We are excited to announce that the University of California, Irvine (UCI) Collaboratory for Data Analytics for Student Success (CODAS) initiative has been selected as an exemplar for the 2022 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report, Data and Analytics! This recognition highlights UCI’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and its collaborative approach to supporting underrepresented student populations across higher education.
About EDUCAUSE Horizon Reports
EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association with the goal of advancing higher education through the use of information technology (IT). To this end, EDUCAUSE has fostered one of the largest communities of higher education institutions and professionals dedicated to exploring the various ways that IT can transform the higher education landscape.
Every year, EDUCAUSE publishes a series of Horizon Reports that highlights the trends and innovations that are shaping the future of higher education across key categories.This year marks the first edition of the Data and Analytics Horizon Report focused on the latest data and analytics trends and practices that drive postsecondary institutional decision-making and strategic planning. UCI’s submission, titled “Comprehensive Analytics for Student Success (CODAS),” was chosen as an exemplar in the category of DEI for data and analytics.
About UCI CODAS
Today’s complex societal problems require a greater level of interdisciplinary collaboration to facilitate exploration and discovery. Within higher education, promoting DEI is one of the critical issues that require collective recognition and effort to address. CODAS represents UCI’s endeavor to do just that.
UCI CODAS is designed as a robust data infrastructure that brings together diverse datasets for easy access and analysis using traditional analytical techniques and more advanced techniques such as machine learning, deep learning, and federated learning.
CODAS represents a collaboration between the UCI School of Education and campus leaders, including the UCI Office of Enrollment Management, the UCI Office of Data Information Technology, the UCI Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, the UCI Education Research Initiative, and the UCI Office of Information and Technology. Working together, these campus units developed CODAS to create a unified dataset and a common analytics platform to support researchers and educators looking to improve DEI. To that end, CODAS is not simply a central hub that collects important student data—it also serves as an ecosystem that aims to develop and deploy cutting-edge measures to understand the student experience, support student success, increase diversity in higher education, and achieve more equitable outcomes for all students.
“We are building an engine for knowledge discovery that empowers UCI to better support our student population,” says Tom Andriola, Vice Chancellor for Information, Technology, and Data. “CODAS promotes research and discovery that will elevate the student experience and challenge our institution to make systemic changes to promote equity and inclusion.”
CODAS creates a data operating system that collates data and makes it available to researchers and other stakeholders to address many problems within higher education. The data operating system is designed to support rich and recurring human interactions and foster collaboration between ecosystem participants. Through CODAS, stakeholders have access to data sources, artifacts, and the resources required for discovery, tool development, and implementation.
CODAS builds upon several existing UCI datasets, including the UCI’s School of Education’s UCI Measuring Undergraduate Success Trajectories project (UCI-MUST), data from the UCI Education Research Initiative, and information from individual faculty researchers. “Compiling data from such a diverse array of sources ensures that CODAS serves as a comprehensive and versatile foundation as we aim to foster student success,” explains Brian Sato, Director of the UCI Education Research Initiative and Associate Dean of the Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation. “Thanks to the variety and depth of information, researchers can find value in this dataset no matter what they are investigating.”
CODAS at Work: UCI COMPASS
One example of CODAS’s impact on campus is the UCI Comprehensive Analytics for Student Success (COMPASS) project. UCI COMPASS aims to disseminate relevant student data to campus advisors, faculty, and administrators with the goal of providing actionable information to improve student outcomes and success. UCI COMPASS fosters collaboration between UCI CODAS, the UCI Office of Academic Planning and Institutional Research, UCI Enrollment Management, the UCI Office of Information and Technology, and the UCI Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning to offer a set of analytics tools, dashboards, services, and reports to empower student outreach and intervention.
Speaking on the importance of the collaboration, Patricia Morales, Vice Provost for UCI Enrollment Management, says:
“The Division of Enrollment Management is honored and excited to be active collaborators and partners within UCI COMPASS. Enrollment Management Analytics (EMA) provides near real-time analytics of student enrollment data to support advising, planning, and operational decisions. By combining the data and analytics strengths of our respective offices, we are able to maximize our institution’s ability to make more strategic and impactful decisions that benefit the students we serve.”
In simple terms, UCI COMPASS compiles data on student demographics, enrollment, academic performance, and other metrics and analyzes this information to generate reports. Academic/student support staff and faculty can then access these reports and take necessary action to assist students or adjust their teaching and course design.
Michael Dennin, Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning and Dean of the Division of Undergraduate Education, explains that UCI COMPASS was developed as a multi-pronged approach to promoting student success:
“Fostering diverse and inclusive learning environments is a top priority at UCI. We believe that every student should have access to equitable pathways for success, and UCI COMPASS is a critical step toward realizing this goal. By collating important information on academic performance across a variety of factors, we can step in and help individual students while also evaluating our institutional practices and policies to ensure they aren’t imposing unfair obstacles for certain student populations.”
Course equity dashboards are one subset of the UCI COMPASS project. These dashboards– developed in partnership with a research project focused on identifying and addressing grade equity gaps in STEM courses–provide data on equity gaps in UCI’s schools, departments, and courses. Within the dashboards, data can be sorted by various student characteristics, including underrepresented minority status, first-generation status, low-income status, and gender.
“The UCI COMPASS dashboards provide invaluable insight about the persistence of equity gaps both across and within departments,” says Kameryn Denaro, Research Specialist at the Divison of Teaching Excellence and Innovation and principal researcher on the project that led to the creation of the dashboards. “By leveraging this tool to identify exemplary instructors, courses, and departments, a more detailed qualitative examination can be used to identify varying policies, classroom practices, and curriculum structures (among others) that result in more equitable outcomes for all students.”
UCI COMPASS course equity dashboards are an important aspect of CODAS and UCI’s cross-campus push to improve DEI. As a designated Hispanic Serving Institution and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution, UCI has a responsibility to ensure that all students are provided with an equal opportunity for success. The data and tools available on the dashboards highlight where that opportunity is not yet fully realized and allows for evidence-based decision-making around course grading policies, assessment techniques, and other policies and practices that affect student outcomes.
UCI COMPASS was previously recognized in the 2020 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report, Teaching and Learning Edition as an exemplar of “Analytics for Student Success.”
The Impact of CODAS Beyond UCI
While the UCI COMPASS project represents an example of CODAS’s work on campus, CODAS has the potential to impact the entire higher education system. In fact, CODAS’s infrastructure and platform were specifically designed to be adaptable and scalable to meet the needs of any institution or educational research initiative.
“One of our goals with CODAS is for it to serve as a resource for researchers across the state and even the nation,” says Vice Provost Dennin:
“CODAS is a valuable tool, and we want to share it. While promoting DEI at UCI is important, our efforts cannot stop here. If we truly want to make a difference and support all students, we need to make informed changes across the entire higher education system. And we believe that sharing the data and tools available through CODAS is a good start.”