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When data meets decision-making: Data-based strategies for engineering education

Isabel Hilliger
Associate Director for Assessment and Evaluation
Engineering Education Division in Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC)

Friday 11/2 10:10-11:40am
Goodwin 145

Concerning the benefits of analytics in other fields, higher education managers have become interested in using analytical solutions to respond to increasing external accountability demands, such as: financial cost-effectiveness, internationalization, and student retention. They have particularly high expectations of Learning Analytics (LA), as it promises to improve teaching and learning, organizational efficiency and decision-making. By leveraging existing large amounts of data, some institutions in North America and Europe have already implemented learning analytics initiatives, such as the Course Signals at Purdue University and the LISSA dashboard at KU Leuven. However, schools of engineering in Latin America have recently become aware of the LA potential, so analytics-related initiatives are still limited and isolated. This presentation aims to illustrate how an LA initiative emerged at the school of engineering at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, besides describing three data-based strategies that have been implemented at this school to inform institutional decision-making. According to preliminary results, data-based strategies are a promising means to obtain information about students’ progress, but there are technical and ethical issues to be addressed in the design and implementation of LA tools at a large scale.

Isabel Hilliger is the Associate Director for Assessment and Evaluation at the Engineering Education Division in Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC), and a PhD Candidate in Computer Science at the same institution. Isabel holds a master’s degree in Policy, Organization and Leadership Studies (POLS) from Stanford Graduate School of Education, and bachelor’s degree in engineering from PUC. Her research theme is the use of methodologies and analytical tools for continuous curriculum improvement in Higher Education. She has created qualitative and quantitative instruments for outcome assessment in engineering education, besides evaluating policy efforts towards blended learning and engineering diversity. She worked as National Deputy Coordinator of Technical Assistance for Public Schools in the Ministry for Education in Chile, and as a research assistant at the Policy Analysis for California Education and the John Gardner W. Center at Stanford University. She is currently completing a research fellowship at Laspau in Harvard University.