Prof Dragan Gašević, Professor of Learning Analytics, Monash University, Australia delivers his presentation at the recent National Forum-hosted symposium on Using Data to Support Student Success
The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education today (Tuesday 23 October 2018) hosted a symposium focussed on national and international good practice in developing strategies for using data as a resource to support student success. Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D., opened today’s symposium, at which over 100 delegates, representing higher education institutions from across the country, were in attendance.
With its focus on informing strategic institutional discussions on the use of data to foster student success, the symposium was particularly relevant to the numerous senior managers and policy makers in attendance. Speakers at the event included Prof Dragan Gašević, Professor of Learning Analytics, Monash University, Australia, Mr. Daniel Sinnott, Chief Analytics Officer with the Office of the Revenue Commissioners, and Mr. Oisín Hassan, Vice President for Academic Affairs with the Union of Students in Ireland. A number of higher education institutions also showcased some initiatives already being implemented across the sector.
Opening the symposium, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D., Minister of State for Higher Education, said, “It is a pleasure to be here to witness the terrific investment of time, effort and resources across the sector to ensure every student is supported and guided through their educational journey. This is fundamental to the National Access Plan, which aims to support increased access and participation in higher education. A key high-level target of the HEA Performance Framework is that all HEIs will have a Student Success Strategy in place by 2020 which will embed whole-of-HEI approaches to institutional access strategies. Today has provided us with lots of examples of how data can be used to inform such strategies”.
The event was hosted by the National Forum as part of its Data-Enabled Student Success Initiative (DESSI). DESSI is a national project through which the Forum provides support for institutions as they develop effective, sustainable strategies for realising the potential of data use to enhance student learning experiences and outcomes.
Supporting student success and particularly for students who have traditionally been under-represented in higher education is a primary objective of the National Access Plan 2015 – 2019 and DESSI is a key piece of work supporting the delivery of this objective.
DESSI is currently working with 19 Irish higher education institutions, which account for 75% of all Irish higher education students.
Speaking at the event, Dr Terry Maguire, National Forum Director, said, “This symposium is the culmination of two years of work across the sector which has involved the building of capacity and community in the area of data use for student success. We welcome the wide representation from senior levels of Irish higher education at this symposium and the opportunity it presents to continue to foster dialogue between those invested in the enhancement of teaching and learning in higher education, both nationally and internationally”.
The National Forum is currently developing its Strategy 2019-2021, in which student success is one of four key priorities. Sector-wide consultation will now determine where attention and resources are focused to further support the development of institutional strategies and cultures that recognise and maximise the value of available data and appropriate research findings to enhance student success.