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With rising costs, reductions in funding, pressures for accountability and the shadow of Brexit looming large, universities must find ways to maintain and improve the experience of their students if they are to remain the envy of the education sector. Thankfully the answers are there to be found, they’re just hidden in the data universities already have… Learner analytics Today, students are leaving behind an increasing trail of data footprints. Enrolment data, course performance, even social media sentiment, student demographics, location data and learning systems interaction. Universities now have a wealth of information that can be used to understand how students interact and learn, and how to optimise this to enhance the student journey. Using this data to improve the student attrition can help to reduce the universal issue facing colleges and universities – that if their experience isn’t right, students will leave. Recent HESA figures show that 26,000 students in England didn't make it beyond their first year. This equates to 6.4% of students starting a full-time first degree course in England quitting before their second year in 2016; with almost one in five undergraduates quitting by the end of their first year at the worst affected institutions. This has an impact on the institution’s reputation – as well as its bottom line. But analytics can help decrease and manage this attrition. The first step to resolving the issue is to understand the factors that lead a student to leave. It’s generally acknowledged that a student’s inability to perform academically is a chief cause of attrition. But it’s often not just academic factors that contribute. The cost of attending university is increasing, putting huge financial burdens on students. Health and mental issues also play a part in influencing student’s decisions not to return. Spotting early warnings One presumption might be that students, away from home for the first time, struggle with the associated anxieties of a new living situation. However, the work we carried out revealed surprising results - amongst those most likely to drop out were those staying at home – those who failed to integrate fully into university life. And all the signals are there to see if universities have the tools to find them in time. Our student retention model looks at student performance past and present to uncover hidden patterns in student behaviour to predict better student outcomes and protect student revenue streams. Using the data available helps higher education institutions get a comprehensive single view of each student (as well as a university-wide view), from which they can use analytics to determine who may be at risk. Once identified, the issues that could lead to student attrition can be addressed, either through additional academic counselling, financial aid support or health and mental health services. This process isn't easy, though. It requires aligning data from multiple, often disparate sources for that comprehensive view of the student. One must then analyse and consume that data through the application of analytics, such as dashboards, reports and predictive models to find patterns that identify those students at risk of attrition. Artificial Intelligence While AI may still be in its infancy, we’re already living in a world that’s infused with automation. And as machine learning techniques and natural language understanding evolve, AI is embedded in our digital lives. AI can further help universities improve their student journey, spotting hidden correlations and identifying trends before we even know which questions to ask, helping to boost the university experience for every student… and staff member! A front-facing example of augmented intelligence is the Virtual Assistant. Already successfully employed by a handful of universities, these digital campus assistants can be designed and deployed to enhance a range of services used by students, teachers and support teams across the university. From reducing demands on labour to delivering timely, personalized and contextualised learning and assessment aids, these data-led tools enhance how students learn and engage. Planning for the future Of course, the student experience in general - from learning and teaching to the university estate and opportunities, all have a bearing on the decisions that students make - whether they want to stay, or go, or even join the university in the first place. This is where other analytics solutions come in. Student number planning; estate planning; financial planning, budgeting, forecasting and reporting; workforce and workload planning; and research fund planning are all key areas in which analytics can play an important role. The student experience isn’t confined to one silo of data. Operational effectiveness across the university is vital to ensure a consistent journey for the student. And that’s why, before higher education institutions make important decisions that affect their future – and that of their students – it’s vital they attain a holistic view of their data to get the personal insight they need to ensure an excellent student journey; a journey that Capita, as leading providers of student information and analytics solutions to the higher education sector, are keen to support. [post_title] => Using data to improve the student journey [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => using-data-to-improve-the-student-journey [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-07-31 10:53:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-07-31 09:53:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://universitybusiness.co.uk/dashboard2/?post_type=blog&p=22742 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 21857 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2019-06-13 16:36:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-06-13 15:36:14 [post_content] => The Augar review, OfS inspection changes, student experience, university rankings, Subject level TEF, ‘grade inflation’, fees and value for money, data futures, student wellbeing, learning analytics… I could go on. It’s great to live in interesting times but I think there is possibly a bit too much happening at the moment. In three months, it will be 35 years since I arrived, fresh faced, at Manchester University to study biochemistry. I came from a small rural town and arrived in the big city – excited, scared and bewildered at the place I found myself in. I doubt that my results of B, C and E at A level would get me anywhere near that course now. I remember having to telephone the admissions office the day my results came out to see if they would still have me. Thankfully the door was still open. I was lucky, but not just because they let me in. I made some great friends, a handful of whom I’m still in touch with today. Last year, we had a reunion at our first-year hall of residence and stayed in the very same rooms we had been in all