8 million grant to a coalition of research universities, led by Carnegie Mellon University. “LearnSphere” will produce a data sharing infrastructure between institutions, and including third-party vendors. Although the infrastructure promises to improve predictive analytics and adaptive learning capabilities, it was also alarmed student privacy advocates, who insist that LearnSphere should be further evaluated before moving forward. [Read more]

13 October 2014
National Study Quantifies Learning Benefits for Students Using Compass Learning® Solutions
Compass Learning, a leader in learning acceleration, released the results of a national study conducted to determine the extent to which the company’s software solutions power student learning. The results conclude that students who used Compass Learning software in the 2013-14 school year were 2.3 times more likely to accelerate academically when compared with their peers, who received regular classroom instruction without the software. In addition, students who used the software grew nearly twice as much as students who did not use the software. [Read more]

14 October 2014
Successful Scandinavian seminar on learning analytics in schools
Jan Hylen provides a summary of events from the one-day seminar on learning analytics organized by LACE, Skolverket, and the Norwegian Centre for ICT in Education. [Read more]

Latest Blogs

Look who’s data mining your toddlers by Michelle Malkin
Malkin expresses concern about the profit motives of private companies as they seek to datify more and more of student lives. With special attention to TS Gold, Malkin points to an increase in testing burden placed on teachers and argues that the real benefit of big data collections is not for students, parents, or schools, but for large EdTech companies interested in selling customized learning products.

Keeping Up With… Learning Analytics by Steven J. Bell
Bell weighs the pros and cons of learning analytics, and suggests that educational data be used only to the extent that student data privacy is maximally protected

Why Wearables Are the New Gateways to Human Knowledge by Toni Fuhrman
Interview with Emory Craig (The College of New Rochelle) and Maya Georgieva (New York University’s Stern School of Business) about the future of wearable technologies in the classroom. Craig views wearables and learning analytics as complementarily symptomatic of the progressive move toward personalization. Absent, however, is any comment on the extent to which universities will have the ability to track wearable technology use. Regardless, the biggest challenge facing institutions right now is the ability to support the expanding constellation of such devices.

Using Data to Improve Student Success by Paul Prinsloo
A reprint of a post originally published in World University News. Prinsloo summarizes the state of learning analytics in South African Universities, through a review of various strategies being employed, specific projects, and efforts to ensure that student data are used ethically and transparently.

The Benefits of Learning Analytics by Rebecca Glasgow
Glasgow describes how she uses the built-in analytics found in Google Blogger (including page views, geolocation data, and page referrals) to assess engagement within a distributed online learning environment.

Embracing the chaos of data: Pete Warden on the upside of unstructured data. by Audrey Watters
In conversation with Pete Warden on the quest for perfection through structured data. Structured data is always better, says Warden, but it is in short supply relative to the bounty of unstructured data that surrounds us.

Twitter Archeology of the Learning Analytics Community by Bodong Chen
Fascinating ‘twitter archaeology,’ produced through applying various forms of analysis to twitter archives from past iterations of the Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference (LAK)

Positivism and Big Data by Stephen Downes
Agreeing with the critique of data science as positivism, Downes disagrees with the the ways in which positivism is understood. Downes argues that an accurate understanding of positivism allows for a more damning criticism of data science: “big data is transforming deeply contextual data into context-free data. Any principles derived from such data are thereby impacted.”

Recent Publications

Group Learning Assessment: Developing a Theory-Informed Analytics
Xing, W; Wadholm, R; Petakovic, E; Goggins, S

Assessment in Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) is an implicit issue, and most assessments are summative in nature. Process-oriented methods of assessment can vary significantly in their indicators and typically only partially address the complexity of group learning. Moreover, the majority of these assessment methods require time-intensive coding of qualitative data. Our study explores the operationalization of activity theory to frame group activity in a CSCL context by breaking group work into six dimensions. We map log data generated by a collaborative software, Virtual Math Teams with Geogebra, with these dimensions and construct six measures. This step lays the groundwork for automating CSCL assessment. Next, we move beyond identification and analysis of those measures to infer group learning using human judgment and employ a clustering algorithm to categorize groups with similar performance, allowing us to consider the six indicators simultaneously and to step further toward assessment automation. Last, in terms of the complexity of group learning in a socio-technical context, we discuss a web-based tool that not only shows group-level assessment but also integrates with our previous work on individual assessment, thus providing teachers with a diverse of group learning.

Where is Research on Massive Open Online Courses Headed? A data analysis of the MOOC Research Initiative
Dragan Gašević, Vitomir Kovanović, Srećko Joksimović, George Siemens

This paper reports on the results of an analysis of the research proposals submitted to
the MOOC Research Initiative (MRI) funded by the Gates Foundation and administered by Athabasca University. The goal of MRI was to mobilize researchers to engage into critical interrogation of MOOCs. The submissions – 266 in Phase 1, out of which 78 were recommended for resubmission in the extended form in Phase 2, and finally, 28 funded – were analyzed by applying conventional and automated content analysis methods as well as citation network analysis methods. The results revealed the main research themes that could form a framework of the future MOOC research: i) student engagement and learning success, ii) MOOC design and curriculum, iii) self – regulated learning and social learning, iv) social network analysis and networked learning, and v) motivation, attitude and success criteria. The theme of social learning received the greatest interest and had the highest success in attracting funding. The submissions that planned on using learning analytics methods were more successful. The use of mixed methods was by far the most popular. Design – based research methods were also suggested commonly, but the questions about their applicability arose regarding the feasibility to perform multiple iterations in the MOOC context and rather a limited focus on technological support for interventions. The submissions were dominated by the researchers from the field of education (75% of the accepted proposals). Not only was this a possible cause of a complete lack of success of the educational technology innovation theme, but it could be a worrying sign of the fragmentation in the research community and the need to increased efforts towards enhancing interdisciplinarity.

