Page 30 - Campus Technology, October/November 2019
P. 30

STUDENT SUCCESS John Carroll put higher-risk first-year students directly into integrated learning communities, to help them both stay in school and achieve improved academic outcomes. dimensional collections of geometric objects and data points (academic, extracurricular and personal) representing each student. Through the glyphs’ different colors, shapes, sizes and positions, we can compare students, spot anom- alies and identify patterns that are crucial to student success and retention. For instance, with our first cohort of students, we noticed a surprising trend: Students’ percep- tions of financial aid appeared to be a significant predictor of withdrawal. Those who ending up leaving the university scored very low on this measure. Such insights can drive targeted imple- mentation of additional support services. This use case is extremely replicable for other universities. Most have similar survey and demographics data on hand. The challenge is reconciling and understanding it — and multidi- mensional data visualization can help. Lessons from First in the World While we’re in the fourth and final year of the First in the World grant, in many ways this is just the beginning. We are still working to clean and recode all of the data we have, and are still working alongside GlyphEd to develop a unique- ly simple tool that can bring predictive analytics to more universities. We’re also finding new uses for glyphs that go well beyond uncovering new indicators for at-risk students; they can also be used to manage and eliminate bias dur- ing the enrollment process, for instance. But, in my opinion, the key learning point from our First in the World research is its very prem- ise: We wanted to deliver a learning interven- tion — one aligned with John Carroll’s broader institutional goals — to those students who real- ly needed it. Predictive analytics may be our fin- ish line, but regression discontinuity was the starting line — and it’s a methodology that any university can apply when designing first-year experiences and targeted interventions. Terry Mills, Ph.D., has spent the last 18 years in high- er education, serving in leadership roles within many collegiate institutions to help them to implement and improve diversity and inclusion. He most recently served as assistant provost for diversity and inclusion/ chief diversity officer at John Carroll University. He is currently a member of the GlyphEd advisory board. 30 CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | Oct/Nov 2019 Shutterstock/ l i g h t p o e t 

   28   29   30   31   32