those years ago. As far as I could remember, my room in Owens Park, Fallowfield had the same fixtures and fittings and looked almost identical to how it appeared 35 years ago. The only difference was there was a wired internet point. Back then we had one payphone between 30 students in Little Court 7 – no mobile phones for us. I was disconnected from, home, family and school friends, in a strange city (I had never seen anything like the curry mile in Rusholme that I walked through every day to lectures) and I was really struggling badly with my mathematics for biochemists subsid course – I only had CSE grade 1 maths (see this table for what that level of maths is equivalent to). I do remember feeling as though I was going to fail everything because of my lack of mathematical prowess and getting very fed up about it. So, here’s my question… Despite the internet, our 24/7 always connected culture and more socially savvy, globally aware youngsters, is arriving and thriving at university any different today compared to how it was for me 35 years ago? The answer, of course, is probably ‘yes’. Having seen my own two children do it, students can find out much more about their university in advance on Unistats. When thinking about what I wanted to do at university, I just liked the sound of Manchester and studying Biology and Chemistry at school, hence I chose Biochemistry - not the best degree selection process. Today’s students can discuss everything on The Student Room or join WhatsApp and Facebook groups for students who will be arriving at the same time as them, effectively making friends before they even get to their hall of residence or first lecture. Many universities provide a digital welcome and online information that today’s student population demand based on their experiences in other parts of their lives. But sadly, for some students this does not help, and they do not have the stimulating, fulfilling and memorable experience of going to university that many of you reading this will be able to reflect on. That’s why, of all the issues I listed at the start of this piece, although each on own is important, one stands out to me and is worth universities really focussing on above the others – student wellbeing. There are too many stories in the news of students who are lost, who are lonely and who are not happy about being at university. With the pressure of making new friends, meeting new people, becoming accustomed to methods of teaching and learning that are different from those of their school, coupled with being in a different city, it can lead to depression and worse. Last week I saw a news item about a university that is going to use technology to start tracking student social media to look for signs of students with depression and at risk of suicide. This may be a headline grabbing angle to using data to support student wellbeing, but it is true that universities are beginning to use learning analytics to maximise the role that data can play in improving student wellbeing and ultimately their success. But it’s not easy, and that’s not just because of the technical challenges involved. Each of us can probably remember a case in our personal lives when someone on the end of a phone has told us, “Sorry, I can’t tell you that, it’s against data protection.” Or, as part of our jobs we have hesitated or refused to share some data with someone else because of data protection. The recent introduction of the GDPR legislation has heightened everyone’s sensitivity to this. But wait. What about sharing data between university departments and their systems when it might have a direct result on identifying disaffected students at risk? I’m not saying any institution should drive a coach and horses through the GDPR rules or fail to make students aware that they will collect and pool data from a range of systems such as their library, VLE and student information systems to help support them and identify those who are less engaged or at risk of becoming disaffected. But, I am saying that universities should be much bolder about doing something in this area that works to safeguard students at risk. Although colleagues at Jisc are doing some excellent work in supporting universities in this area with their learning analytics service , last year I chaired a roundtable debate with university registrars and CIOs, which looked at the challenges universities face in becoming data-driven institutions, much of which focussed on the challenges of joining up legacy systems and considered the frustrating prevailing climate in universities that can mitigate against effective data sharing to support student wellbeing. Since then, much has been written and discussed on the subject of breaking down the barriers to the effective use of data to support student wellbeing. I and a colleague, Nick Waters, shared our views on why universities should be bold and build capacity and capability in the area of learning analytics into their data strategy. And, it is a journey that we at Capita Software, as leading providers of student information and analytics solutions to the higher education sector are keen to support. [post_title] => Going to university – the same but different [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => going-to-university-the-same-but-different [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-07-24 13:58:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-07-24 12:58:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://universitybusiness.co.uk/dashboard2/?post_type=blog&p=21857 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 7693 [post_author] => 43 [post_date] => 2018-10-15 12:08:28 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-10-15 11:08:28 [post_content] => With the emergence of a data-driven regulatory framework, HE providers need to consider how they are going to respond. To explore these challenges, we’re delighted to welcome HE data expert, Andy Youell, to our webinar panel. Andy’s work has covered all aspects of the data and systems lifecycle and in recent years has focussed on improving the HE sector’s relationship with data. Hear from Andy and Capita’s Karen Rawson and Susan Wignall as they discuss the key drivers for change on 8 November 2018. Meet the panel:
  • Andy Youell is a writer, speaker and strategic data advisor. Formerly the Director of Data Policy and Governance at HESA, Andy has been at the leading edge of data issues across higher education for over 25 years.
  • Karen Rawson is Senior Product Manager for FE and HE software solutions at Capita. Karen has over 15 years’ experience in the education sector across product strategy and qualification management roles, and 10 years as a lecturer at a university in Wales.
  • Susan Wignall is Business Development Manager for Higher Education and Libraries at Capita Education Software Solutions. With 20 years’ experience in IT and software, Susan has worked with local authorities and educational institutions throughout her career.

