Engaging Faculty in Learning Analytics: Agents of Institutional Culture Change
To successfully implement Learning Analytics (LA) systems within higher education, we need to engage administrators, faculty, and staff alike. This paper is by and primarily for practitioners. We suggest implementation strategies that consider the human factor in adopting new technologies by analyzing the viability of our Learning Analytics Fellows Program (LAFP), where faculty are empowered as agents of institutional change. This program directly addresses known barriers to the use of LA, dealing with culture management, adoption, and sustainability. The Fellows program engages faculty in inquiry about student success, providing them with a view of the student experience through institutional data. Faculty, with their knowledge of students and programs as well as their research expertise, are well-positioned to advance LA efforts on our campuses. In our case, faculty are also the end users of their findings, and are able to provide input into the design of the analytical tools created for them. Expanding on a paper presented at the LAK 18 conference (Rehrey, Groth, Fiorini, Hostetter, & Shepard, 2018), we describe the rationale for the implementation strategy, reflect on the effectiveness of this strategy by analyzing self-reports from our LAFP, and consider the broader impacts of this approach for the future.
AAU (Association of American Universities). (2017). Progress toward achieving systemic change: A five-year status report on the AAU undergraduate STEM education initiative. Washington, D.C. Retrieved from https://www.aau.edu/sites/default/files/AAU-Files/STEM-Education-Initiative/STEM-Status-Report.pdf
Austin, A. E. (2013). Promoting evidence-based change in undergraduate science education. Fourth Committee Meeting on Status, Contributions, and Future Directions of Discipline-Based Education Research, 2011. Retrieved from https://ascnhighered.org/ASCN/resources/178895.html
Baepler, P., & Murdoch, C. (2010). Academic analytics and data mining in higher education. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 4(2). https://doi.org/10.20429/ijsotl.2010.040217
Bichsel, J. (2012). Analytics in higher education: Benefits, barriers, progress, and recommendations. Louisville, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research. Retrieved from https://library.educause.edu/~/media/files/library/2012/6/ers1207.pdf?la=en
Cox, M. (2017). Faculty learning communities: Change agents for transforming institutions into learning organizations. To Improve the Academy, 19(1), 69–93. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2334-4822.2001.tb00525.x
Ebert-May, D., Derting, T. L., Hodder, J., Momsen, J. L., Long, T. M., & Jardeleza, S. E. (2011). What we say is not what we do: Effective evaluation of faculty professional development programs. BioScience, 61(7), 550–558. https://doi.org/10.1525/bio.2011.61.7.9
Fairweather, J. (2008). Linking evidence and promising practices in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) undergraduate education. Washington, DC: Board of Science Education, National Research Council, The National Academies. Retrieved from https://www.nsf.gov/attachments/117803/public/Xc--Linking_Evidence--Fairweather.pdf
Ferguson, R., Macfadyen, L. P., Clow, D., Tynan, B., Alexander, S., & Dawson, S. (2014). Setting learning analytics in context: Overcoming the barriers to large-scale adoption. Journal of Learning Analytics, 1(3), 120–144. https://doi.org/10.18608/jla.2014.13.7
Kezar, A., & Gehrke, S. (2015). Communities of transformation and their work scaling STEM reform. Pullias Center for Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.uscrossier.org/pullias/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/communities-of-trans.pdf
Long, P., & Siemens, G. (2011). Penetrating the fog: Analytics in learning and education. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2011/9/penetrating-the-fog-analytics-in-learning-and-education
Macfadyen, L., & Dawson, S. (2012). Numbers are not enough. Why e-learning analytics failed to inform an institutional strategic plan. Educational Technology and Society, 15(3), 149–163. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/268367045_Numbers_Are_Not_Enough_Why_e-Learning_Analytics_Failed_to_Inform_an_Institutional_Strategic_Plan
Macfadyen, L. P., Dawson, S., Pardo, A., & Gašević, D. (2014). Embracing big data in complex educational systems: The learning analytics imperative and the policy challenge. Research and Practice in Assessment, 9(2), 17–28. Retrieved from http://www.rpajournal.com/dev/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/A2.pdf
Rehrey, G., Groth, D., Fiorini, S., Hostetter, C., & Shepard, L. (2018). Implementation of a student learning analytics fellows program. In A. Pardo, K. Bartimote, G. Lynch, S. Buckingham Shum, R. Ferguson, A. Merceron, & X. Ochoa (Eds.), Companion Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge (pp. 93–100). Sydney, Australia: Society for Learning Analytics Research. http://solaresearch.org/uploads/LAK18_Companion_Proceedings.pdf
Rehrey, G., Groth, D., Shepard, L., & Hostetter, C. (2019). The scholarship of teaching, learning and student success: Big data and the landscape of new opportunities. In J. Friberg & K. McKinney (Eds.), Conducting and applying SoTL beyond the individual classroom level. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Reinholz, D., & Apkarian, N. (2018). Four frames for systemic change in STEM departments. International Journal of STEM Education, 5(3). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40594-018-0103-x
Tagg, J. (2008). Changing minds in higher education: Students change, so why can’t colleges? Planning for Higher Education, 37(1), 15–22. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/242602051_Changing_Minds_in_Higher_Education_Students_Change_So_Why_Can’t_Colleges
Tagg, J. (2012). Why does the faculty resist change? Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 44(1), 6–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/00091383.2012.635987
Wenger-Trayner, E., & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015). Introduction to communities of practice: A brief overview of the concept and its uses. Retrieved from http://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/
Williams, A., Verwood, R., Beery, T., Dalton, H., McKinnon, J., Strickland, K., Pace, J., & Poole, G. (2013). The power of social networks: A model for weaving the scholarship of teaching and learning into institutional culture. Teaching & Learning Inquiry: The ISSOTL Journal, 1(2), 49–62. https://doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.1.2.49
Share this article:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.