AspirEDU, a company specializing in data driven educational analytics, announced that it has attained Certified Partner status with Canvas, joining the ranks of other Canvas partners such as Pearson, McGraw Hill, Wiley and Adobe. Canvas by Instructure is a cloud native learning management system (LMS) used every day by more than 400 colleges, universities and school districts. In addition, the Cisco Networking Academy selected Canvas to power “The World’s Largest Classroom.”
Higher education institutions generate a wealth of data that can be used to improve student success, but often the volume of data and lack of analysis prevent this data from having the impact it could have. “I think it’s hard for the general faculty population or administrator population to really have a handle on the data that is really driving decisions,” says Margaret Martin, Title III director and sociology professor at Eastern Connecticut State University. “They don’t get a chance to see it or they just get very infrequent information about it. So there may be too much data, but it’s often not communicated effectively to people in ways that are both understandable and useful to them.”
There is no question that higher education tends to get caught up in “fashionable” program innovations, and learning communities could certainly be considered an example. A great deal of research has established that, in terms of retention and persistence, first experiences in college are tremendously important.
Only 51 percent of high school graduates who took the ACT met ACT’s College Readiness Benchmark for Reading, which demonstrates their readiness to handle the reading requirements for typical first-year college coursework. For some groups, the percentage is even more discouraging: African American students are at 21 percent, while Hispanic American students and students from families whose annual income is less than $30,000 are both at 33 percent.
Problem-based learning, the instructional approach in which carefully constructed, open-ended problems are used by groups of students to work through content to a solution, has gained a foothold in many quarters of higher education.
A few years ago, our university started accelerating its distance learning program. Some professors designed courses that worked well, while others found that 100 percent Web delivery wasn’t effective for them.