This webinar is now available to watch, register to view it below
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In August, Education Secretary Damian Hinds laid down a challenge for the edtech industry to “launch an education revolution for schools, colleges and universities” with the aim of supporting time-poor academic staff, administrators and leadership teams deliver what they need more effectively to help improve student outcomes.

SUPPORTING THE LEARNER JOURNEY

At Capita, we have a unique ‘all through’ perspective on the needs of those working in education today. What makes us different to many edtech companies is that our education management solutions support the learning journey from nursery through to higher education. It is quite possible that a learner’s record will reside in a solution provided by Capita from their first visit to nursery until the time they graduate from college or university.

GETTING THE MOST FROM YOUR TECH

It’s great when we hear success stories from our customers about how they’re using our products, and in my role at Capita Education Software Solutions, I’m fortunate to be able to visit higher education providers to see how our solutions help them deliver improved institutional efficiency, save staff time and improve student outcomes.

That said, I meet many people that don’t know how to get the full benefit from software that in many cases they already have. All universities in the UK have a student information system (SIS) which is used to manage everything from admissions and enrolments to curriculum planning and timetabling. Some customers do not fully realise how these systems can help them work towards the important goals of raising student achievement and reducing workload. I’m looking forward, in the new climate set by Mr Hinds, to helping those working in universities understand how our higher education solutions can help them do more with their data, more quickly, in relation to the issues outlined in his challenge.

ENHANCING THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE

Much of the focus in the coverage of the announcement has been on eye-catching technology and exciting new gadgets. However, while it is great to see new ways to deliver content to students, that shouldn’t be the sole purpose of edtech.

At the heart of any innovations should be the needs and challenges that universities face, and how they can be solved efficiently in a way that benefits students. Those challenges may indeed be tangible representations of individual courses, but they could just as easily be helping to ensure that all staff within institutions are comfortable and competent working in a digital environment. With information available to the right people, at the right time, in the right format, universities can empower their staff to help students succeed.

DRIVING DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

With the potential of further workload impact on the horizon from policy and programmes including the OfS Data Strategy, HESA Data Futures, and subject-level TEF awards, digital transformation is now a key conversation for many university leadership teams.

As the amount and type of data an institution must capture evolves, universities need a way to manage the time, cost and impact of data gathering. Having an accurate student record across your institution so academic, management and support staff can engage more with your students and key data is vital.

RISING TO THE CHALLENGE

So, whether it is supporting access and inclusion, improving learning outcomes or reducing the administration burden, we welcome the opportunity to showcase how our higher education management solutions can meet the edtech challenge for your institution. 

