Educational analytics. Kids, this is gonna be big. As students perform more and more tasks with computers, as we sign-up, take classes, turn in papers online, there will be a wealth of data from which we will be able to assess learning and then, ideally, adjust and remediate course offerings and instruction. (Ideally.) If nothing else, business intelligence and data analysis is going to become increasingly important for all sorts of organizations.

A sign that this is an important and upcoming trend in education? The learning management company Blackboard has just launched Blackboard Analytics, a suite of applications that supports leaders with deeper insights into their institutional performance and analytical dashboard applications to help them view progress against goals in real time.

Blackboard Analytics will track various data sources on campus -- student enrollment and retention, financial aid, institutional financial performance and fundraising and human resources. The release version of the product will have the following modules: eLearning, Student, Financial Management, Human Resources, Advancement, and Financial Aid.

Schools needn't use Blackboard as their LMS in order to buy into the analytics platform, which Blackboard says combines work it's already undertaken in education analytics with technology it acquired when it bought the data warehousing company iStrategy last year.

"Institutions don't lack for available data, says Jim Hermens, Senior VP at Blackboard and General Manager of Blackboard Analytics, but they don't often have an easy, timely or cost-effective way to harness and act on it to improve performance. We want to give leaders across the institution easier access to data as well as statistical analysis and predictive modeling that can help them better gauge which are their fastest growing programs or where they may have courses and faculty resources that are underutilized."

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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