Monday May 7, 2018: Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference 2018 Keynote

Towards User-Centred Analytics: User-Adaptive Visualizations

In this session, we will watch and discuss one of the keynotes from Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference 2018 by Professor Cristina Conati, Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of British Columbia. Cristina is interested in integrating research in Artificial Intelligence, Human Computer Interaction and Cognitive Science to create intelligent user interfaces that can effectively and reliably adapt to the needs of each user.

“As digital information continues to accumulate in our lives, information visualizations have become an increasingly relevant tool for discovering trends and shaping stories from this overabundance of data. Education is not an exception, with learner and teacher visualization dashboards being extensively investigated as new means to change pedagogy and learning. Visualizations are typically designed based on the data to be displayed and the tasks to be supported, but they follow a one size-fits-all approach when it comes to users’ individual differences such as expertise, cognitive abilities, states and preferences. There is, however, mounting evidence that these characteristics can significantly influence user experience during information visualization tasks. These findings have triggered research on user-adaptive visualizations, i.e., visualizations that can track and adapt to relevant user characteristics and specific needs. In this talk, I will present results on which user individual differences can impact visualization processing, and on how these differences can be captured using predictive models based on eye-tracking data. I will also discuss how to leverage these models to provide personalized support that can improve the user’s experience with a visualization.”

Here is the link to slides, video and details of this keynote:

Monday April 23, 2018: Sarah Perez

Sarah is a Data scientist and Research at the UBC Centre for Teaching and Learning. Sarah has a background in data analysis and visualization from the field of bioinformatics and is applying that expertise to education research. Working with faculty members and researchers, she coordinates research projects to assess how the use of technologies or teaching methods affects student learning.

In this session will be presenting and asking for some feedback for a project she has been working on

“For the last few months I have been looking at what students do in virtual science labs mostly focusing on the strategies they use to learn from them. You may have seen visualizations of students’ clickstream data at previous Lava meetings. On Monday, I will show you some data on how students explore the interface and the physical phenomena we ask them to model. Since exploration is an important inquiry skill, I am hoping you can help me figure out how to assess how students explore. Get ready to play with some data and get in the head of students!”

Monday April 9, 2018: Craig Thompson

OnTask: A platform to provide timely, personalized, and actionable feedback to large cohorts

Craig Thompson is a Research Analyst working on the UBC Learning Analytics Project. In this presentation, Craig will provide an overview of the recent literature on mass-personalized feedback, and give a technical demo of OnTask. 

“OnTask is a tool that enables instructors to give targeted, customized messages based on the metrics that they set for their courses. This allows instructors to provide students with timely and personal feedback that can scale to large courses. Feedback can range from targeted remediation suggestions for students at-risk to enrichment opportunities for high achieving students. 

OnTask is currently being pilot tested as part of the UBC Learning Analytics project.

Monday Mar 26, 2018: Debriefing on Hackathon 3.0

We are going to have a very informal LAVA meeting this week where we will be: debriefing on the Hackathon (what were some of the student output, what went well, what didn’t), discussing the schedule for the summer, and we would like to hear about potential meeting topics from you!

If you can’t join, send an email to Alison. – any thoughts on the hackathon? What should the summer look like (more or less meetings, new schedule)?  What is something you are working on or would be willing to lead a meeting on?

Monday Feb 26, 2018: Alison Myers

A Tutorial on Tableau

Alison is a Research Analyst at UBC Sauder School of Business. Working on a variety of data projects, she has been using Tableau for creating interactive dashboards and visualizations.

” In this meeting, I will be reviewing some of the functionality of Tableau for those of you interested in seeing how it works/diving a bit deeper into the capabilities. I’m not going to start from ground 0 (download tableau, import data, drag and drop functionality). If you have any specific questions of “how can I do this”, or “I tried to do this but couldn’t” then please send those along to me and I will try to make sure to answer them, or to provide you with some resources that will be useful.

Hopefully, the other Tableau experts (Sanam Shirazi, Leah Macfadyen) will also be joining us, and I expect them to jump in and correct me in my examples, or offer their alternatives. I’ll try to review some basics about calculated fields, fixed calculations, special data type functionality, parameters and some principles about visualization. Hopefully, I will introduce enough vocabulary for you to have something to Google later rather than go into depth in any specific area. One useful thing to remember – it’s really easy to do one thing in about 10 different ways, so your experience may be different than mine!

If you don’t have it installed – download a free trial here. If you’ve never used Tableau, there are some introductory materials available to you on this page as well. I would start here for anyone with no experience. Or, just download and begin to play.”

