Traditional Data tracking in Schools, Colleges, and Universities
Many schools and universities have long tracked different kinds of learner data. They can either come from application or enrolment forms in school. These data can comprise of address, previous learning activities, physical, mental, and emotional health, grades, attendance in school, economic status of the family, and many more.
Due to varying privacy laws from one country to the other, these institutions are prohibited from accessing data that is deemed irrelevant to a particular program or course. Hence, even with huge amounts of data amassed year after year, very little has been done to put these data into good use such as a simple analysis to track the profile of an at-risk student or to reveal a pattern in the grades or attendance that will call for additional support for the student.
Can analytics really change the landscape of Education?
All societies today invest in Education especially in primary, secondary, and tertiary education but the truth of the matter is that we do not know how our inputs influence or produce outputs. We cannot tell with certainty what things are to be avoided and what things are to be encouraged. Many institutions play by instinct and the “it-has-worked-before strategy”.
Over the past decade, there have been several calls for educational reform but not all the proposed reforms necessarily have in them a strong basis for doing so apart from hunches.
This is where learning analytics come in handy. Learning analytics can become the basis of the educational reforms to be suggested.
With the use of learning analytics, institutions can provide valuable insights into several factors impacting a learner´s success such as time spent on task, attendance, use of social network, contact frequency with educators, access to school resources and self-help services.
There are of course soft factors that are harder to capture such as words of encouragement or coaching from the teachers, informal social interactions among peers, etc.
With all these, learning analytics has the potential not only to reform education but to do so in a drastic manner. Today, learning content is created in advance even before we get to know the learners such as formulating textbooks. This way of doing it is arguable inefficient since everyone has different levels of knowledge at the onset of the course. To make a curriculum more effective, the curriculum must adapt to the needs and abilities of the learners. There shouldn´t have to be a one-size fits all curriculum in the sense that to make learning more relevant, it has to be based on a learner´s learning pace, life experiences, and topic familiarity. A content must be flexible, adaptive, and relevant.
In terms of assessment, today we do it at the end of each course or program. This should be reformed to become an ongoing evaluation. Further, other non-school related activities such as sports, volunteering at a charitable institution provides skills and knowledge to a learner often overlooked by school systems. The approach must be more holistic instead of micro focused on exams.
Several analytics today are employed to reduce drop-outs of students and this is good because indicators of these must be recognized in order to intervene before it is too late.
In the end, yes analytics can be the basis for introducing relevant educational reforms – a basis for the drastic change in curriculum, in delivery of curriculum, in learner assessment, and in support provision as well as resources allocation.
Automation in Finance departments of Educational Institutions
The finance departments of educational institutions are just as important as the teaching force of the same institution. At the moment, there is a growing trend on finance departments of several educational institutions in trying to improve the way they track their finances for better resource allocation.
Many Finance Managers today in schools, colleges, and universities are looking into ways of modernizing the way they track the expenses, budgets, and forecasts in order to allocate their resources better to things they consider are of prime importance that can allow them to provide better services and better learning avenues for their staff and learners alike.
Finance departments of most educational institutions have always operated through Microsoft Excel and this has worked in the past but as the market needs are changing, there is increasing pressure for them to stay ahead of their competition. While Microsoft Excel can work in many ways, it tends to become more burdensome as the needs of the finance department increase.
Today, finance departments have also tried to analyze their data in order to make informed decisions and there are tools such as Performance Canvas Financials that can aid them to do this. Finance departments of educational institutions can enjoy the benefits of an automated budget cycle, reports, and consolidation saving them time in doing mundane tasks and more time in analyzing their performance and what they need to do next to improve their capabilities.
Finance departments can now do scenario planning and analysis, they can do forecasts and reforecasts, automate allocations, aggregations and other manual processes to speed up planning cycles.
While this initiative has long been started in other industries, the educational sector is catching up and it is never too late to modernize the way a finance department operates.
If you are looking into improving the way you do your finance processes today such as reporting and analysis, profitability analysis, budgeting, forecasting, consolidating check out www.performancecanvas.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
DSPanel offers cutting edge technology platform for business analytics, planning, and visualization. DSPanel designs, builds, and operates with the end users in mind. Performance Canvas was created by DSPanel to answer the unarticulated needs of the market not addressed by previous available solutions. With Performance Canvas, information is transformed into valuable business insights for the business executives to utilize in their decision-making process. DSPanel currently has over 2500 organizations deploying their solutions.