Creating, Gathering and Using Data

It’s Tuesday morning at USLDA, and I’m attending the first session of the morning: Creating, Gathering and Using Data with Karly Good from Grand View University and Sue McDaniel from A.T. Still University.

ATSU’s College of Graduate Health Studies has 145 full time and faculty members in 34 states and two other countries offering 4 masters and 3 doctorate programs. Sharing data and communication among all these locations is challenging. Each program was keeping track of their own data. An example of an issue was a course that was cross listed with 3 prefixes – changing a textbook listing for one didn’t necessarily mean the others were changed.

Data issues included accreditation, dissertations, grades, and more.

At ATSU, they created a Access front end / mySQL backend database called IRMA: Integrated Records Management and Administration. They add 5000-6000 records a month. The instructional designers and academic advisers, associate dean, all have different front ends – Access Reports. They can access it from home via the VPN.

Course Development Via Database

All the online courses are built through the Access database. They add each little piece of a course – content, assignments, they connect all of it to the learning objectives and competencies. All the outputs are done in PDFs so that no one can change it. Faculty have to teach the course as it is, they don’t allow anyone to edit or change anything after it’s been through the development assignments.

The instructional designer’s view has Courses, reports, Term Courses, Textbooks, and Faculty as the main menu.

They build the courses in IRMA, and work through the syllabus items, core competencies, connections to learning outcomes; then a report gives them the HTML to copy & paste into the LMS. The database tracks all the pieces of the course development, the milestones, how far they’ve come etc. They can easily find a specific course that uses a particular tool, such as a wiki.

Faculty Data for Accreditation

The Associate Dean’s view has Faculty, Courses, Surveys, and more. The Faculty menu includes all the data on professional development funds, publications, demographic data on faculty and more. It has the course evaluation data that can be used to make staffing decisions for teaching the variety of courses.

It’s so fascinating to me how scaling online learning requires us to manage information at an incredibly high level. This method is also a way to have easily at hand anything needed for an accreditation report. It is work on the front end setting it up; and also regular work always entering data; but wow! What an amazing tool. 

I also find it interesting that the idea of BIG DATA makes you think of buying some amazing product from a company; where in this case, someone with good database skills can build something valuable using what data already exists in a less organized format.

Tracking 7 Core University Competencies

At Karly’s institution, Grand View, their data comes from Blackboard and a SQL. They pull assignment and assessment data (rubric) and then they pull from their Student Information System as well as Blackboard. They have 7 rubrics for 7 core outcomes that gauge graduating students. You can see 4 year growth of students using the rubric over time throughout the whole university experience. They want to in the future include these rubrics in the Blackboard shell/templates – right now the faculty get the rubric from the University Portal to add to their course assignments.

The curriculum committee on campus developed these rubrics as part of the university assessment. It’s built into core classes as well as within the majors. The rubrics are NO POINTS in Blackboard – so that the rubrics never affect the student’s grade. They are a secondary evaluation in Blackboard – you can choose not to show it to the students at all. It’s a four year rubric. Everyone is assessed on the same scale, freshmen and seniors, both. The students don’t see the results on this rubric – it’s not their grade. They use the Goals feature of Blackboard to align each criteria on the rubric to the goals.

Karly worked with IT to collect:

  • From Blackboard: student name, course, assignment, dept, rubric, faculty name, core outcome
  • From the SIS: gender, major, GPA, term

So far they have pulled the report 3 times.

The next step is to be able to restrict access so that departments can see just their departments; and that faculty can see their data.

Their 7 Essential Competencies are:

  • Critical Inquiry (CI)
  • Quantitative Communication (Q)
  • Information Literacy (IL)
  • Global Awareness (GA)
  • Written Communication (W)
  • Vocation (V)
  • Oral Communication (O)

It’s interesting to me also that you have an Instructional Designer and Instructional Technology Specialist diving into the data needs for accreditation and assessment. The merging of a variety of skills and needs across campus. 

Wow! Inspiration for a lot of work to be done!

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