Connecting Libraries and Learning Analytics for Student Success (CLLASS)
IMLS, National Leadership Grants for Libraries, 2018

CLLASS is a one-year grant designed to perform preliminary planning activities to pioneer the integration of library data in institutional learning analytics and develop detailed proofs of concept and models to guide academic libraries preparing to engage in this emerging and important use of data to support student success.  The lead applicant, Syracuse University, is joined by advisory group members and project participants from ACRL, Blackboard, CNI, DePaul University, EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, IMS Global Learning Consortium, Jisc, Lewis and Clark Community College, OCLC, Susquehanna University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, and Unizin.

The foremost purpose of higher education is to educate students, and a key component of any educational endeavor is assessment.  As active contributors to the educational mission of their institutions, academic librarians use assessment to expand student access to learning; ensure students are able to persist and attain their goals; scaffold student experiences to aid attainment of independent learning capacity; and develop productive self-awareness, metacognition, and self-actualization in a variety of contexts, including their immediate learning environments, the broader community, and the world around them.  Now, as institutions of higher education commence and commit to the next wave of assessment capability in the form of learning analytics initiatives, it is time for librarians to explore the opportunity to engage with emergent institutional learning analytics tools, systems, and strategies as well.  Learning analytics “is the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for the purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs.”  Essentially, learning analytics employ data to improve learning contexts and help learners succeed. Learning analytics help educators discover, diagnose, and predict challenges to learning and learner success and point the way to successful and active interventions to benefit students.

The CLLASS project will analyze feasibility, solidify partnerships, develop work plans, and design prototypes in order to create proofs of concept that can guide academic libraries seeking to support student learning and success by connecting library data with institutional learning analytics.  The project will be enacted by participants in three task teams working together at two face-to-face meetings; progress and documentation will be shared with the academic library and higher education community via a formal white paper and conference presentation proposals.  Through this process, the CLASS project seeks to achieve four goals:

  • cement sustaining partnerships and collaborations among academic librarians and learning analytics lynchpins, including institutional information technology and library systems professionals as well as library and higher education technology vendor communities;
  • design three library prototypes that serve as proofs of concepts and models for future projects connecting library data with institutional learning analytics;
  • as a part of prototype planning, develop library data profiles for a common interoperability standard, enabling the integration of library data with institutional data repositories; and
  • recommend ways in which drafted prototypes can enable the use of library data to expand library support for student learning and success in ways that are achievable, scalable, actionable, and ethical.

The CLLASS project coalesces a diverse group of library and higher education leaders and experts to develop models for library inclusion in institutional learning analytics, anticipate strategies for bringing the models to fruition, develop technologies to support library-enabled learning analytics, and anticipate ways in which this work will increase library impact on student learning and success.  Through these actions, CLLASS will:

  • advance the role of libraries as anchors within their higher education communities,
  • enable libraries to provide indispensable data and contribute to a complete picture of institutional student learning, and ultimately,
  • facilitate student learning and success by contributing to the identification, development, and assessment of the curricular and instructional improvements resulting from learning analytics initiatives.

Library Integration into Institutional Learning Analytics (LIILA)
IMLS, National Leadership Grants for Libraries, 2017

LIILA is a one-year National Forum grant designed to increase academic library involvement in institutional learning analytics and develop a detailed plan to prepare academic libraries to engage in this emerging and important use of data to support student learning and success.

Because higher education exists to educate students, academic librarians have engaged in learning assessment efforts for many years.  Now, as institutions of higher education commence and commit to learning analytics initiatives, librarians need to explore and embrace emergent institutional learning analytics tools, systems, and strategies as well.  Learning analytics “is the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for the purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs.”  Essentially, learning analytics employ data to improve learning contexts and help learners succeed. Learning analytics help educators discover, diagnose, and predict challenges to learning and learner success and point the way to successful and active interventions to benefit students.  The LIILA project will spearhead the creation of the vision, strategies, and concrete plans required to ensure that librarians initiate involvement in institutional learning analytics and continue to serve as anchors of higher education communities focused on ensuring student learning and success.

LIILA seeks to achieve four goals:

1) increase librarian awareness of and engagement in learning analytics;
2) craft a detailed plan for integrating academic libraries into learning analytics initiatives that support student learning and success;
3) develop sustaining learning analytics partnerships and collaborations among academic librarians, educational technology lynchpins, institutional and library IT professionals, and library vendor communities; and,
4) explore, design, and develop library use cases and data profiles based on learning analytics standards that can be used to integrate library data with institutional data stores.

Project activities include:

1) A literature and environmental scan will increase understanding of the role of academic library data in institutional higher education learning analytics initiatives.
2) A National Forum will be convened over three meetings.
3) Findings and conclusions from the meetings will be disseminated to the academic library and higher education community via rapid informal means, a formal white paper, and conference presentation proposals; feedback on each will be solicited.

The LIILA project coalesces academic library and higher education leaders and experts around common goals: articulating a vision for library inclusion in institutional learning analytics, devising strategies for bringing the vision to fruition, developing use cases that lead to increased library value and impact on student learning and success, and creating the technical plans necessary to initiate action.  Through these actions, LIILA will:

  • advance the role of libraries as anchors within their higher education communities,
  • enable libraries to provide indispensable data to augment institutional understanding of student learning in higher education, and ultimately,
  • facilitate student learning and success by contributing to the identification, development, and assessment of the curricular and instructional improvements resulting from learning analytics initiatives.

Rubric Assessment of Information Literacy Skills (RAILS)
IMLS, Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Early Career Research Grant, 2010

railsgreenRAILS is an IMLS-funded research project designed to investigate an analytic rubric approach to information literacy assessment in higher education.  The RAILS project is intended to help academic librarians and disciplinary faculty assess information literacy outcomes.  Over three years, RAILS will yield a suite of rubrics that can be used by academic librarians and disciplinary faculty to assess information literacy outcomes; a transferable model for analyzing rubric scores; training materials for librarians, faculty, and LIS students who seek to use rubrics for information literacy assessment; indicators of rater expertise in rubric scoring; and a clearinghouse for librarians and faculty to share:

    • local adaptations of IL rubrics,
    • rubric assessment results,
    • improvements to instructional strategies and services made on the basis of those results, and
    • examples of increased student learning resulting from instructional improvements.

Although RAILS is intended to address practical assessment issues, it also will explore the answers to several research questions:

    • Can librarians & disciplinary faculty use IL rubrics to provide valid & reliable scores of student learning?
    • What skills/characteristics do librarians & faculty need to produce valid & reliable scores using IL rubrics?
    • What training materials do librarians & faculty need to acquire these skills/characteristics
    • How can rubric assessment be used to improve IL instruction and services?
    • How can rubric assessment increase student learning of IL skills?

RAILS is funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services.  RAILS operates in partnership with the ACRL Assessment Immersion Program and is augmented by Waypoint Outcomes.  More information is available at www.railsontrack.info.

 Grant Participation Summary