A recent opinion piece by Michael Meotti in EdSurge makes the case for colleges and universities to move forward regarding learning analytics. More eloquently than I could, Michael lays out the case for engaging in analytics across the institution and addressing the to-be-expected resistance of some staff and faculty that he sees emerging.
“A debate between academics and entrepreneurial types will definitely trigger a lot of sensitivity to turf and a battle over who is the smartest voice in the room. But given that students and broader societal needs should come first, this discussion needs to be based on those goals and not on the personal preferences of the involved parties …” -Michael Meotti
His quote (at left) is spot on. In our work with institutions, we encounter these headwinds occasionally – the best way to sail into headwinds is to tack into them. In other words, ensure that all parties are aligned to the goal of student success, which may mean moving obliquely to, but in concert with, all of the various stakeholders.
Sharing the goals of the various initiatives can be a great place to start building alliances.
Meotti identifies four key themes that college leadership and faculty should embrace when engaging in this work.
Don’t be an ostrich
Meaning: You have an obligation to become engaged in this work – there’s the obligation of knowing it can make a positive difference
A firm grip can be fatal
Meaning: Be open to working with partners
Buyer and user beware
Meaning: Be ready to invest money and time in order to reap the benefits of analytics work, but buy wisely
Look for help from your peers across the country
Meaning: We are all learning together in this work, and engaging across sectors speeds the learning for all. Every ship rises with this tide.
Dr. Rob Robinson is the Senior Director of Strategic Services at Civitas Learning where he works with colleges and universities to help them leverage data analytics to further their mission of student success. Prior to coming to Civitas Learning, Rob was a Principal Strategist at Blackboard, an Assistant Vice Provost for Educational Technology at the University of Texas at San Antonio and a key leader with the University of Texas TeleCampus, a large-scale, System-wide organization supporting fully online degree programs, many of which were inter-institutional collaborative programs.