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September 19, 2015: Five Reasons Data Analytics are Essential to the Future of Distance Education

The amount of data in our world has been exploding, and the analysis of large data sets will become a key basis of productivity, innovation, and growth in the near future.[1] From my vantage point at DEAC, I observe how the use of data analytics is trending upward across higher education and receiving an increasing level of attention for its value as a versatile tool to improve student retention and educational success. This is why I invited Dr. Linda Baer to join us for our Fall Workshop in October. Linda is a leading expert on higher education data analytics. She writes in her white paper titled Quality, Accountability, and Action, that

Leadership must identify future trends and needs, lead change agendas, invest in what makes a difference, and remain authentic and courageous.

Dr. Baer’s presentations will expand on this point and offer key insights into the innovative capabilities that data analytics offer the future of education when she and her team present at DEAC’s upcoming Fall Workshop being held October 18 – 20, 2015 in Palm Springs, California. I hope you are planning to attend!

Why are data analytics so important?

The capabilities brought to fruition from data analytics align with DEAC’s strategic vision to pioneer innovation and change in distance education that supports students in achieving their goals. Data analytics provide a big picture to institutional leadership to drive strategic decision making by:

  1. Helping institutions develop early warning systems that identify when students may be getting off track.
  2. Helping to identify the factors contributing to irregular outcomes and helping institutions appropriately address outcomes that do not meet expectations.
  3. Providing accurate information that helps the strategic allocation of resources to support learning.
  4. Identifying patterns in the data that potentially signal an attack by a financial aid fraud ring.
  5. Documenting how much time students spend on certain learning modules or activities and then in turn helping institutions to determine if a course needs to be redesigned.

Do you want to learn more about how data analytics can creatively and effectively to drive efficiency and quality at your institution?

[1] Source: “Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity,” McKinsey Global Institute, 2011.

September 10, 2015: Why is DEAC Blogging?

The long story short is that DEAC heard you during its strategic planning process that we kicked off earlier this year. We understand that DEAC members want to connect more frequently on pertinent, important topics with other DEAC institutions and partners. One of our strategies is to better leverage social media and implement a new DEAC blog—The Compass. Virtual interaction is a growing aspect of our everyday lives. As we engage and communicate with one another we strive to be a more purposeful and active part of this movement.

Every day, we are focused on developing new ways to advance our commitment to distance education by establishing high expectations for academic quality while inspiring excellence in teaching, learning, and student outcomes. The Compass blog will establish connections with distance education thought leaders and institutions as one way to implement the strategic initiatives that we introduced at our April 2015 conference: advocacy, leadership, and organizational excellence. In particular, we’ll be using social media in the following ways:

  • Advocacy: Through this channel, we will feature how distance education contributes to the greater social good by highlighting best practices and by sharing guidance on some of the most challenging issues our institutions currently face to support their students and assure the quality of education worldwide.
  • Leadership: Through increased social media presence, we will provide a venue for our most innovative pioneers to share how they are changing what distance education means everyday to help their students achieve their goals. We have an opportunity to connect leaders across the globe to improve the prospects for students every day, starting today.
  • Organizational Excellence: We are working to shift the paradigm through mechanisms that connect with our global stakeholder base, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. We are committed to advancing excellence among our institutions and to pushing the envelope every day to advance our strategic initiatives.

As DEAC continues to innovate and revitalize its presence in the social media landscape, our brand of excellence in distance education teaching and learning will continue to grow to support the students of today and tomorrow. We encourage you to engage with a global distance education network that fosters a culture of accountability, quality assurance and continuous improvement. We invite you to follow, friend, connect, and keep reading about us.