At a time when the debate over students fees is raging – literally – London South Bank University (LBSU)has announced that it has deployed a BI system from IBM to understand how the University and students are performing. According to Mike Cobham, Corporate Information Systems Manager at LBSU, “it’s more important than ever that our management team has the information they need from all departments to make the best decision for the University and its students.”
When students attend a lecture, they use their student ID to register with a card reader at the back of the room. This allows the faculty to monitor the performance of any student over a given period of time. This same level of monitoring is extended to the virtual classroom environment. This information will allow the University to identify failing students quickly and help them direct resources to see what can be done to improve their performance.
This is not just about tracking student performance. The information will also allow faculties to track course performance to see which courses and tutors attract the highest number of students and how that translates into exam and qualification success.
In the US, such systems have helped universities to shift the focus of their teaching. For example, some universities discovered that on Friday’s, students rarely attended any lecture after lunchtime. Instead, there was a significant uptake of online resources on a Sunday. Another benefit was to help identify those students who were becoming socially isolated as they moved to an online study regime instead of attending any lectures at all.
LBSU has not yet said if it intends to use the information that it gathers to change the balance of course delivery or extend the system to the Student Union or University Counselling Service so that they can provide non educational assistance to students.
As a result of the current successful deployment, LSBU plans to extend their use of BI to their Finance and HR departments.