MSc Information Management at UWE Bristol

Jisc 10th Learning Analytics Network Event   

Posted by Paul Matthews | 0 Comments 
This post is from James Blunt, a full-time student on the MSc:

On Wednesday 3rd May, I got up at 4.30am to fly to Glasgow to attend the above meeting. While it’s directly relevant to my dissertation, I think it is also something that anyone interested in Teaching and Learning in the HE sector should also be aware of as it’s a growing trend.

For those who are unaware, Learning Analytics is the practice of using data about the activities and interactions of students to improve the learning experience. The theme was “Where Next for Learning Analytics?”

We started the day hearing from Strathclyde about their experiences. They have gone full on with LA with an attitude of almost “let’s try everything and see what works”. This contrasts with Exeter, who hosted the last meeting, who have taken a much more cautious approach.

Following this we were updated on where Jisc are thinking of going next with their project and libraries and library data is seen as a major focus.

Next up, we had some interesting reports from people who had attended the international LAK17 conference in Vancouver. Next year is in Sydney, so I might have to find a reason to go!

After lunch we had presentations from some current vendors who gave their thoughts on next steps in Learning Analytics. The one that struck me most was the suggestion that it is not enough to record that someone attended a lecture, we need to know how engaged they are. To that end, software is being develop that will scan student’s faces to rate their interest in the lecture. Teaching staff take note!

Lessons that I will take away from the meeting include:
Learning Analytics is a very broad area and seems to be getting broader as people see what it can do.
Approaches vary greatly from institution to institution.
Senior management engagement is crucial when developing an institutional learning analytics system.
The subject seems to be getting more practitioner-based whereas in the past it has been quite academic. 
Some of the possibilities are quite scary.

My attendance at the meeting was made possible thanks to a grant from Swindon libraries.

A full report of the meeting and further details of the Jisc “Effective Learning Analytics” project can be found at:

tags: Conferences
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