Capita Education Software: capitaeducationsoftware.co.uk
AGILIT-e is the education management solution for universities that are determined to make an impact sooner. From student information systems to cloud-based library management solutions, over 30 higher education institutions in the UK and Ireland rely on Capita Education Software Solutions as a trusted technology partner. For more information visit capita.agilit-e.co.uk
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With rising costs, reductions in funding, pressures for accountability and the shadow of Brexit looming large, universities must find ways to maintain and improve the experience of their students if they are to remain the envy of the education sector. Thankfully the answers are there to be found, they’re just hidden in the data universities already have… Learner analytics Today, students are leaving behind an increasing trail of data footprints. Enrolment data, course performance, even social media sentiment, student demographics, location data and learning systems interaction. Universities now have a wealth of information that can be used to understand how students interact and learn, and how to optimise this to enhance the student journey. Using this data to improve the student attrition can help to reduce the universal issue facing colleges and universities – that if their experience isn’t right, students will leave. Recent HESA figures show that 26,000 students in England didn't make it beyond their first year. This equates to 6.4% of students starting a full-time first degree course in England quitting before their second year in 2016; with almost one in five undergraduates quitting by the end of their first year at the worst affected institutions. This has an impact on the institution’s reputation – as well as its bottom line. But analytics can help decrease and manage this attrition. The first step to resolving the issue is to understand the factors that lead a student to leave. It’s generally acknowledged that a student’s inability to perform academically is a chief cause of attrition. But it’s often not just academic factors that contribute. The cost of attending university is increasing, putting huge financial burdens on students. Health and mental issues also play a part in influencing student’s decisions not to return. Spotting early warnings One presumption might be that students, away from home for the first time, struggle with the associated anxieties of a new living situation. However, the work we carried out revealed surprising results - amongst those most likely to drop out were those staying at home – those who failed to integrate fully into university life. And all the signals are there to see if universities have the tools to find them in time. Our student retention model looks at student performance past and present to uncover hidden patterns in student behaviour to predict better student outcomes and protect student revenue streams. Using the data available helps higher education institutions get a comprehensive single view of each student (as well as a university-wide view), from which they can use analytics to determine who may be at risk. Once identified, the issues that could lead to student attrition can be addressed, either through additional academic counselling, financial aid support or health and mental health services. This process isn't easy, though. It requires aligning data from multiple, often disparate sources for that comprehensive view of the student. One must then analyse and consume that data through the application of analytics, such as dashboards, reports and predictive models to find patterns that identify those students at risk of attrition. Artificial Intelligence While AI may still be in its infancy, we’re already living in a world that’s infused with automation. And as machine learning techniques and natural language understanding evolve, AI is embedded in our digital lives. AI can further help universities improve their student journey, spotting hidden correlations and identifying trends before we even know which questions to ask, helping to boost the university experience for every student… and staff member! A front-facing example of augmented intelligence is the Virtual Assistant. Already successfully employed by a handful of universities, these digital campus assistants can be designed and deployed to enhance a range of services used by students, teachers and support teams across the university. From reducing demands on labour to delivering timely, personalized and contextualised learning and assessment aids, these data-led tools enhance how students learn and engage. Planning for the future Of course, the student experience in general - from learning and teaching to the university estate and opportunities, all have a bearing on the decisions that students make - whether they want to stay, or go, or even join the university in the first place. This is where other analytics solutions come in. Student number planning; estate planning; financial planning, budgeting, forecasting and reporting; workforce and workload planning; and research fund planning are all key areas in which analytics can play an important role. The student experience isn’t confined to one silo of data. Operational effectiveness across the university is vital to ensure a consistent journey for the student. And that’s why, before higher education institutions make important decisions that affect their future – and that of their students – it’s vital they attain a holistic view of their data to get the personal insight they need to ensure an excellent student journey; a journey that Capita, as leading providers of student information and analytics solutions to the higher education sector, are keen to support. 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The education management solution for universities that are determined to make an impact sooner.

For more than 30 years, our software solutions have supported the higher education sector.

From student records and library management systems, to online payment solutions and learner analytics, over 60 higher education institutions in the UK and Ireland rely on Capita Software as a trusted technology partner.

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