Finally, Madhok says, by tracking the days and times when students are most active on Canvas, the IT team hopes to refine systems management.
“Across the university, our goals are the same: to use data and analytics to promote best practices and make smart decisions,” says Madhok. “If that means planning maintenance windows so we’re not disrupting students while they’re studying, that’s something that we can try to accomplish.”
Survey: Vast Majority of Institutions Have Data Analytics Programs
Clemson is one of a growing number of colleges and universities leveraging new technologies to make sense of student data.
According to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, the Association for Institutional Research and EDUCAUSE, 89 percent of respondents from institutions of all sizes say they’re investing in data analytics projects to boost student success.
The survey included feedback from nearly 1,000 professionals from public and private nonprofit institutions offering two- to four-year academic programs.
Among the 398 colleges with data analytics studies already in progress, 96 percent of respondents said that improving student outcomes was one of the goals of their initiative, and 71 percent said they were seeking efficiencies in program and service delivery.
At Clemson, Nitin Madhok paired Splunk and Canvas to drive both student success and IT efficiency. Photography by: Ian Curcio.
Most of these institutions surveyed are pulling data from student information systems housing admissions, financial aid and academic course data, for example. Relatively few have, like Clemson, turned to the data in their LMS.
“One of the biggest things we found is that nearly every institution, if they’re not using student data already, they’re at least thinking about ways to do so very soon,” says Amelia Parnell, vice president for research and policy at NASPA. “Among those that are using this data, they’re becoming more and more sophisticated in how they go about it.”
Custom-Built Apps Give College Students Holistic Insights
Purdue University has made data central to its student success efforts. Over the past several years, says Bethany Croton, an educational technologist for teaching and learning technologies on the university’s Innovative Learning team, Purdue has developed several data analytics applications designed for use by students and faculty alike.
One of those tools, a web-based app known as Forecast, employs an analytics and predictive-modeling platform Purdue created in consultation with Dell EMC.
The app provides a “nudge” to undergraduates to adopt positive behaviors that correlate with success metrics, such as higher GPAs and on-time graduation.