Student Flows Project – Annay Slabikowska & Craig Thompson (Apr 7, 2022)

This week’s LAVA session [Thursday April 7, 2-3pm, Zoom] will be led by Annay Slabikowska (PAIR) and Craig Thompson (CTLT), who will present recent work on the Student Flows Project.

From Annay and Craig:

The project is collaboration between the Learning Analytics and Planning and Institutional Research teams and the Faculty of Science, including contributions from analysts in the Faculty of Arts and the Sauder School of Business.

The goals of the Student Flows Project are threefold: to create a shared common data set that can be used by analysts across the institution to explore student flow scenarios, to develop visualizations of student flows and to recommend tools to visually analyze student flows, and to collaboratively document and share best practices for exploring student flow scenarios.

By “Student Flows” we mean student progression through courses, specializations, and degree programs during their time at UBC. This can include analysis of time to degree completion, identifying common patterns of switching between faculties or majors, investigation of common course co-enrolment or sequencing, and more. In addition to these enrolment-based data elements, we are also interested in student characteristics, and how they relate to enrolments. For example, we need to be able to explore whether there are differential course or program outcomes for various student cohorts, such as international students, mature students, or indigenous students, as well as temporal cohorts.

From our initial exploration of this space, it became clear that there was not a one-size-fits-all solution to data analysis and reporting regarding student flows. For example, the level of detail needed varies by audience: one Dean may be interested in understanding how students flow into and out of their Faculty, whereas a department head may be interested in how students choose to sequence courses within their major. Additionally, at any given level of detail, different stakeholders will have different needs terms of what information they want to see, and how they would like it to be presented. Thus, we have endeavored to create a framework (dataset, documentation, and established best practices) that will enable a distributed team of analysts to undertake work in this space, to more easily collaborate and share, and to answer the plethora of questions raised by various institutional stakeholders.

We draw inspiration from other universities such as University of Michigan, which is an early leader in establishing a common data set for institutional researchers, and numerous institutions exploring visualization techniques for student flows such as UC Davis, University at Buffalo, and University of New Mexico.

You can view their presentation here:

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