We’re working on ways to improve the student experience by capturing and analysing the many kinds of data that can be collected across university and college campuses.
The intelligent campus project is one of five new ideas to emerge from our co-design consultations with members and other stakeholders, who have asked us to kick off research into using data to inform future campus developments.
What we are doing
This research is developing alongside our effective learning analytics project and our work to build a learning analytics service.
At the core of the learning analytics service is the learning data hub (formerly called the learning records warehouse) where academic and engagement data is collected, stored and processed.
We’ll extend the learning data hub to enable data to be gathered in from physical places (movement trackers, heat and CO2 sensors, for example) and from systems that record and monitor space and equipment usage, timetabling and other activities.
By analysing when and how rooms are used organisations will be able to make smarter, more effective use of learning spaces and other facilities across campus and to improve curriculum design and delivery.
Why this matters
Making timely interventions to ensure that the best available spaces are being used for each session will enable students to learn more effectively and ensure that the organisation is running efficiently – but this is only the start. Longer-term the possibilities for the intelligent campus project are practically limitless.
Our project aims to find effective ways to use data gathered from the physical estate and combine it with learning and student data from library systems, the virtual learning environment (VLE) and even on-site cafes and bars to:
- Give students a richer experience of learning and teaching so they can achieve higher grades
- Enable students to optimise the comfort and convenience of their physical environment
Further down the line, data from an intelligent campus could help students to:
- Navigate their way around the site
- Find appropriate pastoral or other support
- Share information about events
- Meet up to socialise or work collaboratively
Supporting students in these practical ways will help them settle in more quickly and learn better.
An intelligent campus could also enable organisations to reduce their environmental impact by monitoring and managing energy use in real time, to streamline waste management, to move supplies around site more efficiently… the list of potential benefits goes on.
How we will do it
It’s a long-term project, not least because the necessary tools and infrastructure are often not in place within colleges and universities. Smart buildings are expensive and it takes time to build (or retrofit) them.
First, we need to agree with members on the priority areas that they want us to focus on, so we’re developing use cases.
We are working on a toolkit to explain how and when members might implement the technologies and suggest how to procure the necessary equipment. We’ll provide advice and guidance on implementing intelligent campuses and on how to structure data for the learning data hub.
We will develop information on the ethical issues surrounding gathering, storing and using personal data, including our code of practice for learning analytics. We’ll create analytics algorithms so the tools are available when members are ready to use them.
If you’re interested in keeping up with progress, join our community of interest. This will bring members together to discuss ideas and meet with organisations that are already developing smart buildings, both in education and in other sectors.
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