Digital Engagement: Driving Student Success
Rosemary Hayes

Poor retention and completion rates symptomize the challenges colleges and universities face in their attempts to meet the needs and aspirations of diverse student populations. Early models of student attrition identified numerous student factors and characteristics that increase the likelihood a student will not complete college (i.e., at-risk characteristics). Institutions have used this information to develop programs and implement technology to target these specific factors and to mitigate risks. The functional units that provide the services and manage the data typically operate within organizational silos, however, with all the complications this separation of efforts can introduce.

Despite the benefits these risk-mitigation programs offer students, they have not significantly improved student retention and completion rates. According to Vincent Tinto and Brian Pusser, this failure indicates that we must rethink our focus on student attributes and examine how the whole organization can better engage in promoting student success. This article explores the problems underlying the college student success challenge, limitations of the current approaches, and a digital engagement strategy that institutions can implement to support improvements in student outcomes.

Calls for Papers / Participation

NEW! Third International Conference on Data Mining & Knowledge Management Process Dubai, UAE | 23-24 January, 2015 (APPLICATION DEADLINE: 31 October 2014)

Learning at Scale 2015 Vancouver, BC (Canada) | 14 – 15 March 2015 (SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 22 October 2014)

2015 Southeast Educational Data Symposium (SEEDS) Emory University (Atlanta, GA) | 20 Feb 2015 (APPLICATION DEADLINE: 14 November 2014)

11th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative
Learning: “Exploring the material conditions of learning: Opportunities and
challenges for CSCL”
 
University of Gothenburg, Sweden | 7 – 11 June 2015 (SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 17 November 2014)

28th annual Florida AI Research Symposium (FLAIRS-28) on Intelligent Learning Technologies Hollywood, Florida, USA (SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 17 November 2014)

Upcoming Global Events

20 October 2014
Data, Analytics and Learning: An introduction to the logic and methods of analysis of data to improve teaching and learning

University of Texas Arlington | EdX

Employment Opportunities

Simon Fraser University (Palo Alto, California)
Tenure Track Position In Educational Technology And Learning Design – The Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University (http://www.sfu.ca/education.html) seeks applications for a tenure-track position in Educational Technology and Learning Design at the Assistant Professor rank beginning September 1, 2015, or earlier. The successful candidate will join an existing complement of faculty engaged in Educational Technology and Learning Design, and will contribute to teaching and graduate student supervision in our vibrant Masters program at our Surrey campus and PhD program at our Burnaby campus. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: December 1, 2014

University of Technology, Sydney (Sydney, AUS)
Research Fellow: Data Scientist – We invite applications from highly motivated data scientists wishing to work in a dynamic team, creating tools to provide insight into diverse datasets within the university and beyond. We welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds, although knowledge of educational theory and practice will be highly advantageous. You are a great communicator, bringing expertise in some combination of statistics, data mining, machine learning and visualisation, and a readiness to stretch yourself to new challenges. We are ready to consider academic experience from Masters level to several years’ Post-Doctoral research, as well as candidates who have pursued non-academic, more business-focused tracks. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: Posted Until Filled

University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)
Senior Digital Media Specialist – The University of Michigan is seeking a qualified Senior Digital Media Specialist to create digital content in support of online and residential educational experiences for the Office of Digital Education & Innovation (DEI). DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: Posted Until Filled

NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education,and Human Developments Center for Research on Higher Education Outcomes (USA)
12-month postdoctoral position – available for a qualified and creative individual with interests in postsecondary assessment, learning analytics, data management, and institutional research.The Postdoctoral Fellow will be responsible for promoting the use of institutional data sources and data systems for the purpose of developing institutional assessment tools that can inform decision making and contribute to institutional improvement across New York University (NYU). DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: Open Until Filled

This Week in Learning Analytics (October 4 – October 10, 2014)

Photography by Timothy D. Harfield

Framed Pictures Reflected on Coffee Table | Photograph by Timothy D. Harfield

Latest News

10 October 2014
Big Tech Companies Pledge Student Privacy
Several of the biggest names in education technology on Tuesday will pledge new protections for student data in an effort to plug some of the loopholes in federal privacy law and fend off tighter regulation. The initiative has drawn only lukewarm reviews from privacy advocates who say the new Pledge to Safeguard Student Privacy omits key protections for children and parents. Companies signing the pledge — including Microsoft, Amplify, Edmodo, Knewton and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt — will commit to clearly disclose what type of personal information they collect about students, and for what purpose. They will promise not to sell the information or use it to target advertising at students. They’ll pledge to let parents see their children’s records and correct any errors. [Read more]

10 October 2014
Carnegie Mellon Leads New NSF Project Mining Educational Data to Improve Learning
Carnegie Mellon University will lead a five-year, $5 million early implementation project sponsored by the National Science Foundation to improve educational outcomes and advance the science of learning by creating a large, distributed infrastructure called LearnSphere that will securely store data on how students learn. [Read more]

9 October 2014
Selling School Kids’ Personal Data: Maine Lawmakers Taking Notice
Nearly everything kids do these days is recorded and tracked. Technology companies can then mine this data about students from schools and social media sites, and turn around and use it to market products to students and to their families. And Maine, like most states, has few laws in place to protect them. [Read more]

Latest Blogs

Recent Publications

Legal Issues Associated with Big Data in Higher Education: Ethical Considerations and Cautionary Tales
Jeffrey C. Sum

This chapter examines key legal, ethical, and cautionary issues associated with big Data. These topics include privacy, security, data retention, and intellectual property. The discussion of these topics illustrates that the legal environment offers guidance in practice areas for higher education administrators, yet it also draws attention to new and emerging legal challenges arising from Big Data. Given the latter, the chapter presents several legislative, regulatory, and practice recommendations, which are informed by the law yet move beyond a legal and regulatory framework and into data management strategies. This approach illuminates how the law serves as the connective intelligence to Big Data

