Diversification of student populations due to widening participation poses particular challenges for Higher Education Institutions seeking to adapt to these changes at the same time as providing high quality interactions and student care. HE Student Records Systems typically capture data required to meet the needs of Departments or Services. (e.g. Finance, Registry, Library). However, there is little data which is collected consistently which provides holistic and contextual information by student, to facilitate the coherent provision of support.
This project will take newly available data from an attendance monitoring system derived from finger tip scanning and will augment it with other data from, for example, Library turnstiles, Moodle activity, in-year assessment and fee payment systems, and will use this data to build predictive capability in relation to student progression, retention and non-completion.
The predictive capability will be supported by desk based and focus group research into the value of the indicators in the “risk” database. The predictive capability will be assessed through the use of the data in generating satisfactory interactions with students. The project will explore the value and potential of social networking sites and web2.0 as a means of reaching, engaging and communicating with students, not only those whose progress is cause for concern.
Using the outcomes of the substantive research, the University will develop a "visualisation" based module, using industry standard software and Web Services which will plug into the student and staff facing web environments. This module will be made freely available to other interested Institutions.
The project will include a review of key literature sources and case studies with students and recent leavers to establish whether there are some local and contextual issues which need to be included as features of the system. Student evaluation of the approach will be obtained through the development and use of student Focus Groups which will review the concept as well as provide reaction to the relevance of potential, testable, indicators.
The information and systems architecture for the project will be built using existing expertise within the University in Enterprise Architecture (EA) and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) principles to ensure that data and outputs are to specific industry standards so that the concepts will work in different environments and be operable across different systems.
Ultimate success in the project relates, not to the technology or systems involved but to a real and visible improvement in the relationship between the University and its students in a supportive and pastoral sense. The final workpackage of the project will seek to develop a case study directed at these particular issues.
This new integrated information source will support the University in a number of ways specific to individual students and to the student body as a whole. The system will: