Learning Analytics at Emory

Blackboard Analytics logo/graphic

Learning analytics is the collection, analysis, and reporting of educational data.

In May 2013, Academic Technology Services at Emory University made the decision to begin its investment in the emerging field of learning analytics with a pilot installation of Blackboard Analytics for Learn™. With the pilot now successfully complete, and the product licensed for another year, we look forward to several other initiatives meant to encourage the effective use of data to optimize learning and the environments in which it occurs.

Learning analytics is the collection, analysis, and reporting of educational data in order to increase levels of student success, however that might be conceived. Blackboard Analytics for Learn™ is a data warehouse that combines data from Blackboard Learn (Emory’s primary learning management system) and Opus (Emory’s student information system) in a way that can be easily leveraged by a number of reporting environments.

Blackboard Analytics includes a building block that allows instructors to view students’ activity (course accesses, interactions, minutes, grades) in order to identify at-risk students and intervene. The same building block also allows students to view their own levels of activity relative to that of their peers, facilitating personal responsibility for learning and learning behaviors. Blackboard Analytics facilitates an evidence-based approach to course design, by offering instructional designers and program directors statistical support in the development of best practices.

Screen shot from Blackboard Analytics

Screen shot from Blackboard Analytics.

The most powerful aspect of Blackboard Analytics for Learn™, and the primary reason for our continued investment, is the data warehouse itself, which serves as a powerful platform in support of sophisticated approaches to data mining. Although still in the early stages of this kind of work, we have already made several interesting and fruitful observations which we will be sharing in the coming months.

Following the success of our Blackboard Analytics for Learn™ pilot, we look forward to supporting its use campus-wide through information sessions and hands-on workshops. We also look forward to working closely with several instructors, programs, and initiatives at Emory to leverage data from a wide variety of sources, and to apply data mining techniques in support of learning and instructional decision-making.

To generate interest and excitement around the emerging field of learning analytics, we have partnered with the Institute for Quantitative Theory and Methods to organize a speaker series that, beginning in Fall 2014, will bring to Emory some of the most influential thinkers working in the field. We are also supporting a community-driven interest group that will meet regularly in the coming year to share ideas, collaborate, and discuss issues pertaining to educational data use.

For more information about learning analytics at Emory, and about how to become involved in the community of interest here at Emory University, please contact the Scholar in Residence, Timothy Harfield, at timothy [dot] harfield [at] emory [dot] edu.

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One Comment

  1. Posted May 13, 2015 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    It’s nearly impossible to find well-informed people on this subject, but you
    seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

One Trackback

  1. […] for Chen (and for Blackboard Analytics), he’s wrong. During the course of Emory’s year-long pilot of Blackboard Analytics for Learn, we were indeed able to find small but statistically significant correlations between several […]

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