Data Mining in Education: A Review on the Knowledge Discovery Perspective
Oratiyush Guleria & Manu Sood

Knowledge Discovery in Databases is the process of finding knowledge in massive amount of data where data mining is the core of this process. Data mining can be used to mine understandable meaningful patterns from large databases and these patterns may then be converted into knowledge.Data mining is the process of extracting the information and patterns derived by the KDD process which helps in crucial decision-making.Data mining works with data warehouse and the whole process is divded into action plan to be performed on data: Selection, transformation, mining and results interpretation. In this paper, we have reviewed Knowledge Discovery perspective in Data Mining and consolidated different areas of data mining, its techniques and methods in it.

Calls for Papers / Participation

5th International Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK) Conference Marist College (Poughkeepsie, NY) | 16-20 March 2015 (RESEARCH TRACK SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 14 October 2014, PRACTITIONER TRACK SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 3 November, 2014)

ALASI 2014: Australian Learning Analytics Summer Institute University of Technology Sydney (Sydney, AU) | 20-21 Nov 2014 (APPLICATION DEADLINE: 17 October 2014)

Learning at Scale 2015 Vancouver, BC (Canada) | 14 – 15 March 2015 (SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 22 October 2014)

2015 Southeast Educational Data Symposium (SEEDS) Emory University (Atlanta, GA) | 20 Feb 2015 (APPLICATION DEADLINE: 14 November 2014)

11th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative
Learning: “Exploring the material conditions of learning: Opportunities and
challenges for CSCL”
 
University of Gothenburg, Sweden | 7 – 11 June 2015 (SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 17 November 2014)

NEW! 28th annual Florida AI Research Symposium (FLAIRS-28) on Intelligent Learning Technologies Hollywood, Florida, USA (SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 17 November 2014)

Upcoming Global Events

20 October 2014
Data, Analytics and Learning: An introduction to the logic and methods of analysis of data to improve teaching and learning

University of Texas Arlington | EdX

Employment Opportunities

Delft Extension School (The Netherlands)
Researcher Learning Analytics – We are looking for a researcher (PhD or Postdoc level), whose research focuses on the modeling and analysis of learners and their learning processes in the context of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: 15 October 2014

University of Queensland (Australia)
Applied Learning Analyst – The Applied Learning Analyst will provide learning analytics, modelling and data visualisation support. This includes data analysis, student learner modelling, program and curriculum learning performance analytics, policy development and assistance as required to meet the University’s learning and student experience goals. This position will span all areas of the learning analytics portfolio but retain a particular focus on the modelling and analysis of student learning that support the University’s teaching and learning strategic agenda. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: 13 October 2014

NEW! Simon Fraser University (Palo Alto, California)
Tenure Track Position In Educational Technology And Learning Design – The Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University (http://www.sfu.ca/education.html) seeks applications for a tenure-track position in Educational Technology and Learning Design at the Assistant Professor rank beginning September 1, 2015, or earlier. The successful candidate will join an existing complement of faculty engaged in Educational Technology and Learning Design, and will contribute to teaching and graduate student supervision in our vibrant Masters program at our Surrey campus and PhD program at our Burnaby campus. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: December 1, 2014

NEW! University of Technology, Sydney (Sydney, AUS)
Research Fellow: Data Scientist – We invite applications from highly motivated data scientists wishing to work in a dynamic team, creating tools to provide insight into diverse datasets within the university and beyond. We welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds, although knowledge of educational theory and practice will be highly advantageous. You are a great communicator, bringing expertise in some combination of statistics, data mining, machine learning and visualisation, and a readiness to stretch yourself to new challenges. We are ready to consider academic experience from Masters level to several years’ Post-Doctoral research, as well as candidates who have pursued non-academic, more business-focused tracks. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: Posted Until Filled

NEW! University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)
Senior Digital Media Specialist – The University of Michigan is seeking a qualified Senior Digital Media Specialist to create digital content in support of online and residential educational experiences for the Office of Digital Education & Innovation (DEI). DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: Posted Until Filled

NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education,and Human Developments Center for Research on Higher Education Outcomes (USA)
12-month postdoctoral position – available for a qualified and creative individual with interests in postsecondary assessment, learning analytics, data management, and institutional research.The Postdoctoral Fellow will be responsible for promoting the use of institutional data sources and data systems for the purpose of developing institutional assessment tools that can inform decision making and contribute to institutional improvement across New York University (NYU). DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: Open Until Filled

This Week in Learning Analytics (September 26 – October 3, 2014)

Vendor floor from the 2014 EDUCAUSE conference in Orlando, FL

Vendor floor from the 2014 EDUCAUSE conference in Orlando, FL

Latest News

3 October 2014
Carnegie Mellon Leads New NSF Project Mining Educational Data To Improve Learning
Carnegie Mellon University will lead a five-year, $5 million early implementation project sponsored by the National Science Foundation to improve educational outcomes and advance the science of learning by creating a large, distributed infrastructure called LearnSphere that will securely store data on how students learn. [Read more]

1 October 2014
At Tech Trade Show, a Push to Give Colleges Better ‘Digital Intelligence’
Carnegie Mellon University will lead a five-year, $5 million early implementation project sponsored by the National Science Foundation to improve educational outcomes and advance the science of learning by creating a large, distributed infrastructure called LearnSphere that will securely store data on how students learn. [Read more]

30 September 2014
Echo360 Announces Active Learning Platform to Help Colleges and Universities Improve Learning Outcomes
The Active Learning Platform helps instructors teach more effectively with real-time analytics on student engagement, comprehension and study habits. Instructors can use the data to identify at-risk students and help improve individual student performance. Institutions can use aggregated data to help increase retention and graduation rates. Students use the Active Learning Platform to confidently master course material with 24/7 access to content and personalized study guides. [Read more]

30 September 2014
UW-Madison joins consortium to improve digital teaching and learning
The University of Wisconsin-Madison announced today that it is joining Unizin, a consortium of like-minded universities that are developing a common set of improved digital tools for teaching and learning. [Read more]

Latest Blogs

Recent Publications

Examining the Necessary Condition for Engagement in an Online Learning Environment Based on Learning Analytics Approach: The Role of the Instructor
Jing Ma, Xibin Han, Juan Yang, Jiangang Cheng

This study analyzes the impact of instructor on student engagement using learning analytics approach by tracking one university’s log data of teaching and learning activities in a web-based learning platform. Based on the tracking data and theoretical analysis, this study builds a teaching and learning interaction activity model to show how the instructor’s course preparation and assistance activities affect different dimensions of student engagement activities and the relationship between these activities. The results reveal that instructor’s course preparation is significantly positively related to students’ viewing activities, while instructor’s guidance and assistance has significant impact on students’ completing learning tasks. The study also indicates that students’ viewing activities have a direct positive influence on their completing learning tasks activities. Students’ completing learning tasks exert direct positive influence on their interaction for learning, while their viewing activities have indirect impact on their interaction activities.

Questionnaire for the assessment of factors related to university degree choice in Spanish public system: A psychometric study
Maribel Peróa, Pedro Pablo Sorianob, Roberto Capillac, Joan Guàrdia i Olmosa, Antonio Hervás

Universities are interested in attracting students, but they do not usually have data relating to students’ intentions. Furthermore, both general and subjective factors are taken into account by students when choosing a degree and a university. This paper presents a psychometric study of a questionnaire which aims to assess variables relating the aspects involved in the selection process and accessing the Spanish university system. This questionnaire considers six factors: Consideration of the University; Perceived Usefulness; Social Impact; Vocational Aspects; Influence of Surroundings and Geographic Location. The item analysis (discrimination index) reduced the questionnaire to 25 items, and the reliability and validity of this final questionnaire was analyzed using a sample of 1532 students from eight Spanish universities. The results showed that the reliability as internal consistency of the six factors was high; the construct validity showed a structure of six first order factors clustered in two second order factors and finally, there was high discriminant validity between groups defined by variables such as gender or academic area. Applying predictive analytics to the results of this questionnaire will then enable specific recruiting policies to be applied, which target the type of students that universities are looking for, while reducing costs.

The Next Step for Learning Analytics
Jinan Fiaidhi

Use of learning analytics in real-world educational applications is growing as academic institutions realize its potential, especially in dealing with the exponential growth of unstructured data. Adding text analytics to learning analytics applications is particularly appealing, because most of the unstructured data dealt with in academia involves text. This article discusses the importance of using textual analytics within the paradigm of learning analytics.

Calls for Papers / Participation

First International Workshop on Educational Knowledge Management (EKM 2014) Linköping | 24 November 2014 (SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 30 September 2014)

5th International Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK) Conference Marist College (Poughkeepsie, NY) | 16-20 March 2015 (SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 14 October 2014)

ALASI 2014: Australian Learning Analytics Summer Institute University of Technology Sydney (Sydney, AU) | 20-21 Nov 2014 (APPLICATION DEADLINE: 17 October 2014)

NEW! Learning at Scale 2015 Vancouver, BC (Canada) | 14 – 15 March 2015 (SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 22 October 2014)

2015 Southeast Educational Data Symposium (SEEDS) Emory University (Atlanta, GA) | 20 Feb 2015 (APPLICATION DEADLINE: 14 November 2014)

NEW! 11th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative
Learning: “Exploring the material conditions of learning: Opportunities and
challenges for CSCL”
 
University of Gothenburg, Sweden | 7 – 11 June 2015 (SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 17 November 2014)

Upcoming Global Events

20 October 2014
Data, Analytics and Learning: An introduction to the logic and methods of analysis of data to improve teaching and learning

University of Texas Arlington | EdX

Employment Opportunities

NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education,and Human Developments Center for Research on Higher Education Outcomes (USA)
12-month postdoctoral position – available for a qualified and creative individual with interests in postsecondary assessment, learning analytics, data management, and institutional research.The Postdoctoral Fellow will be responsible for promoting the use of institutional data sources and data systems for the purpose of developing institutional assessment tools that can inform decision making and contribute to institutional improvement across New York University (NYU). DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: Open Until Filled

NEW! Junyo Learning Analytics (Palo Alto, California)
Data Scientist – You are responsible for analyzing student learning data to provide insights, recommendations, and dashboards for students, teachers and schools. Your skills include exploratory, pattern-discovery analysis and development of robust reports that make complex data actionable and easy to understand. You know how to find or build the tools you need to be effective, and are fluent with your analysis toolset of choice. Your understanding of statistics is strong, you are very comfortable with machine learning techniques, and you know how to interpret results and determine where they are valid. You want to make a positive impact on the world, and are excited to use data analysis to improve education in classrooms across the country and around the world.DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: Open Until Filled

Boise State University (USA)
Report Developer – Drawing on both technical and analytical competencies, the Report Developer for Academic Analytics in the Office of Institutional Research will collaborate with the IR staff, data consumers, and colleagues in OIT/Business Intelligence and Reporting Services to determine requirements, design solutions, and model data. The Report Developer will perform user and data-driven research, review and verify data, and develop end-user reports. She/he will develop a broad body of data reports and conduct analytic work, with a particular focus on academic analytics, ensuring integrity, timeliness, and appropriate presentation. The Report Developer will be expected to develop collegial working relationships within the unit and across campus units; continually hone her/his technical, analytical, and problem solving skills; and participate in committees and other workgroups as assigned.DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: 6 October 2014

