Been to Amazon.com lately? It takes only seconds for them to run a series of analytic routines on your cart and shopping history and decide what else you might like. Our friends at iTunes use the same technology to suggest music, and Facebook uses it to suggest friends. Put simply, we live in the age of analytics and instant access to information.
At WGU Texas we want to create data-driven initiatives that enhance not only student access, but also student success. While we acknowledge the need for data streams to administration, we would argue there is a greater need for data to be driven quickly and easily to students and those directly supporting them, to let them know how they are doing so they can better chart the course on their learning journeys. Early experiments like those at Purdue and Carnegie Mellon are having profound success with this strategy.
Put simply, faculty and students want the learning journey to lead somewhere, and they want to know if they’re taking the right path to get there. Let’s focus first on getting them the data they need to penetrate the fog that clouds their learning journey. What would you do differently if you knew the actions you were taking were most likely to result in failure? And if you knew your actions increased your chance of success, wouldn’t that inform your future choices? Better-informed decisions allow us to alter our paths and steer toward success. Our university embraces an access AND success agenda so students entering our institutions can exit with academic and industry recognized credentials. Using our competency- and mentor-based model, we are asking ourselves how we can better use information and supports to help create a pathway of possibility for students—and give them the tools they need to take responsibility for their success.