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Learning Analytics

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Understanding how and why learners choose to go about the business of learning can be a valuable sources of information to educators. Learning Analytics is concerned with the collection, analysis and report of learners behaviour in the context of education.

The intent is to use the understanding and insights gained to shape and improve the learning experience for learners. This pearl aim to gather together sources of information about the current use of learning analytics in education. Unlocking the benefits of open data. 7 November 2014 Coordinated national approaches to developing open data strategies will help the UK’s researchers to forge ahead on the international stage, says Phil Richards Robert Boyle, Charles Darwin, Benjamin Franklin, Allessandro Volta. What do all these famous ‘gentleman scientists’ have in common? For one thing, they would all recognise and feel comfortable with the classical scientific method – systematic experiment, observation, measurement, testing against a hypothesis and then modification where required. For another, they would certainly expect to plan and execute these activities either alone or in a small group. Then, as now, the academic researcher tends to be a competitive animal who perhaps operates most naturally at this more individualistic scale.

I have some personal experience of this as part of a European research collaboration at CERN, where 'creative tension' was one of the hallmarks of our co-operative venture! It remains a difficult area, however. Jisc. Why LinkedIn's university rankings matter. It’s that time of year when undergraduates who want to continue their studies are busily looking around for advice on which masters degree to apply for and school leavers are pondering their university application preferences. Rather than relying solely on traditional university rankings, many students are turning to innovative rankings that are mining big data to offer extra insight into the employability of graduates from different universities.

Social networking site LinkedIn recently released its own university rankings outlining which degrees get its members the best jobs within certain sectors. This comes after Google released its own list of the “most searched-for” universities in which the Open University, Phoenix and several Indian institutions come to the fore, ahead of some of the other “traditional” destinations. New players emerging In the UK, the LinkedIn ranking covers just five sectors: accounting, finance, investment bankers, marketers and media. How students make choices. ProSAR. Mesma Online SAR Completion Software. Self assessment solutions for the learning & skills sector. Collecting data on students: is it useful to know which books they've read? | Higher Education Network | Guardian Professional. Data analytics helps universities identify students who need more support.

Photograph: the Guardian Monitoring progress through the analysis of grades has long been the norm, but how useful is it to know which books students have read, how often they come to class and when they contact their tutors? According to the 2014 Horizon report – a study on emerging technologies for teaching and learning – data collected on the online activity of students can be used effectively to identify top resources, improve the student experience and underpin success at university. The data can show how often students have attended lectures, when they've contacted their tutors and which books they've taken out of the library. When used well, student data can improve the student experience and boost retention.

Such data can also be used to identify elements of the course that work well and to build on these for future year groups. Is it ethical? Lecturers should take care to focus on a broad range of data. Big Data: Are you ready for blast-off? As Technology of Business begins a month-long series of features on the theme of Big Data, we kick off with a Q&A backgrounder answering some of those basic questions you were too afraid to ask.

What is big data exactly? Good question. After all, we've always had large amounts of data haven't we, from loyalty card schemes, till receipts, medical records, tax returns and so on? As Laurie Miles, head of analytics for big data specialist SAS, says: "The term big data has been around for decades, and we've been doing analytics all this time. But it's the velocity, variety and volume of data that has merited the new term. So what made it bigger? Most traditional data was structured, or neatly organised in databases. There was a proliferation of so-called unstructured data generated by all our digital interactions, from email to online shopping, text messages to tweets, Facebook updates to YouTube videos.

How much data is there? Nobody really knows because the volume is growing so fast. Big data can boost student experience. In 2010, Google chief executive Eric Schmidt noted that the amount of data collected since the dawn of humanity until 2003 was the equivalent to the volume we now produce every two days. 'Big data' is a term that has grown in use and while there can be negative connotations of harvesting people's data, Ruth Drysdale, an eLearning programme manager at Jisc, explains that data analytics is an effective way for universities to enhance student experience. The wealth of activity data that higher education institutions can collect is vast. The methods of harvesting data are also becoming more sophisticated, which is essential when it comes to providing an accurate picture on student engagement, which can influence retention. Much the way that retailers collect data to anticipate customer preference, universities are increasingly able to analyse students' behaviour in order to enrich the student experience.

Big data research to get £70 million boost. David Willetts is set to unveil £72.6 million of new funding to help academics unlock the potential of “big data”. At a technology conference in London today, the universities and science minister will outline details of 55 research projects that it is hoped will bring large sets of complex data into usable formats. One project, based at Lancaster University, aims to convert thousands of musical scores which are stored online as images into a format that would allow them to be accessed by today’s musicians. Others that are receiving a share of the money hope to develop a better understanding of human disease, take steps towards tackling obesity, and solve transport problems.