Fanshawe College (Canada)
Learning Analytics Technologist – Under the direction of the Senior Manager, Learning Systems Services, the incumbent is responsible for the planning, implementation and support for the technical and functional aspects of the learning analytics infrastructure (built on the Desire2Learn Insights platform). The incumbent will consult with key stakeholders to determine, document and refine the type of learning analytics and reports required. Design, develop and create analytical reports, data visualizations, predictive models and dashboards based on gathered user requirements. Develop ad hoc and specialized reports as required and engage with academic staff to encourage the use of analytics tools to support teaching and learning. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: 9 October 2014

Delft Extension School (The Netherlands)
Researcher Learning Analytics – We are looking for a researcher (PhD or Postdoc level), whose research focuses on the modeling and analysis of learners and their learning processes in the context of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: 15 October 2014

NEW! University of Queensland (Australia)
Applied Learning Analyst – The Applied Learning Analyst will provide learning analytics, modelling and data visualisation support. This includes data analysis, student learner modelling, program and curriculum learning performance analytics, policy development and assistance as required to meet the University’s learning and student experience goals. This position will span all areas of the learning analytics portfolio but retain a particular focus on the modelling and analysis of student learning that support the University’s teaching and learning strategic agenda. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: 13 October 2014

This Week in Learning Analytics (September 20 – 26, 2014)

Latest News

24 September 2014
Unicon Announces Completion of Automation Tools for Marist College’s Learning Analytics Strategic Initiative
Unicon, Inc., a leading IT consulting, services, and support provider specializing in open source for the education technology market, today announced that it has teamed up with Marist College to develop two open source tools to automate Marist’s academic early alert system. These new tools allow Marist to build on their pioneering work under their Open Academic Analytics Initiative (OAAI). The initiative was supported by the EDUCAUSE NGLC program with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with the goal to create one of the first open source academic early alert systems. [Read more]

24 September 2014
Marist College identifies at risk students with Predictive Analytics, increases degree completion rates
Marist College, a liberal arts college located in Poughkeepsie, New York, has created a portable, open source, predictive analytics model utilizing big data to address the degree completion crisis trending in higher education across America. By utilizing Pentaho’s open-source Business Analytics Platform, Marist students, faculty and staff were able to engage in the research, development, and implementation of an early alert system, which is able to identify at-risk students. [Read more]

25 September 2014
New analytics could help measure content efficacy
New analytics tools from uClass aim to give users a better picture of what instructional materials their teachers are using—and whether these resources are effective. [Read more]

Latest Blogs

Featured Publications

Learning Analytics and Educational Data Mining: An Overview of Recent Techniques
Christina M. Steiner, Michael D. Kickmeier-Rust, Dietrich Albert

This paper summarizes the state-of-the-art on learning analytics and educational data mining, elaborating on key concepts, objectives, data and analytics methods used, visualisations, and key applications. An overview is given on how these techniques are applied to the genre of serious games. Existing challenges in this broad field of research are discussed and a novel, competence-centred approach to learning analytics is outlined that is being developed in the context of the LEA’s BOX project.

International Journal of Interactive Multimedia and Artificial Intelligence: Special Issue on Multisensor User Tracking and Analytics to Improve Education and other Application Fields

This special issue, Special Issue on Multisensor user tracking and analytics to improve education and other application fields, concentrates on the practical and experimental use of data mining and analytics techniques, specially focusing on the educational area. The selected papers deal with the most relevant issues in the field, such as the integration of data from different sources, the identification of data suitable for the problem analysis, and the validation of the analytics techniques as support in the decision making process. The application fields of the analytics techniques presented in this paper have a clear focus on the educational area (where Learning Analytics has emerged as a buzzword in the recent years) but not restricted to it. The result is a collection of use cases, experimental validations and analytics systems with a clear contribution to the state of the art.

Calls for Papers / Participation

NEW! First International Workshop on Educational Knowledge Management (EKM 2014) Linköping | 24 November 2014 (SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 30 September 2014)

5th International Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK) Conference Marist College (Poughkeepsie, NY) | 16-20 March 2015 (SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 14 October 2014)

ALASI 2014: Australian Learning Analytics Summer Institute University of Technology Sydney (Sydney, AU) | 20-21 Nov 2014 (APPLICATION DEADLINE: 17 October 2014)

NEW! 2015 Southeast Educational Data Symposium (SEEDS) Emory University (Atlanta, GA) | 20 Feb 2015 (APPLICATION DEADLINE: 14 November 2014)

Upcoming Events

6 – 9 October 2014
Learning Analytics Week
École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne

10 – 16 October 2014
Seminar on Learning Analytics for Schools in Stockholm
Skolverket

15 October 2014
ALE Speaker Series: Charles Dziuban on Engaging Students in an Engaging Educational Environment

Emory University (Atlanta, GA)

20 October 2014
Data, Analytics and Learning: An introduction to the logic and methods of analysis of data to improve teaching and learning

University of Texas Arlington | EdX

24 October 2014
LACE SoLAR Flare

The Open University (Milton Keynes, UK)

26 – 27 November 2014
#design4learning: from blended learning to learning analytics in HE

The Open University (Milton Keynes, UK)

Employment Opportunities

NEW! NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education,and Human Developments Center for Research on Higher Education Outcomes (USA)
A 12-month postdoctoral position is available for a qualified and creative individual with interests in postsecondary assessment, learning analytics, data management, and institutional research.The Postdoctoral Fellow will be responsible for promoting the use of institutional data sources and data systems for the purpose of developing institutional assessment tools that can inform decision making and contribute to institutional improvement across New York University (NYU). DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: Open Until Filled

