Engaged Students - Learning Analytics

Researching student success

IU Bloomington is engaging its faculty in research on learning analytics to ensure that our students move effectively to mastery and completion.

This aligns with IU Bloomington Bicentennial Objective One.

Student Success

Goal: IU Bloomington will engage its faculty in research on learning analytics to ensure that our students move effectively to mastery and completion.

Update: Since 2015, 42 faculty members from 22 disciplines have conducted 33 unique research projects, studying 110,000 individual students and 3.8 million student records. Seventeen faculty fellows returned for second and third years to continue researching student success.

IU’s Center for Learning Analytics and Student Success advances the widespread use of big data and student learning analytics, empowering faculty to conduct actionable scholarly research through the systematic collection, exploration, and analysis of data describing students, their observable activities, and outcomes. CLASS organizes and supports professional learning communities, whose participants collaborate with Bloomington Assessment and Research, the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, and the Bay View Alliance.

In May 2018, IUB faculty members were recognized at the Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference for their contributions to the emerging field of learning analytics. Their work in furthering student success at IUB was featured in a paper titled "Implementation of a Learning Analytics Fellows Program," which received the Best Practitioner Long Paper Award from a review committee representing the Society for Learning Analytics Research. The paper describes the work of 42 Learning Analytics Fellows, who have conducted scholarly research about teaching and learning, using learning analytics to understand student success at the course, program, and institutional levels.

Read the full paper

In 2015, OVPUE initiated the Learning Analytics Fellows Program, a multidisciplinary community of transformation made up of faculty from across the IUB campus. Faculty engage in scholarly research that uses learning analytics to analyze student success in their courses, curriculum, and programs to advance IUB’s strategic plan and its commitment to improved student success. Participating faculty gain the knowledge and skills necessary to use learning analytics to make data-guided decisions about student success at the course, program, and university levels. Faculty research has focused on four broad categories: choice, demographics, performance, and preparation. Studies analyzed these factors to varying degrees at the course, program, and university levels.

On Feb. 3, 2019, IU Bloomington was the focus of the article Can Data Make You a Better Teacher? in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Terri L. Renner, a senior lecturer in SPEA at IUB was quoted in the piece, excerpted below. The support Renner received from colleagues who specialize in data analytics led to an interdisciplinary analysis of student demographics, prior coursework, SAT scores, and grades. "We have been choosing prerequisites based on intuition and not a lot of fact. What this has done for us is give us a real opener. Things are not always what we expect."

None of this would have been possible without the support she received to help her do experiments on the data. When it comes to learning analytics, she notes, "there are a lot of data available, "but they don’t exist in the form that makes them easy to analyze."