[Air-L] SoLAR Flare Practitioner’s Conference: Using Analytics to Create Real Solutions for Real Problems

Akesha akesha at gmail.com
Fri Aug 17 06:02:35 PDT 2012

SoLAR Flare Practitioner’s Conference:
Using Analytics to Create Real Solutions for Real Problems
Purdue University
October 1-3, 2012

The challenges facing higher education in the United States and abroad are
wide ranging with varying degrees of urgency. In many cases, the use of
academic analytics to address some of these challenges is being considered
– but generally on a small, highly-localized scale that makes them
difficult to justify and continue long-term.

The use of “big data” to address challenges in higher education requires
ideas for collaboration, development, implementation, scaling, and
promulgation. At the Society of Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR) Flare
Practitioner’s Conference, you’ll have an opportunity to work with a team
of faculty, staff, and administrators from various institutions on
challenges to develop big ideas to be put into practice. You won’t be
working with real data—instead groups will work under the assumption that
access to all data is already secured.  Working groups will have access to
unlimited resources; however, groups may encounter restrictions during the
process.  The working groups will produce real solutions to real problems.

This won’t be like any other conference that you have attended lately –
there will be very little talking “at” you. Concurrent sessions with
presenters will not be happening. Instead, you will have the opportunity to
connect with colleagues and do practical work – to collaborate with faculty
and staff from around the country to tackle some of higher education’s
biggest challenges through the application of learning analytics. Through
the working group collaborations, you will learn more about the issues and
how others are looking to analytics as part of the solution.

Topics for discussion may include:
·         Increasing success among women and minorities in STEM fields
·         Enhancing community college success and completion rates
·         Improving access and success rates for first-generation and/or
low-income students
·         Addressing higher education pipeline issues
·         Developing a means for more students to graduate with a college
·         Altering the design and delivery of gateway courses
·         Examining the relationship between student engagement, learning
outcomes, and performance
·         Evaluating theory-based programs designed to increase student
·         Gathering appropriate data for predicting student success,
retention and graduation – and developing interventions based on student
success systems

Each topic will be facilitated by a thought leader in higher education.
Thought leaders will provide a clearly-defined challenge to be addressed by
each group prior to the event. Each team will work on developing a
practical solution, considering both technical and non-technical
attributes, that focuses on sustainability and scalability.   Further,
solutions should present information to students, faculty, and
administrators alike – such that each person at the institution can become
instrumental and responsible for student success.

The solutions will be presented in two ways: First, at the conclusion of
the conference, each working group will present its solution to the larger
group. Second, each group will develop a brief write-up of their solution
while at the conference. These write-ups will be synthesized into a broader
white paper addressing analytic solutions to challenges found in higher

We believe that collaboration across institutional and commercial
boundaries is the only way to fully address the challenges facing higher
education today. We look forward to working with people with different
roles and perspectives of the education sector to develop solutions for
these challenges – and potentially bringing them to fruition. We hope to
have you join us as well.

Early Registration ends August 17!

For more information, or to register for the conference, visit

Kindest Regards,
Akesha Horton

Senior Educational Technologist | Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP) |
Purdue University


(765) 496-3499 | akesha at purdue.edu

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