Taylor’s University (Malaysia)
The Learning Analytics Specialist is responsible for strategy development, data analysis, education evaluation and learning analytics. He/She will support the Taylor’s University learning analytics strategic priorities through the design, development and implementation of an innovative and sustainable learning analytics strategy and will engage with academic staff to encourage the use of analytics tools to support teaching and learning. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: 3 October 2014

Boise State University (USA)
Drawing on both technical and analytical competencies, the Report Developer for Academic Analytics in the Office of Institutional Research will collaborate with the IR staff, data consumers, and colleagues in OIT/Business Intelligence and Reporting Services to determine requirements, design solutions, and model data. The Report Developer will perform user and data-driven research, review and verify data, and develop end-user reports. She/he will develop a broad body of data reports and conduct analytic work, with a particular focus on academic analytics, ensuring integrity, timeliness, and appropriate presentation. The Report Developer will be expected to develop collegial working relationships within the unit and across campus units; continually hone her/his technical, analytical, and problem solving skills; and participate in committees and other workgroups as assigned.. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: 6 October 2014

NEW! Fanshawe College (Canada)
Under the direction of the Senior Manager, Learning Systems Services, the incumbent is responsible for the planning, implementation and support for the technical and functional aspects of the learning analytics infrastructure (built on the Desire2Learn Insights platform). The incumbent will consult with key stakeholders to determine, document and refine the type of learning analytics and reports required. Design, develop and create analytical reports, data visualizations, predictive models and dashboards based on gathered user requirements. Develop ad hoc and specialized reports as required and engage with academic staff to encourage the use of analytics tools to support teaching and learning. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: 9 October 2014

Delft Extension School (The Netherlands)
We are looking for a researcher (PhD or Postdoc level), whose research focuses on the modeling
and analysis of learners and their learning processes in the context of MOOCs (Massive Open
Online Courses). DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: 15 October 2014

This Week in Learning Analytics (September 13 – 19, 2014)

Latest News

11 September 2014
Discovery Education Creates Learning Analytics Department and Promotes Dr. Karen Barton to Vice President of Team

18 September 2014
IBM Introduces Cloud-Based Natural Language Analytics Tools

19 September 2014
EdTech Company, Fishtree, Launches New Analytics Feature to Revolutionize the Learning Process

Best of Blogs

Featured Publications

Analytics to Literacies: The Development of a Learning Analytics Framework for Multiliteracies Assessment
Shane Dawson & George Siemens

The rapid advances in information and communication technologies, coupled with increased access to information and the formation of global communities, have resulted in interest among researchers and academics to revise educational practice to move beyond traditional ‘literacy’ skills towards an enhanced set of “multiliteracies” or “new media literacies”. Measuring the literacy of a population, in the light of its linkage to individual and community wealth and wellbeing, is essential to determining the impact of compulsory education. The opportunity now is to develop tools to assess individual and societal attainment of these new literacies. Drawing on the work of Jenkins and colleagues (2006) and notions of a participatory culture, this paper proposes a conceptual framework for how learning analytics can assist in measuring individual achievement of multiliteracies and how this evaluative process can be scaled to provide an institutional perspective of the educational progress in fostering these fundamental skills.

Educational Triage in Open Distance Learning: Walking a Moral Tightrope
Paul Prinsloo & Sharon Slade

Higher education, and more specifically, distance education, is in the midst of a rapidly changing environment. Higher education institutions increasingly rely on the harvesting and analyses of student data to inform key strategic decisions across a wide range of issues, including marketing, enrolment, curriculum development, the appointment of staff, and student assessment. In the light of persistent concerns regarding student success and retention in distance education contexts, the harvesting and analysis of student data in particular in the emerging field of learning analytics holds much promise. As such the notion of educational triage needs to be interrogated. Educational triage is defined as balancing between the futility or impact of the intervention juxtaposed with the number of students requiring care, the scope of care required, and the resources available for care/interventions.

The central question posed by this article is “how do we make moral decisions when resources are (increasingly) limited?” An attempt is made to address this by discussing the use of data to support decisions regarding student support and examining the concept of educational triage. Despite the increase in examples of institutions implementing a triage based approach to student support, there is a serious lack of supporting conceptual and theoretical development, and, more importantly, to consideration of the moral cost of triage in educational settings.

This article provides a conceptual framework to realise the potential of educational triage to responsibly and ethically respond to legitimate concerns about the “revolving door” in distance and online learning and the sustainability of higher education, without compromising ‘openness.’ The conceptual framework does not attempt to provide a detailed map, but rather a compass consisting of principles to consider in using learning analytics to classify students according to their perceived risk of failing and the potential of additional support to alleviate this risk.

Educational Dashboards for Smart Learning: Review of Case Studies
Yesom Yoo, Hyeyun Lee, Il-Hyun Jo, Yeonjeong Park

An educational dashboard is a display which visualizes the results of educational data mining in a useful way. Educational data mining and visualization techniques allow teachers and students to monitor and reflect on their online teaching and learning behavior patterns. Previous literature has included such information in the dashboard to support students’ self-knowledge, self-evaluation, self-motivation, and social awareness. Further, educational dashboards are expected to support the smart learning environment, in the perspective that students receive personalized and automatically-generated information on a real-time base, by use of the log files in the Learning Management System (LMS). In this study, we reviewed ten case studies that deal with development and evaluation of such a tool, for supporting students and teachers through educational data mining techniques and visualization technologies. In the present study, a conceptual framework based on Few’s principles of dashboard design and Kirkpatrick’s four level evaluation model was developed to review educational dashboards. Ultimately, this study is expected to evaluate the current state of educational dashboard development and suggest an evaluative tool to judge whether or not the dashboard function is working properly, in both a pedagogical and visual way.

