Please join me in welcoming to the Blackboard Analytics solution set our latest innovative contribution to the use of data across educational institutions, Blackboard Analytics for Learn. This new solution provides rich, easily accessible data to measure and explore student LMS activity, course design and usage, and student educational outcomes, on demand and over-time, by integrating Blackboard Learn and student information system data.

At the recent Southern California Technology in Education Conference, I was asked to respond to several questions concerning analytics and the LMS: What are the barriers to better analytics around the LMS? And, what can we do across the higher education community to encourage better progress in developing LMS analytics tools?

One of the primary barriers I cited was the traditional difficulty with which institutions are able to gain user friendly, attributionally rich, longitudinal data from their mission critical systems such as the student information and learning management systems. Our efforts and solutions within Blackboard Analytics are targeted exclusively at overcoming this barrier. To contribute to the educational community of practice for how LMS analytics can develop, we are pleased to make today’s announcements regarding Blackboard Analytics for Learn.

As my colleague Dr. Deb Everhart blogged earlier this week, analytics from the rich activity and performance data within the LMS highlights great formative promise toward improving student academic performance and the management of the LMS. Advised by our client development partners, we’ve made specific design choices to contribute to this promise. For example, we’ve pre-built integration with the leading student information systems to ensure dimensional analysis associated with student grades, demographic attributes, and institutional departments. As with other Blackboard Analytics solutions, Blackboard Analytics for Learn extends our core approaches to both pre-built and rich data analyses and dashboards, as well as highly extensible analytics data model customization. Finally, implementation and end-user access to the Blackboard Analytics for Learn data model remains rapid and easily achievable.

Last year at BbWorld, Ray Henderson announced our goal of introducing Blackboard Analytics for Learn. In reaching this goal, we are fortunate to have been advised by a group of clients whose teaching and learning through Blackboard Learn contributes greatly to their institutional objectives. In mid-2011, we launched a Product Development Partnership, a critical component of Blackboard’s development and design methodology, to work with clients who advised us on the overall set of questions we sought to answer with our analytics solution. Then, in late 2011, we partnered with three institutions which deployed our software, live, on campus, in our pre-release field trial, to utilize our Analytics for Learn solution to examine real questions on their campuses regarding student performance, course design and Blackboard Learn usage. For these partnership efforts, we are considerably thankful to Montgomery County Community College, University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Grand Rapids Community College.

In the coming weeks, we look forward to exploring further with our client community how Blackboard Analytics for Learn can improve student success, optimize online instruction, and contribute to the overall management of Blackboard Learn. We’ve begun actively implementing now with our next set of institutions. We look forward to exploring these initial successes and findings at the upcoming BbWorld in New Orleans in July. We’ll look forward to seeing you and continuing the conversation with you there.

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