Black Box Thinking – a review and a challenge to universities

This post is a piece of procrastination. And I'm partly writing it because Matthew Syed brilliantly describes a form of procrastination in his excellent book Black Box Thinking, but truthfully I'm just procrastinating because I'm putting off a task that I'm finding difficult. 🙂 The book deserves a better review than this, because I think it's …

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The NTU Student Dashboard – a brief explainer

So using the principle of blogging as a back up for memory, here is a short explainer about the learning analytics platform used at my institution, Nottingham Trent University. It's an attempt to introduce the resource as clearly as possible. It's meant to be a short intro, so writing a long intro starts to feel …

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The first year experience of higher education in the UK, Yorke & Longden (2008)

In the Student Retention Research: A History Lesson I discussed the role that Mantz Yorke and Bernard Longden played in developing the field of understanding student persistence in the UK. I really value their model explaining student withdrawal (partly because they use the word 'adventitious'). They suggest that the reasons for withdrawal can be categorised into four groups: …

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Six essentials institutions need to get right to implement learning analytics

Between 2015 & 2018, we worked alongside some brilliant colleagues in KU Leuven and Leiden University on the ABLE Erasmus+ Project. I think that we spent longer on learning analytics infrastructure and operations than we would have liked. However, doing so gave us really interesting insights into the challenges of implementing learning analytics. By the …

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The effectiveness of learning analytics for identifying at-risk students in higher education – an extra titbit

I've recently published a paper with a colleague Dr Rebecca Siddle for a special edition of Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, The paper explored the impact of 'no-engagement' alerts for identifying students in need of further support and contrasted it with using background characteristics. In this paper, we used widening participation status as a …

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Grab bag of papers on Student Success Early Warning Alerts

I'm working on a research project with one of our academic Schools. We already have a process where we use data from our learning analytics resource to conduct mid-term reviews. The idea of the review is that we identify students most at risk of dropping out and the School contacts them. We've always run this …

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Male Access and Success in Higher Education

In 2011, we wrote a short chapter for the then Higher Education Academy about one aspect of our HERE Project work: male student retention. It was probably far from ground-breaking, but it was quite important for helping us to think about some of the issues associated with student success. The data we looked at appeared …

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Using learning analytics in personal tutorials: breaking into students’ consciousness

The last post was about some of the psychological hurdles that we need to overcome in order for students to realise that they need to change and the one before about the importance for tutors of relationship building and setting short term goals. This short piece is about how the use of learning analytics data …

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Changing student behaviour: some psychological barriers

I've said this before, but one of the problems with learning analytics is that it's still seen as a fundamentally technological project, not a psychological or pedagogical one. This post is an attempt to try and describe why changing student behaviour is so difficult. I'm going to start from the position that the Clow (2012) …

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