Alison will be running a Tableau workshop in the Learning Analytics & Open Data Hackathon 3.0. If you are interested in participating, sign up here for the upcoming hackathon.

Monday Jan 29, 2018: Emma Novotny

Data Visualization Critique: A Graphic Design Perspective

Emma Novotny is a Senior Graphic Designer at UBC Faculty of Arts. Before starting at UBC, Emma Novotny worked in Toronto as a graphic designer in the Knowledge Translation Department at St. Michael’s Hospital. There she designed web and print-based tools and infographics for patients and primary care providers. She has also worked at a small design studio called Tennis (formerly ALSO Collective) where she produced branding, editorial, and web projects for a range of clients in the healthcare, not for profit, and arts and culture industries.

In this session, Emma will provide feedback on a couple of data visualization projects based on her own expertise. She will choose 1-3 of the visualizations that were submitted to her by LAVA folks and spend time on talking about her thoughts on how to improve the visualization/ what she might change/other feedback. She will also use the time to give some general information regarding visualizations.

Monday Jan 15, 2018: Envisioning Hackathon 3.0

Few people have expressed interest in running a Hackathon this year. So in the next LAVA meeting, we will be discussing as a group what Hackathon 3.0 could look like.  Alison is a Research Analyst in the UBC Sauder School of Business who helped organize Hackathon 2.0 at UBC last year. She writes:

“For those unaware, we have run 2 hackathons in the past. The first we had researchers with datasets/their own questions, the second we had a single dataset (MOOC data) with a range of questions. Groups were formed, data was hacked, and results were presented. In the past we have used “Hackathon” somewhat more loosely than you may have seen elsewhere, where we haven’t actually required those attending to have any previous experience.

We will quickly review what we have done in the past and then it will be an open discussion.

If you have interested in planning a Hackathon – what would you like it to look like? If you have participated in a LAVA Hackathon (or other) – what did you like, what would you change?”


Monday Dec 4, 2017: Alison Myers

Power BI vs. Tableau (a totally biased review from a Tableau user)

Alison is a Research Analyst at UBC Sauder School of Business.  As part of her role, she is involved in a variety of data analytics and data visualization projects that require adopting different tools and techniques.  She writes:

“I have been recently exploring Power BI as an alternative data visualization tool and would like to share with the group. I’m happy for this to be more of a discussion than a presentation, so anyone with experience with either Tableau or (especially) Power BI please be prepared to chime in. In the comparison, I plan on:

1) Showing a quick demonstration of the two tools with a shared dataset

2) Highlighting some of the main functionality differences that I have noticed

3) Discussing which tool might better suit different needs

If anyone has a) any specific questions about functionality in either tool (ie. “can you build X”) please let me know and I will try to answer/bring that up for discussion.”

You can contact Alison via Email.

Monday Nov 20, 2017: Leah Macfadyen

“Because its 2017”: Equipping educators and scholars for the learning analytics era

Leah Macfadyen is the Program Director of Evaluation & Learning Analytics at UBC Faculty of Arts. As of next year, she will be moving on to a new instructor position at UBC Faculty of Education. As part of the interview process, Leah was asked to suggest an outline for a course that she would develop for Masters in Educational Technology program.

“What do educators need to know about learning analytics in 2017? In September, as part of the interview process for my new position in the Faculty of Education, I was given instructions that I should plan to deliver “a 45-minute talk that provides an overview of a core course that I would develop and teach for the MET program, as well as how I see it fitting within the broader MET program.” You can learn more about the Masters in Educational Technology (MET) program at . In this session, I’ll share with you the outline I developed and spoke about for a course in learning analytics, and explain the underlying logic to my design ideas. I’ll be very pleased to gather feedback from all of you, as well as further ideas. “

Monday Nov 6, 2017: Craig Thompson

Learning Analytics @ The University of Saskatchewan: A Perspective

Craig Thompson is a Research Analyst working on the UBC Learning Analytics Project. He joined UBC in September, having previously worked at the University of Saskatchewan developing Learning Analytics pilot projects for the last 3.5 years.

In this presentation, Craig will present several tools developed and used at the University of Saskatchewan, including: (1) A personalized student messaging system for delivering automated, tailored advice. (2) A dashboard for instructors to view aggregate demographics about students in their courses. (3) an interactive dashboard for administrators to explore demographics and performance characteristics of students in their programs. (4) Ribbon visualizations of student flows through academic programs (tool developed at UC Davis). Having first hand experience with these pilot programs, Craig will also share lessons learned from the trenches of Learning Analytics.