Page 20 - Campus Technology, July 2017
P. 20

Scott Winslow, practice manager at the Education Advisory Board, recently co-authored a paper called “Optimizing IT’s Role in Student Success.” The paper identified four key areas for structuring a proactive IT approach to student success. Campus Technology asked Winslow to describe them.
1) Embed faculty expertise in risk thresholds. “Faculty are closer to students and closer to what goes on in the classroom,” Winslow said. “You need to engage and extract that real-world experience from faculty and make sure you use it, because then your risk threshold will be much more attuned to the realities of classroom learning.” He added that faculty members need to feel enfranchised and like they have ownership in this process. “Otherwise, the people you are dependent on to carry forward a lot of your student success strategies won’t be helping you and in some cases might be actively undermining you.”
2) Identify and remove course bottlenecks. When EAB looked at root cause factors of students’ lack of progress toward completion, the issue of bottleneck courses came up in a number of instances, Winslow said. A university might have a requirement that students take organic chemistry to complete a chemistry major, but there are only a few sections offered in the fall. If a student can’t take any of those three due to personal or academic conflicts, he or she can’t progress. How can universities more effectively distribute their classes for those key juncture points? “A lot of schools didn’t have the data on this or haven’t examined it as an issue,” he said. It gets back to trying to find ways that IT is engaged in advancing the university mission, Winslow added. “If the CIO and his or her team are
trying to surface data that leads to better outcomes, one of the things they should be doing is gathering information about which courses are bottleneck courses, analyzing and standardizing that information and pushing it out to the decision-makers on campus.”
3) Segment risk-based interventions. Because advising resources are quite limited on campus, there is a need to make sure universities can use their advising talent in a way that is going to be most effective, Winslow said. If a student is actively reaching out to her academic adviser and has a 3.8 GPA, does the university need to spend advising time with that student? Or is advising time better spent with a student at risk of dropping out or not completing the semester he is in? “Many schools decide they need to find the most at-risk students where they have the highest probability of improving their trajectory and ensure that they spend their resources as wisely as possible. There are a lot of things you could do in a self-service manner for low-risk students.”
4) Provide assessment data to advisers. At some institutions, advising loads are very high — 500 to 1,000 students per adviser. “Frankly it is impossible to build personal rapport with that many individuals,” Winslow said. But there are constituent relationship management tools that can capture data on students — classes they have taken, grades, how long they have been on campus, but also whether they have followed through on recommendations to go to a writing center or math problem help sessions. “Academic advisers are more engaged in helping students when they can see that the advice they have given is being acted upon.” — David Raths

   18   19   20   21   22