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New EDI Learning Analytics Dashboard Paves the Way for Greater Inclusivity in Higher Education

Nancy Pontika, Tuesday 16 Jul 2024

In a groundbreaking study published in the prestigious British Journal of Educational Technologies, KMi researchers have introduced a cutting-edge Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Learning Analytics (LA) dashboard designed to tackle awarding gaps in higher education. This innovative tool, co-created with diverse educational stakeholders, aims to transform how institutions across the UK, including the Open University, identify and address educational disparities among traditionally underrepresented groups.

Educational outcomes for students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds have consistently lagged behind their more advantaged peers, a disparity known as the awarding gap. Unlike the term “attainment gap,” which suggests a student-centered deficiency, “awarding gap” acknowledges the broader systemic issues at play. Addressing this complex, multi-dimensional problem requires more than individual effort; it demands institutional and systemic intervention.

The new EDI LA dashboard responds to this challenge by providing fine-grained insights and course-level analysis. Traditional LA dashboards have often been criticised for their lack of stakeholder involvement and insufficient support for institutional EDI leads and educators. This pioneering dashboard overcomes these limitations by being co-designed with stakeholders, ensuring it meets the practical needs of those who use it.

The introduction of this EDI LA dashboard has profound implications for practice and policy within higher education. The insights from this study provide a roadmap for practitioners, designers, and developers aiming to create AI-based educational systems targeting awarding gaps. By offering detailed and actionable insights, the dashboard empowers institutions to implement more effective strategies to close awarding gaps. Additionally, the tool enhances the ability of EDI leads to pinpoint and address disparities, promoting a more inclusive educational environment.

For the Open University and other UK institutions, this dashboard represents a significant step forward in the ongoing effort to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion. The ability to analyse awarding gaps at a granular level allows for targeted interventions, ensuring that all students, regardless of their background, have the opportunity to succeed. This research not only advances the field of Learning Analytics but also provides a crucial resource in the fight against systemic educational disparities.

Related links: Access journal article.


OU Analyse

The OU Analyse project is piloting new machine learning based methods for early identification of students who are at risk of failing.

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