IU Bloomington to lead analytics program aimed at improving student success

  • July 25, 2016


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington, which began a Student Learning Analytics Fellows program in 2015, will lead a multiyear Bay View Alliance project to use data analytics to improve student learning, retention and success.

The University of British Columbia, the University of Kansas, Queens University of Canada and the University of Saskatchewan will join IU Bloomington on this project. Other Bay View Alliance institutions may join as the project unfolds.

Lorne Whitehead, program director of the Bay View Alliance, said the new program is the organization's latest initiative aimed at elevating the importance of teaching and student achievement at research-oriented universities.

"Since it was organized five years ago, the BVA has sought to bring innovative practices in teaching and learning to the forefront of higher education," Whitehead said. "We have a growing body of evidence showing what helps students learn, and we are always looking for ways to put that evidence to work in departments and classrooms. This latest project fits well with those goals."

George Rehrey, director of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Program at Indiana University, and Dennis Groth, vice provost for undergraduate education at IU, will lead the new initiative.

"We've had an initial success in building a community of faculty members at Indiana who have an interest in using learning analytical data to explore such things as the effectiveness of course structure, peer networks, online course modules and students' continued success in their majors as they progress through the curriculum," Rehrey said. "With the help of the BVA, we will expand that effort across universities."

The learning analytics initiative follows the successful launch last year of a Bay View Alliance initiative to hire teaching specialists in STEM fields at six member universities -- including IU Bloomington -- and to create a community of partners across campuses. That initiative, known as TRESTLE, received a $2.5 million grant last year from the National Science Foundation. Andrea Greenhoot, director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Kansas, is leading that effort.

“IU’s collaboration with the Bay View Alliance broadens our ability to improve student learning outcomes,” Groth said. “Our participation in the TRESTLE initiative and the learning analytics project, both with a strong focus on student success, directly addresses objectives in the campus strategic plan.”

The Bay View Alliance made the announcement about the new student learning analytics initiative during its semiannual steering committee meeting in Washington, D.C., in June. The organization met at the offices of the Association of American Universities, which has been working with the alliance to help improve teaching at research-intensive universities.

The Bay View Alliance is a network of nine research universities in the United States and Canada working to identify more effective approaches to teaching and learning and to foster cultural change that leads to the adoption of improved teaching methods at universities.

Its member institutions are the University of British Columbia, Queens University and the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, along with the University of Colorado, the University of California, Davis, Indiana University Bloomington, the University of Kansas, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the University of Texas, Austin, in the United States.

The Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education oversees programs and initiatives in support of outstanding academic experiences for all IU Bloomington undergraduate students. It provides advising, testing and enrichment resources for students at all stages and leads efforts that assess, facilitate and improve undergraduate teaching and learning.

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