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IU Bloomington to create new Center for Learning Analytics and Student Success

Bloomington, Ind.--A new Center for Learning Analytics and Student Success (CLASS) will be located at IU Bloomington, furthering the campus' commitment to the scholarship of teaching and learning in conjunction with cutting-edge research in learning analytics to support student success.

CLASS will collaborate with the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) and Bloomington Assessment and Research programs within the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, as well as academic programs and faculty across campus and nationwide. George Rehrey, the current director of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning program at the CITL, will be the new center's director.

CLASS’s goal is to provide learning analytics to anyone who has a stake or an interest in teaching, learning, and student success. This includes faculty, staff, administrators, and of course, students and their families. The center will advance research and facilitate initiatives in the innovative use and practical application of learning analytics—large data sets about student performance at the course and curricular levels, as well as information about student pathways through academic programs. Ultimately, the center’s work will prove effective when more students are able to choose career paths within an appropriate timeframe, persist in their education, and graduate in a timely manner.

The new center will expand upon IU Bloomington’s internationally recognized Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Program, where during the past 20 years, faculty have taken a research oriented and evidenced-based approach to teaching and learning.

“We know from over three decades of research that the college experience for all students greatly improves when faculty and administrators take an evidenced-based approach to address problems at the course, curricular, and institutional level. With learning analytics, we now have a way to further that approach through the use of big data sets in ways that were quite unimaginable just a few years ago,” said Rehrey.

While Rehrey will be stepping down as the director of the CITL’s Scholarship of Teaching and Learning program, he will continue to support the institution’s commitment to faculty-led inquiry into teaching and learning.

“CLASS will expand our views of research into student learning and success, providing a big-data counterpart to classroom-level SOTL research, and continuing IU’s reputation as a pioneer in this field,” said Greg Siering, CITL director and interim head of the campus SOTL program.

An early CLASS project is the Learning Analytics Fellows Program, which funds faculty-driven research projects that use learning analytics to foster student engagement, success and retention. The program funds faculty research annually through a proposal selection process. Since 2015, 28 faculty members from 11 different programs have conducted 29 unique research projects utilizing large data sets about student success and degree progress. Collectively they have conducted research that involved 150,000 individual students while analyzing 3.2 million student records.

“When faculty engage in learning analytics research, they gain new insights into the student experience.  Ultimately this will help students reach their full academic potential,” said Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Dennis Groth. “This effort directly builds upon enormous strengths at IU Bloomington, and supports the campus bicentennial strategic plan and our commitment to student success.”

Rehrey and Groth currently lead a multiyear, multi-institution Bay View Alliance initiative using analytics to improve student learning, retention and success. IU Bloomington is also currently partnering on a National Science Foundation-funded Bay View Alliance project known as TRESTLE that focuses on increasing the number of students graduating in the science, technology, engineering and math professions.

The Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education oversees programs and initiatives in support of outstanding academic experiences for all IU Bloomington undergraduate students. It provides advising, testing and enrichment resources for students at all stages and leads efforts that assess, support and improve undergraduate teaching and learning. For more information about the Center for Learning Analytics and Student Success, contact George Rehrey at grehrey@indiana.edu.