Administrative systems are critical in helping your institution manage a range of functions. Core administrative systems and information for online learning are equally relevant for face-to-face teaching provision.
Administrative systems generate several different sets of data including:
- Personal data of staff and students
- Records of attendance
- Achievement and learning activities
- Learning analytics
- Course information
- Broad student numbers and demographic data
- Data from specific services and support functions.
Data created by institutional administration systems needs to be well managed and accessible to appropriate groups of people who legitimately need to access it.
Managing institutional data is challenging enough, but the increasing use of cloud computing services (link to section) for administrative and teaching functions adds another layer of complexity.
Our data visualisation guide offers charts and good design tips to help you create powerful and persuasive graphs for decision making.
Levels of engagement
Online learning provision may result in new types of students registering on courses or accessing classes. These may have differing levels of engagement with the institution itself, or possibly no relationship at all if they're learners who dip into open classes or courses.
Online students will interact with institutionally provided course information and content but may also create their own online materials during learning activities.
They may also produce content in collaboration with other students or remix (enhance or augment) existing content.
How online students engage with information and manage their data may challenge existing policies and procedures around institutional data management. A policy may be useful to identify how student-generated content will be aggregated, curated and stored.
Managing and curating data
Teaching staff who adopt web technologies to support online classes may need additional guidance and support around managing and curating data. For example, using external hosting services for blogs and course websites raises issues of security, ownership and content management.
Teaching staff may take on new roles where aggregating online content created by other 'experts' or students, or managing online formative feedback from external contributors or other students, becomes a regular activity. Tracking student online activities needs appropriate management and may become a task for teaching staff in an online learning context.
Our guide on hosting liability highlights the responsibilities for published content on your institutional computer systems.
|Barriers||What you can do|
Security challenges around information that also needs to be accessible, particularly in relation to cloud services
|Adopt information security risk management as a corporate governance issue|
|Ensure that staff and students understand the risks and their responsibilities to follow institutional guidance|
|Use this aspect to educate students as to their own personal and professional information, and their own data management|
|Staff don't understand the impact of curriculum design choices on administrative functions||Involve operational managers in discussions at an early stage|
|Provide checklists to help course designers consider administrative and data management aspects of online learning provision|
|Adopt a coherent managing change programme|
|Staff training and support|
|Rigid administrative processes and practice can block or hamper curriculum innovation||Develop a business case for online learning that includes consideration of administrative and data implications|
|Staff engagement activities, training and support|
|Collaborative approaches to change management|