Recent Posts by Leslie Stepler

Data Stuck in Your LMS?

As a result of the rapid response to COVID-19 this spring,  many institutions were forced to become fully virtual almost overnight. Without an efficient means of extracting, organizing and presenting LMS data, administrators were left with complex and time-consuming incremental database queries and manual manipulation of data.

In partnership with our clients, we developed the LMS Explorer Kit to allow institutions to extract data from their Learning Management System (LMS), including instructor and student course activity, and create a series of data visualizations to help inform action and decision-making around deployment, training, course development and usage. The LMS Explorer Kit includes the code to extract data from Canvas and Blackboard Learn. A sample dashboards is below:

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Effective Data Management in Higher Ed: Obstacles and Solutions

As colleges and universities increasingly turn to data to make key decisions around retention, recruitment, and spending, greater awareness is being paid to data management and governance. In the industry, “there is a real struggle to connect data sets—across institutions—in meaningful ways,” says Pennie Turgeon, VP for IT and CIO at the New York Institute of Technology and former VP of IT and CIO for Clark University. Turgeon champions a more comprehensive approach to data management. We sat down with her to learn more about institutional challenges to data management, and best practices for making it all work.

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Presidential Priorities: 5 Areas of Concern for College and University Presidents

From 1987 to 2017, tuition at public universities in the U.S. increased by a staggering 213 percent – and that’s after adjusting for inflation.1 At a time when higher education costs are rising exponentially and people are debating the ROI from a degree, there is increased pressure for college and university presidents to be multi-dimensional leaders who can lead institutions safely into the future. Today, presidents are expected to have expertise in multiple areas, including academic affairs, faculty discussions, financial management, technology, public relations, and more.

How are college and university presidents juggling these responsibilities? What are they worried about, and which areas are they prioritizing? Read on to learn what presidents are focused on — and how some forward-thinking leaders are getting ahead of the curve by leveraging the power of data analytics to ensure success for their institutions, down the road.

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EDUCAUSE 2019: Data, Analytics & Ethics Continue to be a Focus

The HelioCampus team was at EDUCAUSE last week, along with a large contingent of higher education IT. We had a great time meeting with current clients and talking with many of you about your analytics plans. As in years past, data continues to be a hot topic, and was so reflected in the EDUCAUSE 2020 Top 10 IT Issues (listed below:) 

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Driving Success in Nontraditional Student Populations: 6 Best Practices for Analytics Programs at Community Colleges

Our latest eBook explores the topic of analytics programs specific to community colleges. It is an unfortunate truth that discussions of analytics and predictive modeling in higher education often neglect to include community colleges. This may be due, at least in part, to the fact that the majority of community colleges have an open-door admissions policy. Not requiring SAT scores or a specific high school GPA means they often have less robust data sets on incoming students than universities with stricter acceptance requirements.1 But the absence of specific data points does not mean analytics programs are not needed at community colleges, only that those data needs are different.

After all, more than a third of credit-seeking community college students are nontraditional (over 24 years of age), a stat which begs the question: do the high school grades of a 42-year-old professional looking to expand a skillset really tell us much about their likely success as an adult learner? Community colleges have a unique set of challenges and, like their four-year counterparts, data can help
address these challenges, boost student success, and support institutional goals. Follow along to learn six best practices for building and maintaining a community college analytics program. 

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The Intersection of Technology and Learning: 5 Important IT Trends in Higher Education

Our latest eBook explores the topic of IT Trends in higher education. In the decades since online classrooms and digital databases first arrived on the scene, education and technology have become increasingly interdependent. From data-driven insights about student success to entire shifts in business models, technology has disrupted the industry of higher education and seems to have no intention of stopping. Read on to learn five significant ways that technology and education are intersecting today, in ways that will effect change in the higher-ed industry in the years to come.

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AIR 2019: The Importance of the Human Element in Data Analysis

Last week I had the opportunity to head out to Denver, Colorado with the HelioCampus team for the AIR Forum. This event is our chance to learn from institutional research practitioners on how they are using analytics at their institutions. It was great to learn about all the different ways institutions are tackling data visualization, reporting, and more; and for us to share how we are working with our clients on combining, analyzing and visualizing data from across the student lifecycle.

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Institutional Planning for Higher Ed: How Data & Relationships Drive Success

Our latest eBook explores the topic of Institutional Planning for higher education. A lot is riding on universities’ performance metrics: enrollment and recruitment numbers, student outcomes and livelihoods, and funding. In fact, more than 30 state governments in the U.S. have policies or formulas that allocate funds to public institutions based on student performance factors 1. Universities with the ability to improve performance with comprehensive and data-driven institutional planning stand to fare better than their peers.

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A Conversation with Harford Community College President Dr. Dianna Phillips

Recently we partnered with Inside Higher Ed and Harford Community College's President, Dr. Dianna Phillips, for a webinar on Implementing Transformational Analytics Strategies. The webinar featured an engaging discussion that started with sharing the challenges facing Harford Community College (HCC) (and other community colleges), and why HCC chose to invest in strategic planning tools and technologies to solve them.

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The Institutional Research Revolution in Higher Ed: Top Five Trends Shaping the Transformation

The rise of data analytics. Government efforts to introduce accountability stats for colleges and universities. Students’ increased voice in institutions of higher education. These are a few of the forces revolutionizing the field of institutional research. This shift is already underway, but what is leading it? Experts point to these five developing trends as informing and shaping the transformation.

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