Wednesday, April 17, 2019

In order to leverage data, research, assessment to foster student success, the Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology (OTLT) is working to scale Elements of Success (EoS), the learning-analytics platform that predicts how students will perform in a course. Introduced three years ago, EoS has expanded to 24 courses and was used by 9,500 students in 2018. Preparations to implement the Unizin Data Platform are underway, which will bring together learning analytics from the UI and other schools to help institutions make predictions, spot problems, and improve teaching. Benefits of sharing data across Unizin schools were outlined in a recent story in The Chronicle of Higher Education. A UI task force of faculty and administrators is working to refine questions and processes for end-of-semester course evaluations via ACE Online, and OTLT is exploring opportunities to launch a learning analytics community of practice on campus.

Several tactics are underway to evolve and adopt flexible, effective learning environments. This summer and fall, the UI is moving to a more robust “clicker” system. The new tool, TopHat, includes more features to foster engagement in the classroom. Also this summer, the university is moving to a new platform for creating and delivering digital media. Kaltura will be available in the online course-management system ICON and can be used to store, publish, and stream media. ICON Direct, which allows students to purchase textbooks and other course materials at far lower costs than printed equivalents, was introduced in 2018. Students have saved over $1 million to date, and the tool provides new opportunities in teaching and learning. Students can search, annotate, and mark digital course materials, or pose questions to instructors within the text, while instructors can see which passages students highlight or find challenging. OTLT and its campus partners are also revitalizing governance of campus learning spaces and looking at how to best support the multitude of devices students bring to classrooms, not only to take notes but to collaborate and share information.

Utilizing data and learning analytics is aiding progress in the strategy to support effective instruction. In addition, the innovative Learning Design Collaboratory is providing course assessment, course design, and a community of practice to help UI faculty and students alike get more from their courses and learning experiences. OTLT is also working to raise awareness of the services it offers, such as work being done in the Research and Analytics team to help instructors adopt effective teaching practices supported by data, and by the Center for Teaching staff, who support excellence in teaching and learning through institutes, workshops, programs and one-on-one consultation.