Provided by DeVry University
Imagine an academic counselor available to students 24/7, always having student needs in mind and quick to give a “nudge” when needed. This is a key purpose for new tech tools that use academic analytics to reach out to college students who might be starting to falter, sending them useful communications pertaining to their academic success.
The Learning Experience, Updated
Education is at a point with technology where learning, even remote learning, can be social. A student on a ship in the middle of the ocean can still plug in and participate fully in the educational experience. It’s one reason why educators, engineers and technologists are working to improve the way students learn online and how they interact with the academic community.
This can be especially important early on in the education process, says Dr. Philip D. Gardner, director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University. “[Students] need to know how to leverage the skills they’ve learned into a career path, and understand what commitments they have to make to move forward.” Gardner points out that it takes conversation—and it’s important to start those earlier, so it’s not just a reminder system. “Nudges have to be followed by conversations and questions like: Where will your education take you? What do you want to do? It may help to have someone there to do that and make sure they’re on the right path.”
Engaged Learning, Big Results
Looking at data to see how students participate in their education can make a difference in their future success. Recognizing this, DeVry University has partnered with Civitas Learning Space to provide relevant services to students in a program called Inspire.
Dr. Lynn Burks, national dean at DeVry University and the Keller Graduate School of Management says, “Different students have higher or lower levels of engagement, but everybody may benefit from some nudging and we’re seeing the results in terms of student success. When your heart and soul are engaged, your mind is engaged.”
At the same time, faculty and advisors are collaborating to use data resources and a communications framework to assist students with their educational plans, including long-term planning, short-term goals and immediate objectives.
According to Gardner, who has been studying the transition from college to the workplace for more than 20 years, technology can enrich the learning environment for students. Helping students stay engaged is just one example of how data analytics can be used to get big results. “We’re looking at a broad range of software applications to do a variety of things, like monitoring what kind of combinations students are taking and how they’re doing in those classes,” Gardner says. “If they’re having issues and we can find that out, we can structure class-taking and enrollment patterns so students can be successful and graduate on time.”
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