Collaborative approach fosters knowledge sharing, yields scalable solutions
Irvine, Calif., and Austin, Texas, June 15, 2023 – The University of California, Irvine has joined Unizin, a consortium of leading academic and research institutions committed to optimizing digital transformation in higher education. As a member, UCI has access to knowledge sharing and analytics tools to elevate its data-informed student success initiative UCI Compass.
This collaboration comes at a critical time when UCI is ramping up efforts to more effectively utilize digital intelligence and data to improve educational equity. Unizin works collaboratively to develop and deliver solutions addressing the complex challenges of data, digital content and affordability. Its consortium model and partnerships enable the organization to rapidly build and scale technology solutions, establish relationships and pursue research that no single institution could achieve cost-effectively on its own.
“Joining Unizin exponentially expands the universe of learning data and insights to inform our ongoing research initiatives and gives us access to a suite of powerful data integration and analytics tools developed by the consortium,” said Tom Andriola, UCI vice chancellor for information technology and data, as well as the campus’s chief digital officer. “We are eager to contribute and share the learning outcomes and practices we have developed at UCI with our fellow members and to work together to recalibrate and redefine the parameters of student success in higher education today.”
Through its comprehensive, campuswide initiative UCI Compass, the university is placing a strong emphasis on the holistic development of students by utilizing real-time data to personalize their classroom experiences and advising resources and eliminate equity gaps.
Building upon existing models of data-informed student success, UC Irvine is leveraging data to gain valuable insights into students’ pedagogical and extracurricular experiences, enabling personalized and targeted support throughout their academic career at UCI, including real-time course feedback. By analyzing various data points – such as course patterns, financial aid, degree progress and academic engagement – advisors and educators are able to proactively assist students and guide them toward success.
“UCI has established a well-deserved reputation for its data-informed student success initiatives,” said Cathy O’Bryan, CEO of Unizin. “UCI’s leadership, insights and appetite for collaboration will make us all stronger and will enhance Unizin’s ability to outpace change in higher education. Together we hope to break new ground in understanding the mechanisms of student success and to build more effective and equitable strategies to improve higher education as a whole.”
The consortium has established the world’s largest learning data laboratory, the Unizin Data Platform, which normalizes and integrates data emanating from disparate learning tools and learning management systems deployed across its member institutions. The UDP currently encompasses hundreds of terabytes of learning data distributed throughout Unizin campuses, with millions of new data points added daily. This allows Unizin members to observe the use and impact of digital learning tools in real time, as well as to collaborate on data modeling and analytics, application development and cross-institutional research initiatives.
“Unizin is unique in that it enables us to operationalize learning data on two levels,” said Michael Dennin, dean of the Division of Undergraduate Education and vice provost for teaching and learning at UCI. “From a macro perspective, we now have access to the largest pool of aggregated learning data ever assembled to look deeply into the many facets and factors that impact learning outcomes. At the same time, Unizin tools enable us to get very granular with our data to provide faculty and students actionable insights about student learning patterns, trends and behaviors that can benefit them for a lifetime.”
While retention and graduation rates have traditionally been used as metrics for student success, UCI seeks to measure success by also considering such aspects as academic engagement, well-being, extracurricular involvement and personal growth. By adopting a broader definition of success, UCI ensures that students’ achievements are recognized and valued beyond academic milestones.
With the addition of UCI, the Unizin consortium now comprises 13 institutions serving nearly 1 million students nationwide, including some of the largest and most respected public universities in the United States. Unizin has established partnerships with such leading academic publishers and learning technology providers as D2L, Instructure, RedShelf, Top Hat and Google.
About Unizin: Unizin provides institutions with technology solutions and partnerships that enable them to scale their use of data, analytics, digital content and learning tools to improve outcomes. Unizin is membership-based and governed by its member universities as a nonprofit 501(c)(3). It’s currently composed of 13 institutions and encompasses almost 1 million learners, making it one of the largest educational organizations in the country.
About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.
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Photo by Steve Zylius / UCI