The ALE Brown Bag Seminars are monthly occasions for Emory community members to come together to share the ways in which they are using educational data to optimize their learning environments. These hour-long meetings are typically divided into two parts:

i. Show and Tell (12:00 PM – 12:30 PM)
Community members volunteer to share work and works in progress.

ii. Discussion (12:30 PM – 1:00 PM)
As a way of increasing our collective understanding of the learning analytics space, and of developing a common vocabulary, there is suggested reading for each meeting (typically 5 – 8 pages). The last half of each meeting is dedicated to reviewing main concepts, and discussing how concepts and ideas might be applied to current and future work at Emory University.

September 11, 2014
Framework for using Learning Analytics for D Min Program Assessment & Improvement
FACILITATOR: Roxanne Russell (Candler School of Theology)
DISCUSSION TEXT: Long & Siemens (2011) “Penetrating the Fog: Analytics in Learning and Education”

Roxanne will introduce ALE members to Candler School of Theology’s Doctor of Ministry program, the first 90% online doctoral program at Emory, and the first to be accredited by the national accrediting board for theological schools. She will then share a preliminary framework for using Learning Analytics to inform program assessment and improvement in hopes of gathering ALE members’ insight and feedback.

October 8, 2014
Using ALEKS and Learning Analytics in Chem 141 to Revitalize Course Experience
FACILITATOR: Tracy McGill (Department of Chemistry)
DISCUSSION TEXT: Arnold (2010) “Signals: Applying Academic Analytics
LOCATION: Emerson Hall Rm 102

Tracy McGill started at Emory University in the fall of 2003 as a lecturer in the department of chemistry. Over the last several years she has become increasingly interested in how the use of technology, both inside and outside the classroom, can activate the learning environment. In 2011, the chemistry department began using ALEKS (Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces) as an online homework tool and also as a pre-assessment tool (known at Emory as the GCAT) for students before the beginning of Chemistry 141. During this seminar, she will present the data from the GCAT as well as the powerful analytics data ALEKS generates and how she has used this data to transform her class time.

November 6, 2014
Getting a Leg Up at Emory
FACILITATOR: Drew Kohlhorst (Emory College Center for Science Education)
DISCUSSION TEXT: Tomasko et al (2013) “Impact of Summer Bridge Programs on STEM Retention at The Ohio State University”
LOCATION: PAIS (Psychology and Interdisciplinary Studies) 280

Numerous reports call for universities and colleges to improve student engagement and the success rate of students transitioning to college especially in STEM disciplines. A 2012 NSF STEP grant awarded to the Emory Center for Science Education, focusing on increasing STEM retention and graduation rates, has allowed us to develop a unique summer bridge program incorporating both residential and online instructional models. During program development, we identified key skills that contribute to STEM academic achievement including study skills, data analysis and community building. Low numbers of STEM graduates indicate a need to recruit more first year students to these majors and to retain them. We believe that many more entering students, both traditional and URM, will graduate with STEM majors if we invest in early exposure to engaging, innovative pedagogy utilizing technology and development of skills needed for all STEM courses while providing tailored course advising. We have developed a pre-freshman bridge program, Getting a Leg Up @ Emory (GLUE), focusing on case-based learning, diagnostic testing and tutoring in mathematics, extensive course advising and community building among students. This program has provided transitional support and specialized instruction for almost 200 Emory and Oxford College students since its inception in 2012.

While performance data analysis continues, our survey data indicates student’s confidence, analytical and communication skills increased during both the 3-week residential and 6-week online bridge program(s). Participant survey analysis indicates students were very pleased with the program itself, the case studies used and the blend of academic, career and social events planned during their time in the program. As our data indicates, after completing the program students felt more comfortable working in groups, solving science-related problems, and more confident in answer questions aloud. Interestingly, we did find students feeling somewhat less positive about their interactions with research scientists and lifestyle/career choices among scientists. Analysis of student reflection journals indicates the curriculum was challenging while remaining engaging, and overall the program provided valuable information on campus resources and life. We continue to refine and adapt the program(s) based on student and faculty input and have recently added a capstone event allowing collaboration between residential and online program participants culminating in a capstone presentation focusing on global and local pollution issues and the development of an action plan.

December 3, 2014
Emory’s MOOC Initiative Update
FACILITATOR: Stephanie Parisi (LITS Coursera)
LOCATION: PAIS (Psychology and Interdisciplinary Studies) 280

Stephanie Parisi serves as the Coursera instructional designer for Faculty Services within LITS. Over the past year, she has led the design and development of five massive online courses (MOOCs) with enrollments from 5,000 learners to 50,000. In addition to this, she has also started bringing attention to MOOC analytics and what this information can tell us about these massive courses and our audience. During this seminar, Stephanie will present on the MOOC initiative at Emory and what has been learned from experience and data thus far. The seminar will conclude with a discussion around the data collection process, its challenges, and the implications it may have for teaching and learning at Emory.

January 28, 2015 (12:00 PM – 1:00 PM)
K-12 Lessons and Higher Education Opportunity
FACILITATOR: Ben Sayeski (Education Strategy Consulting)
LOCATION: Woodruff Library Rm 208E

This presentation and discussion will focus on the evolution of big data analyses in K-12 education and the opportunities for higher education. The discussion will be grounded in research from the Los Angeles Unified School District, publicly available K-12 data from the state of Georgia, and publicly available data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. All data will be presented within a visualization tool in order to address specific questions from attendees and create questions for future consumption. Particular attention will be paid to the visualizations from a variety of stakeholder perspectives including policy, professional, students, and parents.

February 11, 2015 (12:00 PM – 1:00 PM)
Data Governance at Emory University
FACILITATOR: Nancy Bliwise (Office of Institutional Research, Emory University)

Nancy Bliwise is Professor of Pedagogy in the Department of Psychology and Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Planning. Nancy is a master teacher who has for a long time adopted a variety of data-driven practices in order to understand her students and improve her teaching. She chairs Emory’s Data Advisory Committee, which has recently developed a data management policy. During our meeting, Nancy will describe Emory’s new data management policy, and lead a discussion on issues and opportunities related to the application of this policy to educational data.

Data governance is a major issue for the emerging field of learning analytics, and Emory has taken a leading role in defining its policy. Anyone who is working with educational data, or who has an interest in working with educational data, should be aware of Emory’s policies, but also of the nuances and ‘sticky bits’ involved when working with data about student learning behaviors.

March 4, 2015 (12:00 PM – 1:00 PM) – TENTATIVE
Emory’s Readiness for Learning Analytics
FACILITATOR: Kimberly Arnold (University of Wisconsin-Madison) [Tentative]
LOCATION: Woodruff Library Rm 208E

More details coming soon

March 24, 2015 (11:30 AM – 12:50 PM)
Lessons from the Field
FACILITATOR: Mike Sharkey (Blue Canary)
LOCATION: Woodruff Library, Rm 217

More details coming soon

April 15, 2015 (12:00 PM – 1:00 PM)
Learning Analytics at Emory: Current State and Future Directions
FACILITATOR: Timothy Harfield (Emory University)
LOCATION: Woodruff Library Rm 208E

More details coming soon

Analytics for Learning at Emory