Mining Educational Data & Creating Value in Higher Education


Almost all assets have no direct value. Oil and gold need to be refined. Fields need to be cultivated. Factories need to be staffed. When it comes to data, we need to be prepared to do some heavy lifting before it becomes valuable as something that can help us to achieve a particular goal.

Partners in Student Success

As we emerge from the trough of disillusionment in educational data science and learning analytics, vendors and institutions alike are coming to understand that simply providing access to data doesn’t solve problems. Those who have done work with data know that it takes time, commitment, and some wrangling to get the brass ring.

Data and analytics technologies are incredibly important. But they are not ends in themselves. The success of an analytics initiative hinges upon clear expectations and a collaborative mindset. It rests on taking a perspective that extends beyond the implementation of a given technology. In higher education, educational data and learning analytics projects will only succeed if institutions and vendors come together as partners in student success.

Core Values

What does this mean for us at Blackboard?

It means a commitment to openness. The purpose of analytics tools is to provide access to data that institutions already have without also limiting access through proprietary algorithms and data models.

It also means working with clients to prepare them for long-term success with our data offerings. For us, extracting value from data involves more than unearthing data as a resource. It involves working with our customers to understand their problems, people, and processes, adapting our solution to their unique contexts, and connecting them to our large community of supportive users.

From Analytics to Action

Blackboard’s commitment to openness and collaboration is evident from the many ways in which we are working to help, not just our own community of users, but the broader educational community as well.

IMS Caliper 

Blackboard is fully committed to the IMS Caliper Analytics® standard. This allows schools to get real-time events flowing from the Learn LMS (and other Caliper-compliant tools) to a location of your choice. In addition to Learn’s Caliper compliance, I have accepted the role of chairing the Caliper Product Steering Committee. The main goal is promoting adoption by suppliers and usage by institutions. A second goal is harmonizing the two main complementary learning standards: Caliper and xAPI.

Sharing Research & Findings in the Data Space

This includes blog posts by our head of data science research, analytics webinars and case studies, and videos featuring learnings from the field.

Supporting Analytics Effectiveness

We’ve helped to initiate an Educause constituent group aimed at aggregating information about schools who have actually implemented analytics projects.

We are very fortunate that the values of openness and collaboration are at the heart of higher education. Embracing these values as a common ground is vital as Blackboard works as a partner in support of institutional performance and student success.


Caliper Analytics® is a registered trademark of IMS Global Learning Consortium, Inc.