Learning Analytics Interoperability: Looking for Low-Hanging Fruits
Tore Hoel, Weiqin Chen

When Learning Analytics is seeking a wide community, the challenge of efficiently and reliably moving data between systems becomes important. This paper gives a summary of the current status of Learning
Analytics Interoperability and proposes a framework to help structuring the interoperability work. The model is based on a three dimensional Enterprise Interoperability Framework mapping concerns, interoperability barriers and potential solutions. The paper also introduces the concept of low-hanging fruits in prioritising among solutions. Data gathered from a small group of Norwegian stakeholders are analysed, and a list of potential interoperability issues is presented.

Causal Models and Big Data Learning Analytics
Vivekanandan Suresh Kumar, Kinshuk, Clayton Clemens, Steven Harris

New statistical methods allow discovery of causal models purely from observational data in some circumstances. Educational research that does not easily lend itself to experimental investigation can benefit from such discovery, particularly when the process of inquiry potentially affects measurement. Whether controlled or authentic, educational inquiry is sprinkled with hidden variables that only change over the long term, making them challenging and expensive to investigate experimentally. Big data learning analytics offers methods and techniques to observe such changes over longer terms at various levels of granularity. Learning analytics also allows construction of candidate models that expound hidden variables as well as their relationships with other variables of interest in the research. This article discusses the core ideas of causality and modeling of causality in the context of educational research with big data analytics as the underlying data supply mechanism. It provides results from studies that illustrate the need for causal modeling and how learning analytics could enhance the accuracy of causal models.

Calls for Papers / Participation

Call for Ethical & Privacy Issues in the Application of Learning Analytics Project LACE / SURF SIG LA (DEADLINE: 24 September 2014)

5th International Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK) Conference Marist College (Poughkeepsie, NY) | 16-20 March 2015 (SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 14 October 2014)

NEW! ALASI 2014: Australian Learning Analytics Summer Institute University of Technology Sydney (Sydney, AU) | 20-21 Nov 2014 (APPLICATION DEADLINE: 17 October 2014)

Upcoming Events

6 – 9 October 2014
Learning Analytics Week
École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne

10 – 16 October 2014
Seminar on Learning Analytics for Schools in Stockholm
Skolverket

15 October 2014
ALE Speaker Series: Charles Dziuban on Engaging Students in an Engaging Educational Environment

Emory University (Atlanta, GA)

20 October 2014
Data, Analytics and Learning: An introduction to the logic and methods of analysis of data to improve teaching and learning

University of Texas Arlington | EdX

24 October 2014
LACE SoLAR Flare

The Open University (Milton Keynes, UK)

Employment Opportunities

New! University of Wisconsin – Madison (USA)
The person in this position will be part of a dynamic evaluation team, situated in the Division of Information Technology (DoIT), Academic Technology (AT) as part of the Evaluation Design & Analysis service. The evaluation consultants in this service provide educational program and product evaluation services for DoIT AT and campus clients, as well as evaluation project management for campus evaluation projects. The position reports to the Assistant Director of the Learning Technology and Distance Education (LTDE) group within DoIT AT.DEADLINE EXTENDED UNTIL: 23 September 2014

University of Queensland (Australia)
The new Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation (ITALI) will provide leadership, engagement and advocacy in educational innovation, teaching excellence and learning analytics and aims to transform & innovate teaching, learning and creativity. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: 22 September 2014

Taylor’s University (Malaysia)
The Learning Analytics Specialist is responsible for strategy development, data analysis, education evaluation and learning analytics. He/She will support the Taylor’s University learning analytics strategic priorities through the design, development and implementation of an innovative and sustainable learning analytics strategy and will engage with academic staff to encourage the use of analytics tools to support teaching and learning. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: 3 October 2014

NEW! Boise State University (USA)
Drawing on both technical and analytical competencies, the Report Developer for Academic Analytics in the Office of Institutional Research will collaborate with the IR staff, data consumers, and colleagues in OIT/Business Intelligence and Reporting Services to determine requirements, design solutions, and model data. The Report Developer will perform user and data-driven research, review and verify data, and develop end-user reports. She/he will develop a broad body of data reports and conduct analytic work, with a particular focus on academic analytics, ensuring integrity, timeliness, and appropriate presentation. The Report Developer will be expected to develop collegial working relationships within the unit and across campus units; continually hone her/his technical, analytical, and problem solving skills; and participate in committees and other workgroups as assigned.. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: 6 October 2014

Delft Extension School (The Netherlands)
We are looking for a researcher (PhD or Postdoc level), whose research focuses on the modeling
and analysis of learners and their learning processes in the context of MOOCs (Massive Open
Online Courses). DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: 15 October 2014

This Week in Learning Analytics (September 6 – 12, 2014)

Latest News

6 September 2014
LyticsLab@Stanford Releases LAW Report
RELATED: Stanford professor spurs movement to build new field: Learning analytics

10 September 2014
Teachley announces Learning Analytics Platform for schools

10 September 2014
Arlington schools announce key findings from ‘Big Data’ competition

Recent Blogs

Big on Big Data by Michael D. Hilborn
Using Classroom Data to Understand Learning (or Learning Analytics) by Lueny Morell
A School’s Guide to Learning Analytics by Lorna Keane.
SMAC IT! by Preeti Jasnani
Learning Analytics: Not just about measuring but engaging students! by Li Yuan
Framework for Using Learning Analytics for DMin Program Assessment & Improvement by Roxanne Russell

Featured Publications

Special Issue: Selected and Extended Papers from the Third International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge

Special Issue of the Journal of Learning Analytics based on the selected, extended, and revised papers that were presented at the Third International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK’13).