Part of the funding will also be used to set up big data research centres in four English universities (see box), which will make data from private sector organisations and local government accessible to researchers. chris.parr@tsleducation.com The new “big data” research investments: Click to rate 0 out of 5 stars. Bett show: four areas of technology that could transform universities. JISC Inform / Issue 35, Winter 2012 | #jiscinform. From among the many projects: The Open University (OU) tracked students as they engaged with online resources, identifying what they looked at online, and how long for, to explore ways to predict potential failure to achieve, and then target the available resources to make the most effective early interventions possible. At the University of Sheffield, the project team used geographical mapping and demographic data to track the background that students arrive from, to examine the impact that social and economic status may have on attainment, with a view to planning appropriate interventions to support struggling students at an early stage.

Meanwhile, projects within the Relationship Management Programme, such as one run by the University of Derby, examined ways to deliver ‘quick wins’ via service design, creating responsive support structures that adapt to the needs of individual learners. It’s already clear that analytics brings with it many challenges, as well as opportunities. 2013: The year we all went 'mobile' 19 December 2013Last updated at 19:15 ET By Matthew Wall Business reporter, BBC News A mobile state of mind: mobile phones, mobile workforces, mobile data This year was the year we all went mobile. And we're not just talking smartphones and tablets. We're talking mobile workforces staying connected in and out of the office and using their devices for work and play. We're talking mobile data, stored in the cloud; and mobile corporate structures trying to adapt to the new age of data sharing, collaboration and crowdsourcing.

Mobile didn't simply refer to a gadget, but to a state of mind. New paradigm And this new mobility, powered by the roll-out of faster 4G networks, brought many challenges as well as opportunities for business. Continue reading the main story The world is moving so fast our grand IT plans are almost obsolete before they've even been started” End QuoteDavid ChanCass Business School "This was the year we began to realise the limitations of our current mindset," says Mr Chan. JISC Inform / Issue 36, Spring 2013 | #jiscinform | Opening up big data.

The administration functions of HE and FE institutions routinely collect large volumes of data. Opening up large data samples means that control of their use is lost as people discover new uses for it. So it’s important that institutions optimise collection processes, tackle repetition and accuracy issues, and consider legal and ethical implications.

Jisc has produced the CETIS Analytics Series: Legal, Risk and Ethical Aspects of Analytics in Education to help. And there’s a potential danger that, as the appetite for open data grows, the burden on admin teams could grow. Jisc programme manager Myles Danson, has been working with a number of organisations to see how data can best be used to improve strategic planning, and to help colleges and universities to benchmark their activities against others. The result is a new Infokit, due to be published this month. Myles says, “The use of open data brings fresh challenges, and we are working on approaches to make these more manageable. CETIS Analytics Series: Analytics; what is changing and why does it matter? « publications. 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. Whole Institutional Issues,Ethical and Legal Issues,Learning and Teaching,Research Management,Technology and Infrastructure. Preview: Will Analytics transform Education? | Learning Frontiers. Effective use of data is vital for success in today’s business world. In education, Analytics (or Learning Analytics) is becoming a hot topic, promising to disrupt and transform education and learning.

In this overview article we do a short detour to the business world for some examples of business analytics; look at how education have approached the phenomenon; explore some practices; and raise some concerns about the downside of this trend. The most spectacular example of business use of consumer data is the US chain store Target’s analysis of changes in a customer’s life, e.g. finding out whether or not a customer is pregnant[1], with the aim to send them coupons for certain products they will need. Internationally, Amazon’s use of real-time recommendations to give users feedback almost instantly and to create a personal shopping experience for each and every customer[2] is well known. Business analytics, however goes beyond targeting consumers. 1. 2. 3. Research data management. The issue Research data management is important for institutions as well as researchers.

As the volume and complexity of digital research data increases, so does the need to address the challenges of managing, selecting, retaining and storing it. What you can do How well are you doing? To maintain research integrity, institutions and researchers must ensure research data is preserved so that results can be verified and the data reused in future. You can assess how well your institution or department is managing its research data at present using the CARDIO self-assessment tool. Assess your research data You can’t keep all your research data, so how do you decide what to keep? Create a plan Most funders require researchers to submit an outline data management plan with grant applications. Be aware of the legal requirements All Research Councils now have research data management policies, based on a set of common principles formulated by Research Councils UK.

Develop a policy.

Data Dashboards

Understanding your data. The issue Activity data is the record of any user action, online or in the physical world, that can be logged on a computer. Universities and colleges have long collected vast amounts of data; from figures on how students use the library, to recruitment statistics and academic research citations. Owing to recent changes in the kinds of data they are asked to submit to bodies like UCAS, there are now new opportunities for analysing that data.

The digital opportunity Smart leaders analyse their institution’s data using digital tools to uncover hidden patterns and help them improve their research, make the student experience work better and ensure their business remains efficient. Our report looks in detail at balancing strategy and tactics for analytics across the whole institution. Challenges for institutions come in the shape of managing similar data from different sources, data that needs cleaning up, and maintaining security. How you can use activity data Where can I get some inspiration?