Since 2015, Indiana University Bloomington faculty from more than 28 different programs have participated in the Learning Analytics Fellows Program. Facilitated by the Center for Learning Analytics and Student Success (CLASS), the program empowers faculty to use student-information-systems data to conduct scholarly research about student success at the course, program and institutional levels. According to an article recently published in a special issue of the Journal of Learning Analytics (Rehrey et al., 2019a), when faculty use learning analytics to inform their research about teaching and learning they come to a new awareness of who their students are and the choices that they make on their pathway toward graduation.
In the article, titled Engaging Faculty in Learning Analytics: Agents of Institutional Culture Change, the authors argue that to successfully implement learning analytics systems within higher education, administrators, faculty, and staff all must be part of shared community dedicated to improved student success.
The paper is by and primarily for learning analytics practitioners. It analyzes the viability of the Learning Analytics Fellows Program and suggests an implementation strategy that considers the human factor in adopting new technologies. The program is designed to directly address known barriers to the use of learning analytics, dealing with cultural change, and the sustained adoption of new technologies.
The Learning Analytics Fellows Program engages faculty in inquiry about student success, providing them with a view of the student experience through institutional data. Faculty, with their knowledge of students and programs, as well as their research expertise, are well-positioned to advance learning analytics efforts.
The article discusses the rationale for using a top-down, bottom-up, and middle-out implementation strategy to shape the program (Corbo et al., 2017) (Rehrey et al., 2019b) and reflects on the effectiveness of that strategy by analyzing self-reports from participating faculty. It also considers the broader impacts of this approach for the future of the program and for other schools interested in adopting a similar program to engage faculty in the use learning analytics.
The special issue of the Journal of Learning Analytics is titled Human-Centred Learning Analytics. In their introduction, the editors suggest that the design of effective learning analytics should consider a “range of human factors, including why and how they will be used (Buckingham-Shrum, Ferguson & Martinez- Maldonado, 2019).”
Indiana University is leading the Learning Analytics Research Collaborative (LARC), one of four BVA Research Action Clusters. The five institutions in LARC have all been adopting similar models to encourage faculty use of learning analytics to improve student success and advance cultural change.
For more information please contact: George Rehrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buckingham Shum, S., Ferguson, R. and Martinez-Maldonado, R. (2019). Human-Centred Learning Analytics, Journal of Learning Analytics, 6, (2), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.18608/jla.2019.62.10
Corbo, J. C., Reinholz, D. L., Dancy, M. H., Deetz, S., & Finkelstein, N. (2016). Framework for transforming departmental culture to support educational innovation. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 12(1), 010113. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.12.01011
Rehrey, G., Shepard, L., Hostetter, C., Reynolds, A. M., & Groth, D. (2019a). Engaging faculty in learning analytics: Agents of institutional culture change. Journal of Learning Analytics, 6(2), 86–94. https://doi.org/10.18608/jla.2019.62.6
Rehrey, G., Groth, D., Shepard, L., & Hostetter, C. (2019b). The scholarship of teaching, learning and student success: Big data and the landscape of new opportunities. In J. Friberg & K. McKinney (Eds.), Conducting and Applying SoTL Beyond the Individual Classroom Level. Indiana University Press.