Curriculum Analytics: Application of Social Network Analysis for Improving Strategic Curriculum Decision-Making in a Research-Intensive University
Shane Dawson, Harry Hubball

This paper provides insight into the use of curriculum analytics to enhance learning-centred curricula in diverse higher education contexts. Engagement in evidence-based practice to evaluate and monitor curricula is vital to the success and sustainability of efforts to reform undergraduate and graduate programs. Emerging technology-enabled inquiry methods have enormous potential to inform evidence-based practice in complex curriculum settings. For example, curriculum analytics, including data from student learning outcomes, graduate qualities, course selection and assessment activities, can be mined from various student learning systems and analysed to inform curriculum renewal strategies and demonstrate impact at both the program and course level. Curriculum analytics can serve to foster a culture of inquiry and scholarship regarding program improvements that is characterised by information sharing within and across disciplinary borders. This paper presents an innovative technology that draws on social network methodologies for assessing and visualising the integration and linkages across individual courses that ultimately form a student’s complete program of study. Insights are grounded in the literature and curriculum leadership experiences in a Canadian research-intensive university setting.

Broadening and Deepening of SOTL with Learning Analytics
KOH Hian Chye & Sylvia CHONG

The last decade has witnessed the growing prominence of the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) and the rise of learning analytics in higher education institutions. This is not surprising given the developments in technology, pedagogy, online/open learning and data availability as well as the increasing academic interest in various aspects of teaching and learning. Learning analytics applications have made possible customised and enhanced learning experiences for the learners, and improved student retention and success for the institutions. Learning analytics can be viewed as an integral part of the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). This aligns with SoTL as a research domain that enhances students’ learning experiences. This article explores the educational potential of learning analytics and how it could be exploited for the SoTL in a higher education context. It examines the conceptualization and meaning of SoTL as well as Learning Analytics, followed by a discussion on how SoTL and Learning Analytics can support each other. An illustration to show that Learning Analytics can be an effective platform for educators to advance SoTL is reported.

Relations between Student Online Learning Behavior and Academic Achievement in Higher Education: A Learning Analytics Approach
Il-Hyun Jo, Taeho Yu, Hyeyun Lee, Yeonjoo Kim

The purpose of this study is to suggest more meaningful components for learning analytics in order to help learners to improve their learning achievement continuously through an educational technology approach. 41 undergraduate students in a women’s university in South Korea participated in this study. The seven-predictor model was able to account for 99.3% of the variance in the final grade, F(8, 32) = 547.424, p < . 001, R2 = .993. Total login frequency in LMS, (ir)regularity of learning interval in LMS, and total assignments and assessment composites had a significant (p < .05) correlation with final grades. However, total studying time in LMS (β = .038, t = .868, p > .05), interactions with content (β = −.004, t = −.240, p > .05), interactions with peers (β = .015, t = .766, p > .05), and interactions with instructor (β = .009, t = .354, p > .05) did not predict final grades. The results provide a rationale for the treatment for student time management effort.

Calls for Papers

NEW! #design4learning: From Blended Learning to Learning Analytics in HE The Open University (Milton Keynes, UK) | 26-27 November 2014 (SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 15 September 2014)

Developing Effective Educational Experiences through Learning Analytics Edge Hill University Press (ABSTRACT SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 15 September 2014)

Call for Ethical & Privacy Issues in the Application of Learning Analytics Project LACE / SURF SIG LA (DEADLINE: 24 September 2014)

5th International Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK) Conference Marist College (Poughkeepsie, NY) | 16-20 March 2015 (SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 14 October 2014)

Upcoming Events

6 – 9 October 2014
Learning Analytics Week
École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne

NEW! 10 – 16 October 2014
Seminar on Learning Analytics for Schools in Stockholm
Skolverket

15 October 2014
ALE Speaker Series: Charles Dziuban on Engaging Students in an Engaging Educational Environment

Emory University (Atlanta, GA)

20 October 2014
Data, Analytics and Learning: An introduction to the logic and methods of analysis of data to improve teaching and learning

University of Texas Arlington | EdX

24 October 2014
LACE SoLAR Flare

The Open University (Milton Keynes, UK)

Employment Opportunities

NEW! Bay Path University (Springfield, MA)
The American Women’s College at Bay Path University seeks an experienced, talented individual to work collaboratively with key stakeholders to maximize student and institutional success through the use of data analytics to drive institutional business decisions and online learning strategies. OPEN UNTIL FILLED

University of Queensland (Australia)
The new Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation (ITALI) will provide leadership, engagement and advocacy in educational innovation, teaching excellence and learning analytics and aims to transform & innovate teaching, learning and creativity. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: 22 September 2014

Taylor’s University (Malaysia)
The Learning Analytics Specialist is responsible for strategy development, data analysis, education evaluation and learning analytics. He/She will support the Taylor’s University learning analytics strategic priorities through the design, development and implementation of an innovative and sustainable learning analytics strategy and will engage with academic staff to encourage the use of analytics tools to support teaching and learning. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: 3 October 2014

New! Delft Extension School (The Netherlands)
We are looking for a researcher (PhD or Postdoc level), whose research focuses on the modeling
and analysis of learners and their learning processes in the context of MOOCs (Massive Open
Online Courses). DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION: 15 October 2014

Learning Analytics: What Is It? Why Do It? And How?

My presentation deck from a brown bag talk recently delivered to students in the Emory University Laney Graduate School.
Analytics Cycle
Abstract:
Learning analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs. Data driven approaches to teaching and learning are rapidly being adopted within educational environments, but there is still much confusion about what learning analytics is, what it can do, and how it is best employed.

This talk provides a general overview of the field of learning analytics, its terminology and methods, as well as contemporary ethical debates. It also introduces several open source and Emory-supported analytics tools available to students and instructors to facilitate the achievement of various learning outcomes.