The University of Derby is a modern, innovative education provider and since 2001 has offered online distance learning to students who require more flexible study options. Following increasing success and demand for its distance learning courses, the institution launched University of Derby Online Learning (UDOL).

The Challenge: Supporting an aggressive enrolment goal with an improved range of analytics

With the success of its online business, a key ambition has been to grow its student body from around 3,000 online students in 2015 to 10,000 students by 2020. This goal created the need to have better visibility of how the business was performing and have an improved range of analytics specifically for its online business. Ruth Grindey, Operations, IT and Implementations Manager, University of Derby Online Learning, says, “Analytics will give us the visibility of data and information that we require to more effectively monitor, inform and adapt our working practices. It is going to be a new way of working for us in the future.

The Solution

Following a restructure, the University of Derby formalised a strategic plan about how they wanted analytics to work, which included using Blackboard Analytics for Learn. In particular, UDOL were interested in using analytics across the operational side of teaching and learning for their online provision that would enable them to have more visibility of performance, to identify how they could support academic staff to deliver good teaching, learning and assessment and how they could achieve excellence in customer service.

Since April 2014, the University has worked closely with Blackboard Consulting to implement the technology. Sandra Stevenson-Revill, Business Systems Manager at the University of Derby explains that “The offering that Blackboard provides us with has lots of pre-built reports and options and, importantly for us, the cubes and warehouses are already built and pulled together. This gives us far greater power and allows us to quickly facilitate the business with the early stage reports that they require.

Immediate Impact

One of the real advantages for the University of Derby is that they can now start using the 6 or 7 previous years’ worth of data which is already in their system waiting to be pulled, absorbed and used by Blackboard Analytics. To find out more about how they have implemented learning analytics, and the immediate impacts to the business, click here to download the case study.

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