Learning Analytics Summer Institute

The Society for Learning Analytics Research, SoLAR, held its second annual Learning Analytics Summer Institute from June 30 – July 2, 2014, at the Harvard School of Education.
The sessions were streamed live each morning to the various LASI local events, with a peak of 553 viewers. The LASI -Locals then devoted the afternoons to discussion of LA topics of local interest. LASI-Locals were held around the world, in the following locations:

  • Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Cairo, Egypt
  • Hong Kong
  • Milton Keynes, United Kingdom (July 8)
  • Pretoria, South Africa (September 15, 2014)

Learning Analytics researchers and practitioners gathered at Union South in Madison for Wisconsin’s own LASI-Local conference. With 58 total registrants on Monday, and slightly fewer on Tuesday and Wednesday, peak attendance was 45 in-person attendees. Topics of discussion in Madison included:

  • Current Learning Analytics pilots, projects and research, including the Student Success System Pilot [link to prior article]
  • Building capacity and cultivating competencies needed for Learning Analytics
  • Data governance
  • Student privacy and autonomy
  • Strategy and policy
  • Building a community around learning analytics

Monday’s keynote was a panel discussion entitled “Going Big: University of Wisconsin’s Move Towards Systemic Learning Analytics.” UW-Madison CIO Bruce Maas, spoke about the role Unizen may play in UW-Madison’s move toward Learning Analytics. The vision he described was one in which Unizen members engage the private sector in non-threatening ways to encourage the development of “loosely coupled services” developed to open standards instead of monolithic stacks of services where LA is tightly bound to an LMS or product.

Linda Jorn, Associate Vice Provost for Learning Technologies and DoIT Director of Academic Technology spoke of the place of Learning Analytics in the on-going Educational Innovation initiative, now in its third year. Quoting David Ward, she reminded attendees “We must find ways to stimulate and scale change across institutions – if we are to create models that can serve the expanding needs of our learners.”

Kimberly Arnold, of DoIT Academic Technology, spoke about data challenges presented when considering institution wide infrastructure for LA, in particular, the “investment in data quality” and managing data risk types.

Presenters at the conference also included:

  • Scott Owczarek (UW-Madison) speaking on Data Governance
  • Clare Huhn (UW-Madison) speaking on “Learning Analytics from an Institutional Research Perspective”
  • Ericca Pollack (UW-Milwaukee) and Mehgan Clark (UW-Oshkosh) discussed the use of specific LA tools for student success and retention.
  • Lil Larson, Lee Alliet, Nancy Lynch (UW-Madison) discussed Learning analytics: Views from Legal Services and the Institutional Review Board

And that was just the first day! The complete program for the Madison, WI LASI-Local 2014 is available at https://uwmadison.box.com/lasi-local-2014. The events were recorded, and will be available online at a later date.

Those interested in learning more about SoLAR, Learning Analytics, LASI 2014, and LASI-Local 2014 in Madison, can visit the following links:

If you’re interested in taking part in the Learning Analytics community– the organizers of the Learning Analytics listserv holds monthly “lunch and learn” sessions during the academic year. Other resources are circulated via this list as well. Join by sending mail to join-uw-madison-learning-analytics@lists.wisc.edu.

What is learning analytics?
Learning analytics is the use of analytic techniques to help target instructional, curricular, and support resources to support the achievement of specific learning goals. It uses a combination of data–about students and otherwise–in order to inform institutional staff, administrators, and instructors as they develop and improve services and resources in aid of teaching and learning.