Analytics to mind data
Mathews and his team recognized that a lot of value could be found in the untapped “gold mine” of student-related data captured within the Brightspace platform. To lead ORU’s analytics initiative, the university hired Dr. Kenneth Berchenbriter, a 34-year IT and academic veteran with expertise in applying technology to improve operational performance within organizations.
Better Data Translates into Earlier Guidance
“We wanted to give our instructors better information on what’s happening in the classroom and the ability to examine performance on a course level, at a program level, and then across an entire area of academic focus,” says Dr. Berchenbriter. “We were looking to give our faculty as much data as we could to allow them to be proactive versus reactive. If you wait too long and rely too much on mid-term grades and performance, it’s just too late to intervene. Students will have gone through half the course and those at risk may consider dropping out.”
“Great” Student Performance Data
ORU began by leveraging the Brightspace Advanced Analytics solution
for all its online courses and implementing a new early warning system via the Brightspace Student Success System™. The combination of these technologies allowed IT to present data collected from the Brightspace platform into meaningful views for faculty.
“Instructors needed to focus on where they needed to take action. It’s like looking at your car’s dashboard and seeing the ‘check engine light.’ You know something’s wrong. Brightspace Insights and the Student Success System allow us to quickly spot when students are having problems and to drill into the details to discover problems with class components. We can also examine trends over time to see if the problem may be related to difficulty with a textbook, an assignment, or a certain instructor who may be having trouble teaching the class,” says Dr. Berchenbriter.
Visualizing Academic and Social Performance
Focusing on education that benefits the whole person, ORU takes great care to nurture the mind, body, and spirit of its students. Staying true to this goal, the institution has leveraged Brightspace to not only visualize a student’s academic performance, but their social interactions as well.
“I was teaching an online class and noticed one of my students was interacting with only one other person in the classroom,” says Dr. Berchenbriter. “After speaking with the student, I learned she had moved into the class from another cohort. So the dynamics of the group were already in place and it was hard for her to break in. The early warning system in Brightspace prompted me to encourage her classmates to work harder at folding her into discussions.”