New Learning Analytics Practitioner Case Studies for #LAK15


To coincide with the LAK15 (Learning Analytics and Knowledge) conference Scaling Up: Big Data to Big Impact  LACE is publishing three papers in the Learning Analytics Review which will be presented in the practitioner track of the conference. The papers cover Learning Analytics projects at the Universities of GeorgeTown and Capella in the U.S. and The Open University in the UK and describe in detail how dashboards and learning analytics methodologies are being applied to address institutional problems.


The first paper, OU Analyse: Analysing At-Risk Students at The Open University, explores how learning analytics can be used to identify “at risk” students at The Open University using OU Analyse. The authors, Jakub Kuzilek, Martin Hlosta, Drahomira Herrmannova, Zdenek Zdrahal, Jonas Vaclavek and Annika Wolff describe the project:

The OU Analyse project aims at providing early prediction of  ‘at-risk’ students based on their demographic data and their interaction with Virtual Learning Environment. Four predictive models have been constructed from legacy data using machine learning methods. In Spring 2014 the approach was piloted and evaluated on two introductory university courses with about 1,500 and 3,000 students, respectively. Since October 2014 the predictions have been extended to include 10+ courses of different level. The OU Analyse dashboard has been implemented, for presenting predictions and providing a course overview and a view of individual students.

This paper is being presented in session 2B Students at Risk, on the 18th March from 13.00-14.30 [17.00-18.30 GMT], and also the Technology Showcase on the 19th March. 16.30-17.30 [20.30-21.30 GMT].

The second paper by Yianna Vovides, Youmans, T., Arthur, P., Davis, D., Pongsajapan, R. and McWilliams, M. presents a case study from GeorgeTown University where they are using linguistic analysis to analyse cognitive presence in a MOOC. From the abstract:

This study examines a corpus of 4,825 discussion forum posts from 495 participants in a GeorgetownX MOOC on globalization for insight into the cognitive presence of learners and its implications for course performance. By analyzing the use of key terms linked to core course concepts as well as estimated level of language abstraction in the discussion forum, we examine the relationship between the results of this analysis, achievement, and video content engagement. By combining these varied analytics, we aim to get a better sense of learners’ cognitive presence.

This paper is being presented in session 3B MOOCs, Discussion Forums on 18th March 14.45-16.30 [18.45-20.30 GMT]

In his paper Jeff Grann describes the FlexPath programme at Capella University where adult learners are assessed using a Competency Map rather than the traditional route of contact hours as the abstract illustrates:

In October 2013, Capella University launched FlexPath, America’s first federally-approved direct assessment program at the bachelor and master degree levels. Students in these offerings advance by demonstrating competencies according to faculty judged performance across multiple authentic assessments. This case study describes the offering’s development, operations and performance, and includes evidence suggesting that students save both time and money compared to credit-bearing programs while maintaining comparable levels of academic achievement.

This paper is being presented on Thursday 19th March in session 5A, Learning Strategies and Tools at 13.00-14.30 [17.00-18.30 GMT] and also in the Technology Showcase on the 19th March 16.30-17.30 [20.30-21.30 GMT].

The LACE project is also involved in a number of other activities at LAK15, described in this post.


About Author

Christina is currently the Cetis (Centre for Educational Technology, Interoperability and Standards) Editor a role which co-ordinates communications activities including publications and organising the Cetis conference. Before joining Cetis Christina an e-learning development officer at the University of Bangor, and before that was the manager of the CTI Biology Centre. Christina is supporting communications in the LACE project.

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