Excellence from Analytics: Panel Discussion at Digifest, 12th March 2019

I have just taken part in a panel discussion at the Jisc Digifest 2019 event. The session was called Excellence from Analytics. I  know that, as a panel, we all worried about whether we'd been informative (or excellent), but I found it really interesting to listen to the other panellists talk (perhaps not the point). …

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Issues using data-based alerts in learning analytics

One of the benefits of learning analytics is the capacity to not just automatically analyse data, but also to automate some or all of the next steps. I'm primarily interested in learning analytics for student success, for me the automatic alert when a student is potentially at risk of failure is key. Whether red flags …

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Submission to the All-Party Group on Data Ethics

In November 2018, the UK Parliamentary All Party Group on Data Ethics launched a call for evidence about the use of data and machine learning in four areas: Education Healthcare Autonomous vehicles Policing With the help of some excellent colleagues, I submitted a paper on behalf of the institution (Nottingham Trent University) outlining our great …

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A modified learning analytics cycle (I really need to write more exciting titles)

I've spent the past week thinking (probably overthinking) about this. So I've written up a modified learning analytics cycle. Obviously it starts with Doug Clow's model as discussed in the last entry. However, I've added details about the institutional infrastructure and decision-making needed to actually enable learning analytics to happen. Each of the branching arms …

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Learning Cycles & Feedback Loops

One of my first jobs after graduating was training students in transferrable skills. I read an enormous amount of training theory, text books on time management, systems-thinking, NLP, public-speaking etc. Certain keystone ideas stuck. One was of course David A Kolb's (1984) experiential learning cycle. I can remember explaining it by modelling the process of …

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Student Retention Research: A History Lesson

Okay the title (and the whole page actually) is a little passive aggressive, but I'm reading lots of retention literature at the moment and I'll be honest, I'm sick of reading "Student retention has been a concern for some time now". A couple of smart colleagues have pointed out that the language used has changed(*) …

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Thoughts & lessons from LSAC 2018 (22nd – 23rd October 2018, University of Amsterdam)

One of my many failings is my inability to live tweet conference sessions. I mean that I just about manage to quote profound micro statements with an out-of-focus picture of a slide, but I generally have no idea what it meant two weeks later. Let's see if I can make anything better from my 35 …

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“Protect us from Newton’s single vision”: or why is a humanities graduate working in big data?

I'm most of the way through Nate Silver's "The Signal and the Noise: the art and science of prediction" I'm really struck by the fact that as I'm reading, I'm learning new tools and reference points to critique our learning analytics work. It's quite possible that if I'd a background in social sciences, mathematics or computer …

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What is Student Engagement?

Student Engagement drives the learning analytics resource we use. That is, we count students' use of various electronic proxies that are associated with participation on a course. However, before discussing those, I want to explore the concept of student engagement. In the UK there are broadly three definitions of student engagement: Students engaging with the …

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