Down and Dirty with Data for SLA - Part 1

4 minute read

This blog post is really aimed at people attending ALASI 2015 where we will be running a workshop. However, the workshop itself will be blended.. you can participate from anywhere if you like. In particular, you are very welcome to help us generate the dataset that everyone will be analysing in the workshop by following the steps below. This will give you a chance to try out the CLA toolkit if you are interested. Make sure you come back for Part 2 next week, when we will give you some guidance for exploring your dashboard! So let’s get started.

ALASI workshop - preparation phase

This workshop will give you a chance to explore and analyse a real life data set that is generated by people participating in a social learning activity. The learning activity will be undertaken by you! We are going to ask you to think about the issues that surround the institutional adoption of learning analytics, and discuss these with one another using two standard social media channels. That means that the more you participate in the learning activity, the more interesting your data set will be!

NB: Even if you are not attending ALASI’15, or not planning on attending the workshop, then the distributed nature of this workshop means that you will be able to participate in it anyway. You may miss out on some of the in-class activities, but you are welcome to join in as much as you like!


This workshop has two objectives. <ol type="A"> <li>To discuss the issues that surround the institutional adoption of learning analytics.</li> <li>To learn how to analyse data generated by a social learning activity. </li> </ol>


You will have the chance to explore the different Learning Analytics techniques that can be used to understand the nature and quality of online interactions between the members of a class. You will also have a chance to think about the issues associated with collecting poor data, or applying inappropriate metrics to a data set. This will help you to approach LA from a more sophisticated perspective.


Your participation in this workshop will be helped by having the following set up already: <ol> <li>A Twitter account. If you do not have one, go and create something temporary. We will use twitter to post comments with specific hashtags that are then collected and incorporated in the data set.</li> <li>A Youtube account so that you can post comments on the YouTube channel that we have set up (from which we will also collect data).</li> <li>You will also learn a lot more during this workshop if you bring a laptop computer along, or make friends with someone who appears to have one when you walk in… go make a friend! </li> </ol>


The workshop will work best if you do some preparation before coming (yes - we are flipping the workshop on you ;) We also think that you will find the workshop more interesting if you have some “skin in the game” and so have generated some of the data that you will be analysing. To this end, we have created a basic learning activity that we would like you to participate in… before ALASI’15.

Pre-workshop Tasks

Before coming to the workshop you should have a go at the following set of tasks.

Step 1: Sign up for the CLA Toolkit!

Go and enter the necessary details at our ALASI sign-up page

The whole exercise will work best if you enter your Twitter account and Youtube information :)

NB1: If you skip this step then you will not be able to look at your own data in the workshop!
NB2: Signing up means that any tweets you make to the hashtags below will be collected by the CLA Toolkit!

Step 2: Explore our YouTube Channel

We have set up a channel for the workshop here on our CLA toolkit ALASI 2015 Youtube channel

  1. Go and watch some of the videos in the channel. The videos are in a playlist.
  2. Think about the following questions:
    • What are the main barriers preventing the use of learning analytics at scale?
    • (Tweet ideas to #LAbarriers)
    • What ideas do you have that might help to resolve these barriers?
    • (Tweet ideas to #LAfixes)
  3. Go to the discussion thread for the channel (under Discussion tab) and leave a post that discusses any ideas that you have about how it might be possible to help in the facilitation of LA at your institution.
  4. If you see any comments there that you would like to respond to, vote up, vote down etc. then feel free to do this.
  5. If you would like to add a link to a video that you think might be of interest then feel free to do this.
  6. If you would like to create a video discussing relevant issues and upload it to the channel then you are also welcome to do this!

Step 3: Optional Extra - Explore your current (student facing) CLA toolkit dashboard

  • Log onto using the login information you entered above.
  • Play around as much or as little as you like.
  • Explore our thoughts about the current state of the dashboards at the project blog.
  • Tweet any ideas about how the dashboards might be improved to #clatoolkit
  • If you get any new ideas about institutional adoption etc. then feel free to share them using whatever channel you consider most appropriate.